10 thousand-strong turnout leaves organisers smiling
Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer
The Digicel Bob Marley show hosted at Emancipation Park in New Kingston brought out thousands of patrons. According to Thanida Nunes, Digicel's sponsorship manager, it was the biggest turnout yet.
She said it was a big deal for Digicel to support Jamaican culture.
"People have literally lent us their talent tonight because we could not afford to pay the calibre of artistes we have here. We are grateful to the artistes for lending us their time and effort. The turnout is phenomenal. This year, it's about eight to 10 thousand people, and they are very orderly. We have woven ourselves into the lives of Jamaican people and it's a big deal to support Jamaican culture, which Bob Marley is a big part of," she said.
The evening started with a performance by St Bess Records-signed artiste Sumerr. She performed Bob Marley's Three Little Birds as her tribute pick, as well as original singles like Immortal Reggae and Jessie James. The patrons enjoyed her set.
Another strong woman who got a favourable response was Ikaya. She entered the stage with a rendition of Bob Marley's Redemption Song to rousing approval. Her popular singles like Hard Way and I'm Not Giving Up were also well received by the patrons, who waved and rocked through her performance.
Ikaya was joined by a Caucasian reggae artiste from Portugal called Richie Campbell, who helped in delivering a strong performance.
The collaboration was impressive, in part because Campbell impressed the audience with his mastery of Patios. It was like watching the Volkswagen ad all over again.
Reggae artiste Iba Mahr followed next with Will I Wait, before giving way to Nadine Sutherland.
Sutherland sang Bob Marley's Jammin and songs like Action, Baby Face, and Anything For You.
The animated singer danced her way about the stage before exiting to huge roars of approval.
Veteran rocksteady-reggae artiste Leroy Sibbles also delivered a strong set, doing a Bob Marley tribute in which he sang Who the Cap Fit.
Gospel in the mix
Despite being an event about reggae and Rastafari for the most part, gospel was not left out of the mix, courtesy of performances by Jermaine Edwards and Omari.
Omari sang hits like Why and Help. Edwards was later accompanied by up-and-coming gospel artiste Rondell Positive, the two delivering a tag-team styled medley.
Chronixx entered the venue, followed by an ever-growing entourage at minutes after 9 p.m. and wowed the audience. Like his entourage, his catalogue is also growing, and he dug into it with hits like Don't Give Up, They Don't Know, and Behind Curtain.
Daryl Vaz, former information minister and member of parliament for West Portland, made his opinion of Chronixx evident, lighter and dancing included.
Following Chronixx's performance, his former stable mate at House of Hitz records, Lutan Fyah, delivered a conscious set.
Songs like Rasta Still Deh Bout and Delavega got good responses. However, it was Don't Mek Yu Madda Bawl that seemed to touch the core of those patrons who wanted to hear inspiring messages.
Digicel's brand ambassador Tifa opted to show a different side of her talent by doing reggae songs in her set.
She paid homage to Bob Marley by singing Turn Your Lights Down Low. She even performed Bitty Mclean's Walk Away From Love, though she steered clear of the high notes. The attempt was worthy of note.
The messenger, Luciano, followed with Jah Give Me Strength, Sweep Over My Soul, For The Leaders, and Bob Marley's Crazy Baldheads.
Known to dabble in a bit of gospel, Luciano also performed a medley of singles including When The Saints Go Marching In.
"I can't leave without saying a prayer cuz mi nuh like wah mi si a gwaan. Man all a call demself demon? Demon come from hell, but mek dem com. Dem a guh buck up pan Jah," he said to an uproar.
The man who stole the show, however, was Capleton. He performed several songs from both his reggae and dancehall catalogue. For the entire duration of his long set, he had patrons jumping like children who had had too much sugar.
I-Octane also delivered a strong set with popular songs like Bad Mind Dem A Pree and Suffer Too Long.