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Big int'l surprise act for Major Lazer and Friends

Published:Sunday | December 11, 2016 | 12:00 AMLeighton Levy
Diplo of Major Lazer holds a Jamaican flag at last year's Major Lazer & Friends show at Mas Camp, National Stadium, St Andrew.
Walshy Fire of Major Lazer engages the crowd at last year's Major Lazer & Friends event at the Mas Camp.

Come Friday, December 16, when the internationally acclaimed dancehall-inspired trio known as Major Lazer performs in Jamaica for the fifth year in a row, they will be bringing along a major surprise guest to perform on their annual Major Lazer and Friends show at Kingston's Mas Camp, presented by Bacardi.

Just who the surprise guest is, is being kept close to the chest of promoter Kamal Bankay.

"We have a super surprise international performer that is going to show up and perform as well," he teased. "He's never performed here and it's going to be awesome."

It was Bankay who first brought the group here in 2011 because they were exploding globally and their music has Jamaican roots, so it was

important to help Major Lazer develop a fan base in Jamaica that was authentic", he said.

And what a success it has been. Each year, the Major Lazer show has pulled in thousands of patrons who have all had great memories of each occasion. In this its fifth year, it continues to maintain its popularity in Jamaica's diverse entertainment landscape.

"The event has grown from strength to strength and it's mainly because their music production has been the best in the world recently," Bankay explained. "They are Grammy Award-winning and chart-topping and the bigger their music is, the bigger their footprint in Jamaica. Their music is amazing, but their live shows are on another level. Properly choreographed and directed from an audiovisual perspective, it's a fully immersive experience that never gets old."


Growing reputation


And their reputation continues to grow.

Major Lazer's third album, Peace is the Mission, released in June 2015, featured the smash hit, Lean On, which became the most successful independently released song of all time, after peaking at number one on the Top 40 charts.

Prior to Peace is the Mission, the band has collaborated with the likes of Bruno Mars, Pharrell, Sean Paul, and 2 Chainz. Their single, Pon de Floor, was sampled by Beyonce for her chart topper, Run the World (Girls).

Since Major Lazer's last trip to Kingston, they've become the first major pop act from the USA to perform in Cuba since the reinstatement of relations, with over 400,000 in attendance. They also released two more hit singles, Light It Up (Remix), featuring Nyla, and Fuse ODG and Cold Water, featuring Justin Bieber and MO, which also hit number one in several countries worldwide.

This year, Bankay revealed that their performance in Jamaica will be bigger and better, with Hulu coming to shoot in 360 degree VR.

More importantly, the music is going to be spectacular.

"Many styles of music from around the world are on display in this one show," says Major Lazer's Walshy Fire, supporting Bankay's claim that this year's show is going to be extra special.

"Our main objective is to create an interactive experience that patrons can just fully immerse themselves while enjoying a completely dynamic sound," Bankay concluded.