Wed | Feb 21, 2018

Let peace reign... Another Tarrus Riley free concert tomorrow

Published:Wednesday | December 20, 2017 | 12:00 AMMelville Cooke
Tarrus Riley

Singer Tarrus Riley does not even crack a smile when he responds to The Gleaner's query about the line-up for tomorrow's ninth consecutive staging of the free concert he hosts at Emancipation Park, New Kingston.

"I have spoken to Tarrus Riley and he has confirmed he will be there," Riley said.

Apart from that, he is not naming any performer not that Riley does not know them, as the rehearsals have been done for a professional presentation of Let Live Music Live 2017. However, there is the element of surprise for the audience and, over the years, the surprises have been very pleasant.

Riley names a number of those who have performed, among them Beres Hammond, Agent Sasco, Marcia Griffiths, Duane Stephenson and Sizzla. "This is our gift to the people," Riley said. The theme of this year's concert is Let Peace Reign.

He traces the genesis of the pre-Christmas concert to Saturday morning live music events that were staged at Emancipation Park which were pivotal in a period before he really hit it big with She's Royal, which is on his 2006 Parables album.

Exercise was central to the concerts, as the entertainers and many of the persons who would eventually be part of the audience would walk or jog on the park's exercise track and then the concerts would begin.

Saxophonist Dean Fraser would bring along vocalists he was working with at the time, among them Riley and Duane Stephenson, and they would put their material to the test. So, Riley reasons, having performed free in the park before getting a break, it is only reasonable that he should continue to do so. It is a part of his standard schedule and, although Riley tells The Gleaner he does not like to tour in winter, he still does shows and several times he has gone from the Emancipation Park concert to the airport.

This year there are two additional components. Persons who attend are being asked to contribute non-perishable items, which will be distributed to special needs children islandwide.

And, especially appropriate for the concert's theme, Let Peace Reign, Riley will be premiering the music video for his recent single Graveyard, directed by Nyle Saulter, the lyrics pointing to the place where the most bad men are.