Last evening, no matter your location in Jamaica, all roads seemed to have led to one place, Reggae Sumfest International Night one, where the much talked-about headliners Shabba Ranks and Trey Songz were slated to perform. “You just cannot miss it, it’s the night of Sumfest,” one patron said. This sentiment echoes the fact that Shabba Ranks had not performed in Jamaica for over a decade and it was to be the first for the rising heartthrob, Trey Songz.
At 1am Trey Songz entered the Reggae Sumfest 20th Anniversary stage to intense shriek from females. “This goes out to the beautiful girls,” the first line of his hit song ‘Invented Sex’, wetted patrons for Trey, who quickly did his rendition of Bob Marley and Lauryn Hill’s Turn Your Lights Down Low. Songz, known for showing off his chest during his performances, teased the audience a bit and then obliged his fans’ desire for him to appease their eyes, while completing several songs from his compilation to sharp-cut females.
A band change followed and at about 2:45am “big dutty, stinkin” Shabba Ranks greeted Catherine Hall in his characteristically colourful use of the Jamaican language. Shabba was his usual authentic and hardcore self as he delivered to those who have never seen him perform and refreshed other die-heart fans with sexually explicit lyrics and groove. Shabba wowed the audience with hits like Wicked Inna Bed, Peeny Peeny, Love Punany Bad, Trailer Load A Girls, Ting A Ling and so much more. The infectious crowd gobbled up every hit. The fanfare reached a notch higher when Shabba brought songstress Cherine Anderson on stage for Mr. Loverman, during which he showed his trademark ‘wine technique’.
Before them, Tarrus Riley and Tessanne ignited the stage with popular hits, showing why both were big league acts fitting to begin a firework night. Tessanne took us down memory lane with some ska and rocksteady beats and had the undivided attention of Catherine Hall to songs such as Messenger, Reason Is You, Hideaway and others. While Mr. Singy-Singy, Tarrus Riley, fed patrons one single at a time and was even joined by Dean Fraser on saxophone.
Bonafide, Sophia Brown and Nature were well-received. However, several persons were dissatisfied with Angelique Sabrina’s performance, voicing opinions like “Is this girl for real, is she lip-syncing,” and “this is an insult to our musical intelligence.”
After his performance Shabba Ranks was honoured, amid fireworks, and gave a message to those set to take over from him. He requested his family’s presence on the stage to share the moment with him. Also honoured for years of service to the show was Irie FM’s Elise Kelly, who dedicated the award to Mighty Mike and her mom.
A poor decision by the organizers saw the Jamaica 50 tribute coming in after 4am, with the likes of Derrick Harriot, U-Roy, and John Holt et al, after Shabba Ranks was honoured. On our way out we heard John Holt’s “If I were a carpenter and you were a lady would you have my baby”. We heard that the Jamaica 50 tribute went until 6am.
With today being Damian “Jr Gong” Marley’s birthday one expects a trilling night. He’ll perform along with Protoje, who is expected to take stage at 10:53pm, Chris Martin and The World’s Greatest singer, R.Kelly.
Catherine Hall, Montego Bay was nothing but scorching Thursday night into Friday morning as Dancehall Night, the first of the three day Reggae Sumfest event, got off to a superb start with top entertainers like Tifa, Stacious, Romain Virgo, and Konshens.
The first night was well supported and saw intense performances from all artistes billed–and the audience was equally energetic and responsive.
The divas in the dancehall, namely Tifa, Stacious, and Spice, represented well, both in fashion and performances, however patrons could be heard questioning the latter’s outfit. Specialist, who placed second in Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall 2011, was a dapper looking and wowed the audience; Romain Virgo and Kiprich hammered well-received tunes throughout their performances and received several “forwards”.
Lady Saw was officially crowned the Queen of Dancehall in a special segment after she delivered a blistering performance in a silver-white outfit. During her high-energy performance she hinted at being pregnant for long-time hubby Jon-Jon. She left the stage and made way for the current Dancehall Prince, Konshens, who delivered a high-powered act starting with his “Do Sumin”, which was followed by“Stop Sign” drew over 15 females to the stage to ‘bruk out’. Still sporting his red-hair, Konshens called to the stage Darrio, his brother Delus and the man with the golden voice Richie Stephens, and was well-received by patrons.
Dancehall’s latest master of contention, Khago, took the reign with a firework entrance, Popcaan–representing the Gaza (Portmore Empire) Camp and the teacher as a true Prefect– then set the pace for the ‘Energy God’ Elephant Man, who handed the baton to Cham who ‘tun it up’.
With one preppy act after the other, patrons were visibly happy that they had turned out for the first night.
Despite a largely off-key performance, Montego Bay home-boy Tommy Lee enjoyed a favourable response.
As the atmospheric temperature dropped in the earlier morning, Bounty Killer, I-Octane, and Aidonia kept the ground warm until ‘the Doctor’, Beenie Man, turned up in his full white to top things off.
Other performers for the first night of Reggae Sumfest included Jahvinci, Baby Tash, Potential Kid and Zamunda. Reggae Sumfest continues tonight with the much anticipated performances of Shabba Ranks and international R&B crooner Trey Songz, in addition to a special Jamaica 50 tribute.
The attorney of Jamaican superstar Buju Banton’s has declared that his client “vigorously denies” the charges against him. Banton was held in an undercover sting operation by the federal bureau in Sarasota, South Florida last week as he tried to purchase a large amount of cocaine.
Herbert E Walker III , we have learnt is representing the artiste and in an email to The Associated Press early Tuesday said while he looks forward to representing Buju he will not be discussing the case further.
A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration affidavit says Buju along with two others traveled to Sarasota last week to make the purchase. Walker said Buju “vigorously denies these allegations.”
While the Jamaican reggae singer remains in federal custody in Miami the word from many in his home country remain that he was ‘deliberately set up’. On its Facebook group local radio station RJR Beyond-The Headlines programme asked the question “What are your thoughts on Buju Banton’s arrest on drug charges?”
One of the responded questioned the allegation, “I think it is a set-up. If he was not caught selling drugs when he just started his music career and needed money, why then would he start doing so now when his career is at an all time high. I find the allegations very hard to believe.”
Another slapped: “The U.S. is quite capable of transducing “right” to “wrong” & vice -versa based on current CIRCUMSTANCE, we need more information but I am willing to give the Gargamel benefit of doubt…”
Meantime the gay community, who recently launched an online petition against Buju’s nomination in the Reggae category for a Grammy, have also been blamed for the artiste’s arrest. “It was carefully orchestrated by the gay people who have caused his concerts to be cancelled….these people are powerful and have talons in all areas of the society,” one respondent held. She continued: “they’re getting rid of Buju (remember they killed Shabba Ranks’ career)…they’re going to ensure that he goes before a gay judge and a gay prosecutor and a very gay jury…20 to life.”
Banton, whose real name is Mark Anthony Myrie, faces a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. He faces up to 20 years in prison.