Every year in Miami, Florida Art Basel attracts droves of art aficionados, together with artists, celebrities, and musicians from across the world to immerse themselves in the arts. For those who are not familiar, Art Basel Week in Miami is an international art fair that plays host to over 260 galleries from roughly 32 nations. In that spirit, Art Basel Miami 2022 served to showcase contemporary works of art by not only established artists, but also by those newly emerging on the arts scene.
Against this backdrop, this year’s Art Basel Miami Week episode was presented in association with Clockwork Music and Addictive Affairs. What’s more, this marquis Art Basel event featured the ‘Legends Only’ Reggae Night on Sunday, December 4th, which afforded attendees the opportunity to enjoy live musical performances at the Magic City’s SkateBird305 venue. This outdoor evening event in the heart of Miami’s El Portal neighborhood was family-friendly and featured a fantastic medley of Jamaican and Latin reggae artists, including: Inner Circle, Ky-Mani Marley, Julian Marley, I-Octane, Bachaco, Maffio, Kash’d Out, Jason Panton (Dubwise – Miami), Zeke Don, Popeye Caution, Safaree Samuels, and Lance-O (Kulcha Shok).
Inner Circle are globally known for their infectious ‘Badboys’ anthem, ‘What You Gonna Do’, which served as the theme song to the American TV show, Cops. Miami-based Music Mogul, Abebe Lewis, the son of Inner Circle’s, Ian Lewis, was one of the the event’s leading organizers and steward of its seemingly ubiquitous marketing campaign throughout the South Florida environs in the weeks leading up to the event.
Ky-Mani ‘Maestro and Julian ‘Juju’ Marley
As son of Reggae King, Bob Marley, Ky-Mani has indeed come into his own as a multi-talented Jamaican reggae singer and musician. In 2001, he received a Grammy Award nomination for his album, ‘Many More Roads’. And, of course, a big favorite out of his impressive vault of hit songs is his song, titled, ‘Dear Dad’, which is a touching and tear-jerking tribute in memory of his iconic father.
Hailing from the May Pen, Clarendon area in Jamaica, Byiome Muir—popularly known as I-Octane—has established himself for over a decade as a big-name artist, not only in his native Jamaica, but also worldwide. I-Octane is known for weaving in positive and socially conscious messages and lyrics to his music—while drawing inspiration from Rastafarian precepts, teachings, as well as his own life experiences.
A veteran reggae and dancehall artist in all aspects, I-Octane launched his recording career at just 16 years of age under the guide of legendary Jamaican producer, Donovan Germain, of Penthouse records who also produced legendary artists such as Buju Banton, Wayne Wonder, and Beres Hammond—just to name a few. To this day, I-Octane acknowledges that Donovan Germain is at the top of his list of favorite producers. In 2009, I-Octane climbed to the top of the charts with songs like ‘Mama You Alone’, and ‘Lose A Friend’. Since then, the hit parade of I-Octane has persisted. All the while, he just seems to continue to evolve with new melodies and riddims. His latest album, ‘Moods’, is without a doubt a classic that is filled with hits—notably, ‘Bagga Money’ and ‘Top Boy’.
Zeke Don, Popeye Caution, and Safaree
Zeke Don, who stepped in the building well ahead of his actual performance, was greeted by friends and other patrons as he settled in and enjoyed the vibes-filled atmosphere at Skatebird 3005. In recent years, Zeke has certainly proved his mettle while increasing his popularity in dancehall circles all over. And, flanked by Popeye Caution and Safaree he brought a lot of energy and lyrical dexterity to the stage during their collective performance of their infectious ‘Ochi’ tune and dance that has seemingly taken the world by storm this year.
Jason Panton – Miami’s Dubwise
Jason Panton of Dubwise, Miami is the multi-talented creative, designer, and culturalist hailing from Kingston, Jamaica.
Lance-O – Kulcha Shok
In 1974, Lance-O was introduced to Peter Tosh, and it has been said that that meeting also served as his introduction in earnest to reggae music. Fast forward to present, Lance-O is a well-respected and highly acclaimed dj, mc, host, voice talent as well as a passionate promoter of Reggae music not only in South Florida , but also far and beyond. In 2006, Kulcha Shok launched Reggae Sundays and around that same time Lance-O joined forced with the House of Reggae in Delray Beach, Florida. And now, Kulcha Shok has evolved into a highly respected and loved brand all over.
Alimoña Kush – Venezuela
Born under the name, Singer Jose Maria Espinosa, aka Alimoña Kush, this Venezuelan artists kicked-off his musical career at an early age while residing in Maracay, Venezuela. Since around 2009, Alimoña Kush certainly made a name for himself in the Miami music scene with his Latin reggae music sound and vibe. Over the years, Alimoña Kush has linked up with a long list of musical heavyweights in the Latin music and reggae music industry, including Los Pericos, Gondwana, Desorden Publico, Pitbull, Eve Queen, Don Omar, Bullseye, Baroni One Time, Prieto, Apache, Joel and Randi, Fulanito, Aventura, Tito Banbino, Fourth, Loco por Guana, Los Rakas, Julio Voltio, Junior Reid, Ky-Mani, Julian and JoMersa Marley, as examples.
Bachaco – Venezuela
Hailing from Venezuela, Bachaco is a Reggae Rock and Latin Roots band that blends feel-good reggae music with creative and conscious lyrics, in part, by new and classic sounds of Bob Marley songs, as well as various other latin music genres.
Kash’d Out – Orlando, Florida
Based out of Orlando, Florida, Kash’d Out is an up-and-coming reggae rock band that has been heating up the national touring and festivals circuit on the heels of their 2017 debut album, titled: ‘The Hookup’, which is filled with catchy hooks and sing along choruses.
Maffio – Dominican Republic
Born under the name Carlos Ariel Peralta Mendoza, Maffio is an urban latin music producer, composer and artist hailing from the sun-kissesd Caribbean island of the Dominican Republic. One of his main musical influences is the late Jamaican reggae king, Bob Marley. Most recently, he has collaborated with Julian Marley, Ky-Mani Marley and Jo Mersa Marley on their song, titled: ‘Blessings’.
The multi-award winning Dominican producer, singer-songwriter, Maffio, recently released his single “Blessings”, which included as a song on his most recent album ‘Eso Es Mental’. According to Maffio: “Having the collaboration of Ki-Mani, Julian and Jo Mersa is a privilege and a proof of brotherhood, because although I am Dominican and not Jamaican, it means a lot to me that we can together send a message of blessing to the world.”
All in all, ‘Legends Only’ Reggae Night at Art Basel Miami 2022 was very well attended by a wide variety of people from diverse backgrounds and, as such, this wonderful event certainly accomplished one of its chief objectives; that is, the fusing of Jamaican and Latin reggae for the masses.
Photos by Nick Ford, who lives and works in South Florida.