Two takes on Tivoli Enquiry at Rebel Salute; sexual matters also aired on stage
Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer
While there was lots of song and dance at Rebel Salute 2015, held last weekend at Grizzly's Plantation Cove, Priory, St Ann, in a long-established performance tradition, the stage was used to present views on topical social issues.
Among them were the Tivoli Commission of Enquiry, with MC Mutabaruka and Queen Ifrica having divergent views on whether the process could be continued or not.
After the Mighty Diamonds performed, Mutabaruka, who is a poet and presents two shows on Irie FM, said, "I think them should just stop the Tivoli Garden enquiry and give the people a chance to build up the community". He immediately made it clear that "this is not an announcement from Rebel Salute. Is just troublemaker Mutabaruka a talk".
After stopping the enquiry, Mutabaruka said we should "use the rest of the money and build up the community". He added "is a terrible thing. Is a wicked and terrible thing".
After last week's revelation that the process is going to cost the country about five times the original $50 million budgeted, Mutabaruka proposed a destination for the person responsible for determining how much money should be spent.
"That accountant should be sent to Iraq. Imagine, you budget for a whole thing cost $50 million and one man (chairman Sir David Simmons) get $50 million? Them come with NHT then them come with this. What next?"
After doing Born Free, early in what turned out to be a strong, controlled performance, Queen Ifrica declared her intention to "reason and entertain". The reasoning included gender and relationship issues, as well as the Tivoli Enquiry.
"Jamaica is a blessed country. Them a kill we joy an' we haffi fight fi we joy," Ifrica said. The process should continue and come to a conclusion, Ifrica said. Then, when it is over, "we a guh march up a Jamaica House ... A whole heap a we jus march up (deh), whether we put tape on we mouth or what".
Relating what happened in Tivoli to how Jamaica has been developed, Queen Ifrica said, "that's why the people defend it (the community), same way dem did train fi defen it."
The enquiry was not the first issue that Ifrica addressed at Rebel Salute 2015. Her take on infidelity is that while infidelity happens, "me feel woman do it more than man, but true society like woman, woman get away with it". She was speaking in the context of high divorce rates and a recent case of suspected murder-suicide involving a policewoman. Her musical advice to couples wishing to maintain the fun in their relationship was, "let's act silly".
There was a personal matter as well. Ifrica saying, "From whe day me hear it loud in the streets say Ifrica a bleach. Dem say when you conscience set you free you pray on. So me jus' a pray on. And while me pray on, me a gwaan bun bleacher. It is damaging to the inside and the outside," Ifrica said, before deejaying, "A no everybody a rub."
Before performing Keep It to Yourself, Ifrica said "sex and marriage between man and woman. Anywhere in the world me go me say that". And, referring to her performance at the 2013 Grand Gala held at the National Stadium, Ifrica said she had spoken about two things.
"I spoke about marijuana and I spoke about that other thing," she said, noting that some "nice moves" are being made with mariijuana.
"I don't know what they are going to do about the other thing," she said.
Earlier in the concert, Mutabaruka noted the impact of widespread communication technology on dancehall customs.
"A nuff artiste still a tell people put up yu lighter. Better them ask yu fi put up you Galaxy 5. De light pon it bright no rahtid," Mutabaruka said.