It was clear from the reaction of the audience when entertainers like Big Youth, King Sounds, Tony Rebel, J.C. Lodge and Marcia Griffiths hit the stage, that the crowd was there for authentic reggae music.
Earlier entertainers like Chevaughn, Vershon and Notis Heavyweight Rockaz had a good showing and were well received (some more than others), but it took the veterans to get the crowd on their feet and moving in the mud. Interviews before things got heated on stage, suggested that the tunes of yesteryear were what the audience came for and they were not disappointed.
From hits such as Book of Truth and I Shall Be Released, from King Sounds to Big Youth’s usual effervescent style and flow, the crowd was completely hooked. Tony Rebel, the man of the moment, could do no wrong, as he also thrilled with some of his older tracks. So too did Marcia Griffiths, who was not officially booked for the event, but popped up during the sets of Daville and Rebel to deliver songs like All My Life and Land of Love.
When asked what it is about reggae music that has the ability to capture the audience, entertainers Big Youth and King Sounds, said it all comes down to the message in the music. Both expressed that positive lyrics are timeless and so, songs that ooze positivity will always be well received.
“Most of dem (young artistes) not saying anything, and when dem say something, dem nah make a good step,” said Big Youth. “Dem (songs today) nah no message. Sometimes dem vex when me talk, but me nah fight dem dung, because some of them have potential, but dem not thinking positive. Too much wickedness happening around us, so as entertainers, dem news fi focus on positive and influence dem peers in da way.”
Show young artistes upside of positive music
King Sounds agreed to some extent. While he agreed that today’s music could be more positive, the entertainer says that rather than pointing out the flaws in their approach to music, veteran entertainers should find creative ways of showing younger artistes that positivity, truely is the best way to go.
“When you have songs with a message, it can go on for years and still remain a hit with people. We can show these artistes that without tearing them down,” he said. “My generation was different from Alton Ellis and those people before me, and so it was with the generation before them. The music [is] coming from qudrille to mento to ska, then rocksteady, then reggae, and every generation complain when it moving on; but what the youths are doing today is their thing. All we can do is teach one at a time and show them that they can still do their thing and make the type of music people will appreciate years from now.”