Flood of love for Feluke
On Sunday night, a once-abandoned boy sat in the front row in the Karl Hendrickson Auditorium, Jamaica College, Old Hope Road. He, Feluke, was witness to a collection of performing artistes dedicating their time and skill to raising funds to get the ailing musician to Mexico for potentially life-extending surgery, in the second phase of his battle against colon cancer.
Feluke's benefit concert was an exemplary rally of the music industry, where dancehall, reggae and gospel shared one stage.
The gospel couple of Tommy Cowan and Carlene Davis came out in support, along with dancehall duo Voicemail, reggae vocalists Mackeehan and Chevaughn and Big Ship 'navigator' Freddie McGregor.
Other performers of the night included Queen Ifrica, who sang the first half of Thinking of a Place with Feluke in her embrace at the front of the stage.
Duane Stephenson took to the stage and said, "Roots music is suffering music. This concert represents what roots music is all about. And it's no joke, what you feel is true."
With his eyes cast on the obviously appreciative beneficiary, Stephenson then passionately sang Real Ghetto Pain, which pulled some patrons' arms into the air and teased others to their feet.
Initially, the venue was a worrisome sight at the concert's scheduled 6 p.m. start, as the auditorium was less than half-full. But as time passed, empty chairs lessened until the organisers had to dip into storage for extra seating. By 9 p.m, the auditorium was filled - standing-room only - and host Jenny Jenny was able to announce a donation tally of $305,000. The organisers are hopeful that the final tally will put a dent in the US$40,000 (J$5,232,364.00) needed for Feluke's surgery.
Though not billed for the show, some international stars interrupted their hectic schedules to show up for Feluke. During Agent Sasco's closing set, he invited Shaggy to the stage, who then invited the 'Fire Man', Capleton.
"Feluke played on so many Capleton tracks, and this is the first time Capleton is seeing Feluke," the performer announced to a delighted audience.