Sat | Apr 4, 2020

Flashback to #BeatStreet

Published:Friday | March 20, 2020 | 12:07 AM
‘Satisfy my soul’ is what Alesa Nicholson seems to be saying to the ‘Ras’ at Ibo Spice Portal.
One of the murals along Orange Street, downtown Kingston, depicting Jamaican music icons. In this one, dancehall pioneer Big Youth is immortalized.
The music sweet! Patrons enjoying themselves on ‘Beat Street’.
The legendary Trevor ‘Leggo’ Douglas outside his recording studio along Orange Street, downtown Kingston.
Two young patrons displaying their musical notes.

It was billed as a weekend of music, “a musical weekend like no other”, and, in a significant way, Kingston, Creative delivered.

The ‘meetup’ focused on the ‘Migration of the Music’ inside F&B Downtown, at 107 Harbour Street featuring a panel discussion with music experts, Earl Chinna Smith, Ewan Simpson, Herbie Miller, Nadine Sutherland and Professor Deborah Hickling. In addition, eight genres of Jamaican music echoed from the instruments of DJ Fenix, live band Ozou’ne, and PonfYaH.

Dazzling ‘Beat Street’ throughout the day with their own brand of music were artistes such as OneFamous, I Higher Tone, Isee Jah High, Earth Warrior, Ras Kelly, Iya Tear, DJ Journalist, Bongo Herman, Johnnie Builder and Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith, with music provided by DJ Talia and Whitty’s Soul Town.

The area was one of the watersheds of the evolution of Jamaican music, and so tours of historic sites, such as Leggo’s Recording Studio, were conducted. Patrons listened with attention as the veteran producer, Trevor ‘Leggo’ Douglas narrated engaging stories of the start-up and evolution of his studio, once a stomping ground for reggae icons Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs, and which is still operating. Other places of interest were Big Yard, Beverly’s (the first record shop in Jamaica) and Jimmy’s Jazz Hut.

In recognition of the part they played in the history of Jamaican music, plaques recognising the work of Vincent and Pat Chin, Winston Ridley and Sonia Pottinger were unveiled at the corner of Orange and Heyward streets by Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange and Mayor of Kingston, Delroy Williams.

And while the music was thumping at ‘Beat Street’, Mutabaruka and DJ Fenix were driving the energy at the turntable at Artwalk,along Water Lane, which was the epicentre of eclectic performances from artistes such as Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, Manifesto Jamaica’s Purpose, GiHRL, dancehall veteran Papa Michigan, the Energy Plus Mento Band, Bongo Shem and the Roots & Culture Drum Band (Kumina), Andre France and Ziah Push. The jam session saw some aspiring artistes giving a taste of what they have to offer.

The children were not left out of the musical mix, as there were art and craft music-themed activities for them at Artwalk at Water Lane, the ‘Market Street’ venue sponsored by Sagicor Bank.