Rebel Salute 19 celebrates Jamaica
Tony Rebel of Flames Productions tossed a math puzzle into the mix of speech and music at Tuesday night's Pepsi Rebel Salute 2012 launch at the Wyndham in New Kingston, as he aligned the 50th anniversary of Jamaica's Independence with a personal milestone.
It was easy enough to work out, as Rebel said, when Saturday, January 14 - when the 19th staging of Rebel Salute begins at the Port Kaiser Sports Club, St Elizabeth - gives way to Sunday, January 15, he will become two score plus 10. Or 60 minus 10, for those who preferred subtraction.
"Me and Jamaica a de same year and me love it," he said.
He said this Pepsi Rebel Salute "will be different. We are celebrating our 50th anniversary of Independence and we want to do it in style".
He went through the list of those who will set the style on stage, giving anecdotes about several and singing snippets of song. The Marley experience comes courtesy of Stephen Marley. Johnny Osbourne will be in Jamaica for the first time since 1996.
"Can you imagine when him walk out with buddy-bye, buddy-bye, buddy-bye?" Rebel asked. Maxi Priest was identified as a son of St Elizabeth.
The fans' request for some musical fire will be satisfied through Capleton, and Rebel spoke about his experiences of seeing Max Romeo perform in Europe and Duane Stephenson in the Eastern Caribbean. The line-up includes Tarrus Riley and Queen Ifrica, continuing their run on consecutive stagings of the festival, Luciano, Yami Bolo, Johnny Clarke, Admiral Bailey ("When last you see him, apart from being a coach?" Rebel asked), General Trees, Errol Dunkley, Gramps Morgan, Romain Virgo, Louie Culture, Cali P and Stream, among others.
Raging Fyah (who Rebel said has a product that the world wants), C-Sharp (whose version of Book of Rules took the house down), Jah9, Jah Cutta, Edi Fitzroy, Iba Mahr and Pessoa (his trumpet, vocals and showmanship giving a ska lift to the evening) who all performed at Tuesday's launch, will also perform at Pepsi Rebel Salute 2012. The launch was hosted by Lady Renee, one of the MCs for the festival, along with Jenny Jenny.
There were resounding endorsements of the festival by representatives of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA), Grizzly's Entertainment, the Jamaica 50 Secretariat, JAMPRO, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and Grace Foods and Services. Guest speaker Professor Verene Shepherd put reggae and calypso in historical context as repositories of history, naming some artistes and songs whose work precedes her classes on particular topics.
Among them are Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Etana for classism and justice; Tarrus Riley and Queen Ifrica for gender; Anthony B for reparation, Shadow and Burning Spear for colonialism and Tony Rebel for responsibility to youth education.
"We can have musical history. We dance to the music, but we can also learn from the music," Shepherd said.
Among the things which are taught in music, Shepherd said, is "you remind us that tribal politics has no place in our country and we should bun it down before it bun us down".
Still, in anticipation for Pepsi Rebel Salute 2012, there were still sponsorship concerns for the support of what JaRIA's Charles Campbell defined as the "single, largest one-night paid event on the Jamaican calendar, contrary to the boasts of others". Charles noted, this is in the face of "weak sponsorship from both the private and public sectors".
"I would like to see projects like Rebel Salute being treated more even-handedly," Campbell said.
Bryan also expressed sponsorship concerns, saying,"after 18 years Rebel Salute qualifies to receive the utmost support from the public-sector agencies.
"Outside of Reggae Sunsplash, there is no other event that packages the music of Jamaica, the culture of Jamaica, in a way that results in a net return to Jamaica," he said.
"If Rebel Salute is not the best expression of a brand Jamaica product, I don't know what is."
The JTB's Jason Hall pointed out that the organisation has increased its sponsorship of what he termed "a truly iconic Jamaican festival" by 300 per cent.
The recent general election provided some context for Pepsi Rebel Salute 2012 as well.
"On the 14th we want to see the green and the orange come together and we have a wonderful celebration, and know is Jamaica we say and is one Jamaica," Rebel said.
The festival will be streamed on www.rebelsaluteprod.com for US$9.99.