Sat | Jul 20, 2019

Vibrant beats from Bongo Herman and Friends

Published:Friday | May 17, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Junior Reid was one of Bongo Herman's many friends performing at The Essence Lounge on Tuesday night.
Bongo Herman pulls off yet another percussion exploit at The Essence Lounge on Tuesday night.
Bongo Herman taps out a tune on his famed enamel chamberpot.
The audience gets into the action at The Essence, Kings Plaza, St Andrew, on Tuesday night. - PHOTOS BY Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer

Davina Henry, Gleaner Writer

Amid many many friends, drinks and the crisp air, Kings Plaza, Constant Spring Road, came alive once again on a Tuesday night. This time around, it was to the musical tones of the very skilled and experienced entertainer and master drummer, Bongo Herman.

The concert, aptly titled Bongo Herman and Friends, saw up-and-coming artistes gracing the stage of The Essence Lounge to pay tribute to Bongo Herman.

Newcomer Eric Gold was up first and he serenaded the enthusiastic crowd with songs such as She's Still Loving Me by Morgan Heritage and Beres Hammonds' No Goodbye. He was followed by Princess Jah Milli, whose cover of Alton Ellis' Willow Tree had some patrons on their feet.

Other emerging artistes, including Capachi, Emmanuel B and Kette Eye, also delivered.


It was then time for the consummate performer, Bongo Herman. He came onstage at approximately 10:50 p.m. for his first set of the night and treated patrons to a collection of songs from Jamaica's vintage music repertoire.

He noted during this set that, "Back in [the] days, musicians did music for the love, which explains the fullness of the music ... ." Never without a comical story, Bongo Herman also told patrons how the early musicians and singers would eat bulla and plums for lunch and then get back to work making music.

Having stated that he would showcase the 'Herman' side of himself, followed by the 'Bongo' side, he launched into covers of several Alton Ellis songs. Hits such as Rock Steady, Breaking Up and Dennis Brown's Silhouettes were certainly crowd favourites.

After a brief intermission, his second set took the night's performances up a notch. Bongo Herman drummed, danced and shook his instruments, all to good reception from the audience. Songs such as The Rastaman Chant and Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus' New Name were well received.

The highlight of the night came when Bongo Herman began pulling instruments out of his bag. Chimes, a tambourine and an enamel chamberpot were some of the items he plucked out. Audience members could hardly contain their laughter when Bongo Herman pulled out a huge underwear.

He ended his set with Sugar Minott's Oh Mr DC.

The rest of the night saw credible performances from Black Champagne, and backing band Jah Squad was in great form. One of the high points of the night came from artiste WildLife, whose song Old Corolla had to be restarted several times.

Guest artiste Junior Reid also left an indelible mark on the audience with hits such as One Blood and Out Deh.

Patrons unwillingly began to leave The Essence after 1 a.m. on Wednesday.