Tarrus Riley thrills at Caribbean Marketplace
Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
Tarrus Riley ignited a furnace in the loins of the Caribbean Marketplace crowd last week Tuesday night, and if he thought Byron Lee's Dragonnaires would offer some type of cooling system, he was wrong.
The 'Naires' were just as hot, taking the audience to fever-pitch temperatures.
When the man with the golden voice and incredibly rich stage presence graced the arena-like setting, he was greeted by a group of revellers who had their appetites whetted and their hunger heightened by the 'Strong One', Etana.
True to form, the August Town-born and bred Shauna 'Etana' McKenzie declared early during her show-stopping performance that, "We don't want no trouble", with her song Wrong Address, before she pulled from her impressive compilation, Warrior Love and Blessing.
Not prepared to hide the truth, Tuesday night she hid nothing from the adult audience, equaling her time on the stage with the heat that this tropical island is known for.
"I am not afraid", belted the voices in the audience in sync with Etana, and even her husband, André Morris, who stood backstage seemed mesmerised.
But the Strong One's opening act was the start to a night easily penned 'Forget Me Not'.
Jamaica, the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and the chief marketer, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, were out to impress and that's exactly what they did.
So, did they outdo Caribbean Marketplace 2005? The resounding answer is yes!
Tarrus Riley was the perfect fit to the rich, vibrant Jamaican culture, and he commenced his presentation with conscious music, even paying tribute to the 'Cool Ruler', the late Gregory Isaacs. Pulling for Tune In and Don't Wanna be Lonely Tonight were the right medicine for lovers to start holding hands.
The indomitable performer enthralled the shy to become bold, caused workers to desert their posts, and inspired non-singers to feel that they had found a new talent.
But, the most inspiring thing about Tarrus Riley is the fact that his entire band has talent spewing from within. It was amazing to hear the voices of the backup singers and even more fascinating to watch the playful jester between master saxophonist, Dean Fraser, and the She's Royal singer.
Like a 'Good Boy, Gone Bad', Riley exited the stage, making way for the Dragonnaires.
Fireworks heralded the soca warriors on stage, and so did some of the hottest dancers from Montego Bay's newest attraction, Black Pearl.
At midnight, no one needed to confirm this statement of fact. "There is nobody capable of throwing a party like the Jamaicans can."
Kudos to Alan Gotting, Wayne Cummings, Omar Robinson, Carolle Guntley, Josef Forstmayr, Joy Douglas, Vanessa Ledesma, Alec Sanguinetti, Ricky Skerritt, and the team that worked hard at making Caribbean Marketplace 2011 the créme de la créme.