POPCAAN will be making his Rebel Salute debut this year, performing under his given name Andre Hugh Sutherland.
Rebel Salute, the two-day festival organised by artiste-turned-promoter Tony Rebel, is set for January 13 and 14 at the Richmond Estate in Priory, St Ann.
Traditionally an exposÃ© for proponents of the roots-reggae genre, this is not the first time that Tony Rebel and his team are opening up the festival to dancehall acts. However, these acts have always performed under their given names, as opposed to their popular monikers. David Brooks aka Mavado, Rodney Price aka Bounty Killer, Moses Davis aka Beenie Man, and Marion Hall aka Lady Saw have all appeared on the Rebel Salute stage. Following her baptism, Hall — who is now a gospel artiste — is one of the festival’s headliners this year.
Tony Rebel was emphatic when asked why the inclusion of a dancehall act on this year’s show.
He argued that Rebel Salute has to be inclusive and offer a range of acts.
“Dancehall artistes must show that they are versatile and capable. If I am invited to a dancehall show, I’m going to take up the challenge and do my best. Our show is still a conscious reggae show and Andre Sutherland, like the other dancehall acts who have appeared, will be showing that they understand what they are doing,” Tony Rebel told the Jamaica Observer.
Considering Popcaan’s repertoire, the promoter said there had to be a discussion about the guidelines for performing at Rebel Salute.
“He played a bunch of conscious songs that he has and will perform there. That’s why it’s not Popcaan, it’s Andre Sutherland, the good side of the man,” he explained.
Last year was good for Sutherland, who released a number of popular tracks and copped the reggae category at the Music of Black Origin (MOBO) awards in the UK. A protÃ©gÃ© of embattled dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel, Popcaan gained wider popularity on the track Clarks by Kartel. He has risen through the ranks to become a bona fide artiste through tracks such as Ova Dweet, Never Sober, Party Shot, Mi Unruly and Where We Come From.
On night one of the festival, among the acts scheduled to take to the stage are Ky-Mani Marley, Half Pint, Anthony B, Iba Mahr, Chaka Demus and Pliers, Warrior King and The Abyssinians. The final night will see Third World, Queen Ifrica, Spragga Benz, Lady G, Errol Dunkley and Agent Sasco, among other acts.