Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer
Frankie Campbell, chairman of the Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes and Affiliates (JAVAA), easily points to the organisation's history in concert production over the last eight years.
Among those were weekly concerts at its then Haining Road, New Kingston, base, and up to two years ago four events annually at The Pegasus hotel, also in New Kingston. Campbell said some of JAVAA's regular shows preceded the current resurgence of bands and live music, "but the economy caught up with us like anyone else".
So tonight's JAVAA Jamaica 50 concert at Redbones Blues Café, New Kingston, is the organisation's first concert since last February's tribute to Dennis Brown and Bob Marley, breaking the longest stretch they have ever gone without staging a show. It is also the first time that, as an organisation, JAVAA is going to Redbones, although Campbell noted that individual members have performed there.
The line-up is Dwight Pinkney, Keith Lyn, Keisha Patterson, Charmaine Limonius, Baggadito, Deh Deh, Andrew Francis and Tubeless, with the Unique Vision Band on the stand. Baldwin will do hosting duties.
Campbell said that while the show is scaled down from the very large type of event, "the flow of the show and performance will be top class". This includes the hallmark on-time start, Campbell saying that "in terms of performance it is two hours. We will be out of there definitely before midnight."
As it celebrates Jamaica 50, it is appropriate that Keith Lyn, renowned for instructing all how to "ska, ska, ska", is on the line-up. While it was not the first ska song, it was the song that took the beat truly worldwide. Campbell noted that of the ska pioneers - Lyn, Derrick Morgan and Strangejah Cole - are three of the very few remaining alive and active. "He (Lyn) was very active in 1962 at Independence. Byron Lee and the Dragonaires was the top band and he and Ken Lazarus were the main singers," he said.
"Obviously, we are not too much in the dancehall era," Campbell said. He pointed out that a near half-and-half mix of dancehall with other genres does not work for a concert, as when there is a heavy mix, the audience does not turn out.
And it does not hurt that Redbones has a consistent Friday evening concert programme. "The Redbones series continues. There are shows every weekend, basically. There are very few Fridays that they do not have a show," Campbell said, this established live music date expected to help with audience turnout.