Wed | Apr 1, 2020

Busy Signal rocks Negril’s ‘Icons’ concert

Published:Sunday | February 16, 2020 | 12:18 AMAdrian Frater - News Editor

Western Bureau:

Dancehall star Busy Signal was all the rage at Roots Bamboo on Wednesday night as he unleashed a dazzling performance to steal the spotlight at the Negril edition of the Children of the Icons Concert Tour, which is an integral part of the 2020 celebration of Reggae Month.

With a mixed audience of tourists and locals blending perfectly against the backdrop of the resort town’s beautiful white sand beaches and the lights of the town centre flickering in the background, Busy hit centre stage at 10:23 p.m. and it was all musical magic for the next one hour and 15 minutes as he dug deep into his catalogue and kept reeling off hits.

The fans were kept dancing and singing all the way, as in addition to his popular hits such as What If, Unknown Number, Nah Go a Jail Again and Bedroom Bully, which he unleashed in his first segments, Busy also delved into the catalogue of other reggae greats, such as Burning Spear and Bob Marley, skilfully belting out the songs Great Men and reggae’s universal anthem, One Love.

The seasoned artiste, who at one stage went a cappella with the song Night Shift, suddenly stopped singing and allowed the audience to take over, nodding in approval as they unleashed their best rendition of the song. He then all but brought the house down, showing off his singing skills on Cat Stevens’ Wild World, which became a major hit for fellow reggae star Maxi Priest.

Commentary

In addition to his rich musical delivery, he also went the social commentary route, saying that any man who is planning to kill a woman should “kill uno self first”. He also addressed the matter of the claim that reggae is dying, if not dead.

“All who a seh reggae dead a want unoo listen dem song yah and tell me if reggae dead”, as he belted out a medley, which included Chakademus and Pliers’ Murder She Wrote, Nardo Ranks’ Dem A Bleach, Dirtsman’s Hot This Year, Cutty Ranks’ Wait Deh Man; and Toots and the Maytals’ Bam, Bam.

While Busy stole the spotlight, fans also witnessed the musical ascension of deejay/singer Jahbar, the son of renowned drummer George Miller. The Rastafarian artiste left no doubt about his readiness for the international stage with a performance steeped in confidence, raw power, and lyrics all laced with the type of charisma that would be the envy of any superstar.

It was like the audience was under a musical spell as the artiste evoked memories of the trademark energy of the late great Jacob Miller, as he unleashed Smoke Up the Place and Who Dat, in deejay style. He then sang brilliantly in delivering Black Woman; and then reverted to deejaying with the awesome delivery of Legal Scammer and Italic.

Christopher Ellis, son of the legendary Alton Ellis, did justice to his dad’s musical legacy, concretising the fact that the ‘chip never falls far from the block’. It was all joy as the young Ellis impressed with his own songs, such as Only When You Naked and This A Reggae Music. However, his real buzz came when he belted out excellent covers of his dad’s Let Them Try and Still in Love with You.

Proud moment

The three women on the line-up, Admiral Tibet’s daughter Shava A, Yeza Rebel and the lyrically powerful Kimmi Gold, all did themselves justice with excellent sets. There was a rich smile on the face of the Admiral as he watched his daughter ‘connect’ with songs such as Father, Gangster Girl, a sweet remix of his Leave People Business Alone and Island Girl. Yeza Rebel was in complete command as she dazzled with Rebel Music and a tribute to Bounty Killer’s inspiration in the song Look Into My Eye. Kimmi Gold tore off the label of emerging artiste as she expertly handled the keyboard before going on to stun the audience with her powerful Rastafarian-influenced roots music.

Young Garvey, who completed the line-up, was quite good as he demonstrated in his silky smooth style that he is benefiting from his mentor, the legendary Leroy Sibbles, of The Heptones fame.

Sibbles, last Saturday, displayed his versatility with bass guitar and voice, delivering hits such as Baby Be True, Any Day Now and I Feel Like Jumping, as the concert made its stop in Water Square, Falmouth. During his set, Sibbles danced and sang with the audience imitating his every move.

The Doctor Beenie Man also took to the stage, delivering an hour and a half of hits, much to the delight of the approving crowd.

Jamelia Smith and Azizzi Romeo, children of reggae greats Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith and Max Romeo, respectively, also took to the stage to showcase their talent.

The concert, sponsored by the Tourism Enhancement Fund and the Trelawny Municipality, had Ron Muschett as master of ceremonies.

The concert tour rolls into Annotto Bay, St Mary, tonight, with headliners Bounty Killer and Josey Wales, supported by Indie Allen, Roza Rose, Leno Banton, among others.

– Leon Jackson contributed to this story