Photos & Feature by Empress K for Reggae Reflection
Rebel Salute still going strong in its 19th Year
The 19th annual Pepsi Rebel Salute took place this year on January 14, 2012 at the Port Kaiser Sports Complex in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica. While this year is a special year for Jamaica as it celebrates it's 50th year of Independence from Britian, it is also a special year for Tony Rebel as he celebrated his 50th Birthday on January 15th. For those not familiar with Rebel Salute, it is one of the largest Roots Reggae music festivals in Jamaica held every year in the middle of January attracting Jamaican residents as well as many reggae supporters and international press traveling from abroad. With average reports of over 10,000 in attendance, Rebel Salute features the best upcoming artists, veteran performers and current top artists. With 40 artists advertised for the show, there is something for everyone which starts in the early evening and continues until dawn of the next day. This year was no exception. And keeping current with new trends, Rebel Salute also offered a live stream option this year for a reasonable $9.99 fee for those that could not travel to Jamaica to attend the event. For more info --> www.rebelsaluteproductions.com
The veteran portion of the show this year showcased the talents of Eric Donaldson, Max Romeo, Eddie Fitzroy, Leroy Gibbons, Johnny Osborne, Errol Dunkley, Admiral Bailey, Johnny Clarke, and General Trees all backed by a band. At midnight, Emcee Jenny Jenny one of the several female hosts of the night brought out Tony Rebel to celebrate his birthday. Special guest Donovan Germain joined Tony on stage and acknowledged all of Tony Rebel's accomplishments including the successful staging of Rebel Salute. Twelve of Tony Rebel's children also joined him on stage to wish him a Happy Birthday and cut the cake as 50 balloons were released from the grounds in his honor. A jubilant Tony Rebel then entertained the audience with many of his classic hits including I'm a Rebel, If Jah is standing by my side, and Fresh Vegetable.
Veteran Performers Shine at Rebel Salute
Queen Ifrica expecting her third child did not disappoint the audience when she declared that her pregnancy would not stop her from performing at Rebel Salute and continued to perform many of her favorite hits for the audience including Lioness on the Rise, Daddy Don't Touch, and Keep it to Yourself.
Upcoming bands were a prominent part of this year's program. The band Raging Fyah complete with an introductory special effect video showcased their talent and showmanship with some members of the band dressed in fireman gear and starting off their set appropriately with the song Hot Hot Hot. C-Sharp another crowd favorite played a number of songs from their new album Invitation as well as popular songs from their previous work.
Maxi Priest in Jamaica for performances at Shaggy's Bustamante Children Hospital Benefit and the Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival brought back nice memories with his classic hits such as Close to You, Little Longer, Wild World, and Believe in Love among others.
Maxi Priest delivers his classic hits
Stephen Marley and Jr Gong a crowd favorite
At close to 4:00am, the next band change was in progress to set up for Stephen Marley while the DJs played some classic Bob Marley tunes. Emcee Miss Kitty appropriately attired in a leopard print outfit hyped up the crowd to introduce Stephen Marley to the stage. Once the band began playing the intro to Traffic Jam, Stephen Marley set the tone for the next segment of Rebel Salute. Transitioning into Iron Zion, he then performed several songs from his latest Grammy nominated album, Revelation Part 1: The Root of Life including No Cigarette Smoking featuring a wonderful solo by supporting vocalist Erica Newell, Made in Africa, and Tight Ship. Joe Mersa and Black Am I from the Ghetto Youths Crew were also on hand to perform a couple of their own songs. The energy in the crowd raised to new heights, when Stephen introduced his younger brother, Jr Gong during their popular song collaboration on Traffic Jam. They also played homage to Buju Banton on Jah Army during one of the most well received sets of the evening.
As dawn approaches, Duane Stephenson and Tarrus Riley take the stage
Dean Fraser and the Black Soil band backed the next couple of artists to take the stage. Duane Stephenson received a warm welcome from the audience as he performed many of his popular songs such as Ghetto Pain, Cottage in Negril, and August Town. Next up was Tarrus Riley with the twilight of the dawn sky providing a great back drop. Tarrus performed at ease engaging the audience as he performed Beware, She's Royal, Shaka Zulu Pickney as well as other new and old favorites. Tarrus also played tribute to Buju Banton with a rendition of Untold Stories further enhanced by Dean Fraser on saxophone. Ending his set with the upbeat Good Girl Gone Bad, it was time to set up for the next band change for Luciano. Luciano continued to entertain the crowd during his set and as expected incorporated a few backflips into his performance. Next up was Romain Virgo also receiving a very enthusiastic response from the audience.
Rebel Salute 2012 winds up another successful year
Yami Bolo and Mikey Spice each had brief sets before it was time for the Fire Man himself. Saved for the last performance of the event, Capleton closed out the show bursting onto the stage with his own high-energy set and leaving his fans that had been waiting all night for his performance satisfied. Rebel Salute 2012 provided high quality entertainment of over 12 hours of some of the best reggae acts in the business. It is definitely an event that every Reggae supporter must experience first hand. I'm looking forward to see what's in store for the 20th anniversary of Rebel Salute.
A Reflection in Time
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