Tue | Aug 20, 2019

Free celebration for reggae icon

Published:Saturday | February 17, 2018 | 12:30 AMMel Cooke







Tomorrow's first Reggae Icons Concert on the Waterfront, Kingston, in celebration of Dennis Brown is free in more ways than one. For not only is the public invited to turn out without having to pay for entry, but none of the performers are charging for their time on stage.
Kamal Bankay, who along with Howard McIntosh co-chairs the Reggae Month steering committee, emphasised to The Gleaner that "every single performer on the Icons concert has said that they will do it free. They said we will give our time, talent, energy free,"Bankay said, adding that infrastructure providers Main Event has also contributed significantly to keeping costs low. Bankay said rehearsals have been done with Lloyd Parkes and We The People Band, which accompanied Brown extensively during his performances.

Among the artistes for Sunday's concert, which is scheduled to start at 4 p.m., are Tony Rebel, Luciano, Freddie McGregor, Richie Stephens, Carlene Davis, Iba Mahr, Alaine, George Nooks, Ken Booth, Dean Fraser, Short Boss and The Mighty Diamonds.


Dennis Brown, who died on July 1, 1999, was born on February 1, 1957. Bob Marley, who died on May 11 1981, was born on February 6, 1945. With Brown dubbed the Crown Prince of Reggae and Marley the King of Reggae, February was primed to be Reggae Month which, as stated on the Jamaica Information Serviceís (JIS) website, was declared by then Governor General Sir Kenneth Hall on January 24, 2008.

Among Brown's numerous hit songs in his career from childhood star to world-renowned performer are Promised Land, Revolution, No Man is an Island, Cassandra, Foundation, Love Has Found its Way, Stop The Fussing and Fighting and Wolves and Leopards. While a celebratory concert has been held on or close to his birthday previously, none was slated for this year. Bankay said having been informed that there would be no concert for Brown and noting that the Bob Marley celebration had been held at 56 Hope Road, attracting thousands of persons, it was decided that Reggae's Crown Prince would be first icon whose work is celebrated at the annual event.
As for who will be the 2019 icon, Bankay said that will be on the agenda at the first post-Reggae Month 2018 meeting, geared towards planning next year's celebration.