Patrons who ventured unto the Richmond Estate from January 17-19, and even braved the few occasional morning showers, were treated to the masterfully crafted REBEL SALUTE event of 2014, by approximately 50 performers.
The event was an honourable one, where some patrons had their fears about the Rastafarian faith and its followers dispelled. A few good patrons who thought so spoke with Jamaicans.com in the wee hours of Saturday morning, and expressed heightened appreciation for the quality of the show which surprised them.
The event was free of violence, alcohol, expletives, derogatory lyrics, and yet highly entertaining as much as it was power-packed with conscious messages during its 2-nights, 3-day marathon run.
Definitely a stronghold event for some, Rastafarians were free to draw on their ceremonial herb as several artistes reiterated the call to legalize marijuana in Jamaica from the stage. Other artistes picked at politicians and businesspersons with a selected number touting at homosexuals.
One such was Queen Ifrica who denied her vow to stay solemn and instead was passionate in her ranting against homosexuality, child molestation and other social ills. Then going against expectations, she invited the ‘Japanese duo ‘Ackee and Saltfish’’ to provide a bit of humour through their entertaining social commentary.
That noted, the event’s package was 97 per cent reggae, roots, and conscious dancehall – a slew of performers each boasting the brilliance of Jamaicans in their lyrics. Rebel Salute 2014 was a connection between past, present and the future of varied forms of reggae with professionalism.
Fortifying the continuum of reggae sounds, sons of past legends such as Peter Tosh and Alton Ellis did well with their opportunity to relive memories of their fathers, while introducing a few sets of their own.
Current legends and newer artists brought their own children to share stage, and introduce new songs. Bob Andy was exemplary.. but of the two nights Bugle, John Holt, Peter Metro and Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Marley released the real spell on the grounds. These four artistes were top level and had the audience chanting for more of them. The likes of Wayne Marshall and Baby Cham were specially invited by the humble giant – Junior Gong – to share his segment.
Just about the only artiste who wasted no time with pep talk, Damian Marley aka ‘Junior Gong’ delivered in superb form, setting pace for other artistes to take note. A critical thinker, his vision for Jamaica to live as one in love, free from prejudice and struggle was clear.
From the dancehall era, Bugle gave commentaries on Jamaican life through ’Non Compatible’, ‘Don’t Give Up’, ‘Journey’, ‘Exercise’, ‘Pearly Gates’, and ‘What have I done to You?. Approximately two hours belonged to Bounty Killer who may have shocked many, with his more than welcomed cultural set.
‘Schoolteacher’ Stitchie turned gospel artiste still held good ground in hearts, with his ever current clean lyrics.
The marathon of performances, complimented by the displayed vendors of authentic Jamaican food, art and craft with just a hint of products from Africa, was evidently planned with strategy. Patrons were not allowed to be weary for long. Skyjuice and Squeeze entertained during intermission. One of the sponsors, Fly Jamaica gave away prizes, while emcees kept everyone upbeat.
Rastafarian and Ethiopian flags flew high at the onslaught of favourite artistes and with the occasional horn blowers hardly anyone could find needed rest on the grounds.
Gong delivered crowd favourites including ‘Welcome to Jamrock’, ‘From Rema to Jungle’ , ‘Set up Shop’, ‘Make it Bun’, and ‘More Justice.’ Veteran John Holt worked the audience with hits such as ‘If I were a Carpenter’, ’Love I Can Feel’, ‘Ali Baba’, ‘Police in Helicopter’, ‘Up Park Camp’, and ‘Be Careful’.
Peter Metro delivered a continuous stream of hits and the crowd went wild. Combining elements of mathematics, chemistry, social studies, history, he amused the crowd as he delivered tunes on Jamaica like ‘Police Inna London’, ‘National Heroes’, and ‘No Put It Deh’ were two.
No greater performances could be had to strengthen the Salute By and To the Ultimate Rebel – Tony Rebel … and yet the show seems destined to be better next year if the he has his way…
ARTISTE LINE UP FRIDAY:
Bunny Wailer, Pentateuch Band, Spanner Banner, Bugle, Kabaka Pyramid, Duane Stephenson, Iba Mahr, Ikaya, Luciano, Johnny Osbourne, Max Romeo, Tamlins, Damian Marley, Andrew Tosh, Christopher Martin, Chuck Fender, Tony Rebel, John Holt, Eljai, Fred Locks, Jesse Royal, Omari Edwards, Damarah Danni, Hempress Sativa, Jah Cutta
ARTISTE LINE UP SATURDAY:
Bushman, Leroy Sibbles, Queen Ifrica, Big Youth, I Wayne, Capleton, Bounty Killer, Pinchers, Jah Cure, Little Hero, Terry Linen, Louie Culture, Jah Bouks, Horace Andy, Bob Andy, Ginjah, Exco Levi, Exco Levi, Dubtonic Kru, Stitchie, Anthony Cruz, Admiral Tibet, Edi Fitzroy, Patrick Buddo