Sheena Gayle, Gleaner Writer
With an overwhelming majority of male performers at the 20th staging of Rebel Salute in St Ann, the female entertainers registered strong performances that confirmed their ability to thrill at major music festivals.
Reggae singer Marcia Griffiths executed her set with great precision and made her experience tell, making sure her fans were adequately satisfied before she exited the stage.
After more than three decades of thrilling music fans, Griffiths continues to prove her worth and showed no sign of slowing down at Rebel Salute.
It has become customary for her performances to include sing-alongs to hits like Fire Burning, I Shall Sing, and All My Life.
The songs, which point to social ills within the society, even today (years after they were first penned) makes Griffiths not only relevant to audiences today, but seem prophetic.
Known as the 'Fire Mumma' in reggae music circles, Queen Ifrica's performance resonated well with patrons, who gave her shouts of approval with the utterance of her every lyrical composition.
Tackling social issues through songs like Daddy, Times Like These and Serve and Protect, Ifrica made it clear that governance is at the heart of Jamaica's social and economic problems and urged leaders to step up and work on solutions and not add to the problems.
Etana's presence at the two-day festival needed no validation. Her powerful vocals and well-written songs captivated the hearts of reggae fans who did not mind being under her musical spell. Her songs echoed the need for a Better Tomorrow (the name of Etana's latest album set for a February release).
The addition of Lady G to the line-up at Rebel Salute offered diversity to the entertainment package as she brought an excellent dancehall vibe to the reggae show.
Famous for hits like Ease Off, Badman and Nuff Respect, Lady G earned approval for her lyrical prowess and left many talking long after her performance on Saturday night. Her new song, Mi Property, was a major talking point for many, especially for emcee Mutabaruka who mentioned it as often as he could.
Hempress Sativa was among the up-and-coming acts who showed great promise. Kelissa, from the Zinc Fence Recordz camp, home to fast-rising star Chronixx, also showed promise.