Jamaica’s Finest Voices from the Past and Present Resonated at Reggae Sumfest 2014

 Written By Nicholas E. Ford[1]

 Dancehall night

For a large majority of Reggae Sumfest goers who gather in Montego Bay, Jamaica annually to enjoy the ‘Greatest Reggae Show on Earth’, Dancehall night has without question been a must attend calendar event over the years.  And as always Dancehall night 2014 at Reggae Sumfest pulled out all the stops in delivering all that is current, hip, and fresh in Jamaica’s vibrant genre of dancehall music.  Among the artists that were on tap to thrill the energetic audience were: Bounty Killer, Busy Signal, I-Octane, Mr Vegas, Spice and Tifa, Ninja Man, and Bugle.

International Night 1

Chronixx…An Impressive Singer

On International Night 1, the swollen crowd that had gathered at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Center in Montego Bay to enjoy the show’s musical vibes was mesmerized by Jamaican newest and supremely talented singing sensation—Chronixx.  The Rastafarian juggernaut has garnered heaps of attention over the past year not only in Jamaica, but also far and wide abroad.  From beginning to end, his performance was spellbinding.  At that, Chronixx—who is  most always accompanied by his Zinc Fence Redemption Band—more than lived up to his top billing.

At such a young age, his vault of hits is steadily growing and he was not at all sparing when it came to reeling of a slew of hits—including ‘They Don’t Know,’ ‘Walk with the Saviour’, ‘Don’t Take My Love For Granted’, ‘Smile Jamaica’, ‘Here Comes Trouble’, and ‘Capture Land’.   And the appreciative audience was surely lit a fire when Chronixx was joined on stage by Protégé—an up and coming Rastafarian singer—to perform ‘Who Knows’.

International Night 2

Sanchez Was Vocal

International Night 2 got off to a fast start, as early on in the evening arguably one of Jamaica’s most golden and adored voices graced the stage.   Kevin Jackson—or, Sanchez as he is popularly known—sounded as crisp as ever as he impressively vocalized a long list of his hits.  However, at the start of his stage performance Sanchez was visibly dismayed due to a faulty microphone.   So perturbed was the well-loved singer, that he actually walked off the stage—much to the surprise of the audience.   “I apologize. Right now, steam a blow through mi ears,” he said about his abrupt departure. The sound technicians quickly got things going again, and when Sanchez returned to the stage the audience was thirsty for more.

Many patrons were spellbound and kept steady on their feet while Sanchez nonchalantly simply poured out the hits—some of which were covers, orginals, and even of the gospel variety.  Not surprisingly, even as Sanchez departed the stage in closing his set, the audience was yearning for more—garnering Sanchez the night’s inaugural standing encore.   His fans were indeed thrilled when he answered their beckons by returning to the stage once more.   In so doing, Sanchez dropped a few more of his perennial lover’s rock staples—such as ‘Fall In Love’, ‘I’ll Give You Love’, ‘Lonely (Won’t Leave Me Alone)’ and ‘Dis The Man—which served as a further testament that he remains one of Jamaica’s most treasured vocalists.

Atlanta Rap Artist—Future—Was Well Received

Hailing from the City of Altanta, American rap artist, Future, ably represented his genre of hip-hop music at Reggae Sumfest 2014.   Fittingly dressed for the occasion in wearing a green and yellow T-shirt with Jamaica emblazoned in capital letters across the front, Future wasted no time in getting the massive Sumfest audience in rhythm with his performance set.   The onlooking crowd was quickly won over by Future who treated them to his biggest hits – such as ‘U.O.E.N.O.’, ‘Karate Chop’, ‘Get Lucky’, Love, Racks, ‘Honest’, ‘Bugatti’, and ‘’Top Out.  Many in the audience sang along and bobbed their heads to the hip-hop beat, as Future spewed his lyrics while prancing back and forth across the stage.

International Dancehall Superstar—Sean Paul—Proved His Mettle

Dressed in a blue blazer, white shirt, black leather pants and a black tie to match, internationally acclaimed dancehall superstar, Sean Paul, was met with deafening screams from his female fans upon his entry on stage in the wee hours of Sunday morning.  And he surely delivered an energetic set with a lot of lively gyrations courtesy of his three female background dancers.  The Grammy award winning artist certainly chose wisely in selecting the hits that he effortlessly reeled off for the audience.   In particular, ‘Get Busy’, ‘Like Glue’, ‘Nah Get No Bly’, ‘Hot Gal’, ‘Give it to Me’, and ‘Gimme di Light’ surely got a rise from the crowd.

Clad in a black suit with a white blouse to compliment, the 2013 Voice winner, Tessanne Chin, blushed while standing stage-side at the roaring applause unleashed by the thousands in the audience who had just heard her name was announced over the loud speakers as the next performer ready to take the stage.  In fact, many of her fans made a mad dash from different points around the venue in an energetic effort to get closer to the stage for an up-close view of Jamaica’s much talked about songstress in having won the USA Voice competition last year.

Tessanne was extremely gracious to her fans, as she prefaced her performance with many thanks to her supporters while also expressing that it was good to be finally home in Jamaica after being on the road for so long.   As many had expected, Tessanne kicked her set off with the song ‘Try’—which had sparked her sizzling odyssey through the many challenges laid out to her on the Voice.   And so, she certainly lived up to the billing at Sumfest 2014 in giving a commanding performance that included her best songs—such as, ‘Tumbling Down’, ‘Count On My Love’, ‘Redemption Song’, ‘Every Little Thing Reminds Me of You’, and ‘Heaven’, which Tessanne mentioned would likely be the second single to be released from her ‘Count On My Love’ album.

Drawing the curtains down on Reggae Sumfest 2014 was none other than—di ole Veteran and Captain of the Big Ship—Freddie McGregor.   Prior to beginning his closing act, the organizers of Reggae Sumfest—Summerfest Productions—honored Freddie for his 50 years of admirable service in the Jamaican music industry.  As he received his award plaque on stage, he was described as a “stalwart in the Jamaica music industry and a multifaceted recording artist”.

Against the backdrop of the rising morning sun, Freddie performed several of his notable hits—including ‘To Be Poor Is A Crime’, ‘Push Come To Shove’ So I Will Wait For You’, and ‘Born A Winner’.

[1] Nicholas E. Ford lives in Miami, Florida.

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