St. Kitts Music Festival: Marley dominates Night Two
- Published on Saturday, 30 June 2012 08:18
- Written by Toni Frederick
- Hits: 3707
Basseterre, St. Kitts (WINN): Reggae to dancehall, to a fusion of both and a dash of jazz, marked the second night of the 16th Annual St. Kitts Music Festival.
The evening kicked off with vintage reggae from icons Lovindeer and Eric Donaldson. Lovindeer delighted the growing crowd with classics like ‘Pocomania Day’ and ‘Wild Gilbert,’ his ode to the destructive Hurricane Gilbert that ravaged Jamaica in 1988.
Donaldson put down an energetic set, wrapping up with his signature tunes ‘Cherry Oh Baby’ and ‘Love of the Common People.’
Kittitians seem to have finally gotten the ‘hang’ of getting to the show on time. Unlike past years when opening acts often played to only a handful of patrons, by 9:30 on Friday night, the grounds of the Warner Park were almost as full as they were the night before when attendance was at its peak.
And more came…
By time the U.K.’s premier jazz saxophonist Courtney Pine and friends took the stage, the grounds were packed from the front of the stage to the VIP stands.
The charismatic Pine stole the audience’s heart when he shared with them, that he had attended the St. Kitts Music Festival for years, since its days at the Fort Thomas grounds dreaming that someday he would be on the stage.
“Tonight, my dream came true,” he told the crowd.
Pine and his band presented a crowd-thrilling and eclectic set, hitting notes with his soprano sax that had the audience gasping. He also introduced them to the masterly musicianship of Cuban violinist Omar Fuentes, who made the instrument sing, and the crowd burst into applause.
Dance Hall artistes I-Octane and Popcaan had fans going wild with their energetic performances. I-Octane sent the female fans into a collective swoon when he sang his popular ‘L.O.V.E Y.O.U.’ and Popcaan had his screaming, particularly when he sang ‘Only Man She Want.’
Reggae stalwarts Morgan Heritage had the crowd, dancing, cheering and singing along, as they did a tight one-hour set of their biggest hits like ‘You don’t Haffi Dread,’ ‘A Man is Still a Man’ and ‘Down by the River.’
Back together after a break to explore solo projects, the brothers and sister band were as in sync as they have ever been. Lead vocalist Peter bantered with his siblings and the audience, who screamed particularly loudly when his brother Gramps, the group’s keyboardist, serenaded them which his striking bass vocals.
And the almost magical Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Marley brought the curtains down, with a powerful and edgy set showcasing his distinctive fusion of reggae and dancehall. He owned the stage, moving from side to side, from back to front, and jumped up and down as he belted out crowd-thrilling hits like ‘Road to Zion’ and ‘Affairs of the Heart.’
Young and old, male and female, rastaman and baldhead, they all connected with the fascinating performer, with the lithe body, commanding voice, and swirl of ankle-long dreadlocks that fanned his frame as strutted, bounced and swayed.
Seeming to understand that there are certain expectations of a Marley, ‘Junior Gong’ included in his set some of his father Bob’s signature tunes like ‘War,' and sampled the iconic ‘Could You be Loved.’ But the son of the reggae legend kicked things up a notch by incorporating his dancehall stylings into the tunes, and in so doing made them his own.
Called back for an encore, Marley launched into a heart-thumping rendition of ‘Welcome to Jamrock,’ and the crowd went wild. If there had been a roof, he would have brought it down.
Reggae Legend, Marley. Damian Marley.
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