Chanters’ Playfield

An evening of Soul Stirring Music

The mood was set; lights low and “reggae” dripping in the background as if it were a lowly stadium, with symmetrically aligned spotlights beaming in synchronized movement. The spotlights were placed about the stage and onto it, giving an aura as if a spaceship had just landed bearing gifts of new energies called “Reggae”. Though these gifts encompassed reggae, they were new versions of it. They were created by, not deviants, but rebels who came ready to chant the night away. A few of the rebels came onto the stage, setting up equipment, then another with a microphone in hand. A lady, graceful in attire began to speak as she raised the microphone to her mouth. She was Laava, and she introduced the night as the event officially commenced.

Laava, Hostess for the event

Libations were in order, to those before us who helped make us who we are; soul rebels alike. The hostess brought a priestess of sort, called Sabriya Simon, to the stage to lead the libations and the audience participated as all our spirits were lifted. It was now time for live music. 

dBurnz was introduced by the hostess and his band began playing. A steady rhythm with subtly increasing energy, this is “One Beat”. He started off with a love song of enlightenment simply stating, “bet yuh seh yuh neva know seh” he would’ve wrote and performed with such talent. As the drums kicked in and the tempo increased, so did the temperature. Indeed it was a #fyahfull performance as he commanded the stage proclaiming his African ancestral lineage. As he closed his performance he introduced his band members and they greeted the audience with majestic solos.

After a break and band change, it was Runkus and the Oldskool Band who graced the stage, representing the victims of the system. Runkus and the band began to brew a storm and humbly spoke of how they “mek it fall on you”. As the rhythm mellowed out, the rain began to hold up with a light drizzle of piano chords and harmonious voices. “Shhh… My girlfriend do nuh come wid nuh man problem”, with such a bold statement Runks began his next piece. and as it burned like incense. After that, just as “One good spliff leads to another”, so did one good song lead to another. Runkus knew he had to leave his fans with a grand exit, and that he did as he commanded them to, “Move Yuh Feet, mek Jah Jah see it”.

Two Kings performed just in time for a Queen to cast the audience into serenity. As she stood there her beauty would surely have you swallowing your words in shyness. She knew, and began to sing so sweetly. Her voice and melodies calmed anyone who was a “Bit Too Shy”, so much that a man had to shout out to acknowledge her beauty, not just in appearance but also in talent. Sevana began chanting “from the east to the west” and the crowd joined her. Her essence emanated throughout the building as she got ready to spread her wings. Alas! After a sneak peak of a new song called “Rawle”, there was “Sudden Flight”, and to my surprise- and surely the rest of the audience- Protoje appeared onto the stage, carrying the “fyah of a Melchizedek” to perform his verse.

After the Queen flew from the stage, there was a mysterious shaman-like man who entered the stage. Sheldon “Don Shepherd”, with a book of spells to bind the crowd to their roots. He began with a short story of shottas then spoke with a stern composure oh feeling high. “You’ve got to try, fly” he exclaimed as he spoke from a past and came closer to the present. He presented an assertive presence bearing presents; gifts of wisdom through words. “In the Morning Ya”, the title of his book became clearer as many things dawned upon me. Talent, pure talent he posses. He closed his session calling to the stage his “permanent practising percussionist”, Chris Blacks to “keep yuh rocking”.

Now, this chanter was introduced with having “a raspy voice like no other”. Dre Island took the stage with great vibrations and a reminder to “respect the life that you live”. “Don’t you ever get weary” these words are sure to keep you pushing through tough situation. Dre’s performance was a vibrant one as he spoke words of truth and love. The next performer was the catalyst of the landing that night.

Feluke and the Pheinix, a performance I have never witnessed and indeed one that has left a permanent footprint in my mind. “Troddin’ down this road” with “Jah Jah Soldiers”, Feluke was quite expressive and exuberant. “It’s a shame” I never saw their performance until that night. Stage command, vocals, everything was on point and it was clear they came with a mission and no concept of failure. Trips to paradise and commitment, are of the many topics sung. Captivating solos from piano to guitar, and live dub reggae are of the many things that elated me that night.  There was a quite unusual yet worthwhile tribute to Bob Marley with “Redemption Song” at the inception of another piece. The night was closed in a rather respectful manner surely reminding the crowd to “keep on searching for life”.

Words: Christopher “Lee Th’Ink-King” Murray

Photos: Visual Ninja, Jik-Reuben Pringle

May 2016

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