#6. Cocoa Tea
Does it take a living legend like Cocoa Tea to make you go R. Kelly who? For the massive crowd at Reggae Sumfest the answer was resoundingly affirmative on Friday night. With Mr. Tea firing off a canon of hits and spewing wisdom, the absent R&B headliner was the last thing on anyone’s mind. B+
#7. Wayne Wonder
Did you know that Wayne Wonder graced the stage at the first-ever Reggae Sumfest 19 years ago? It takes a real pro to make his nearly old-school career hits sound so fresh and groovy nearly two decades later. Also highlighting his set: a heartfelt duet with R&B’s Mya and intermittent salutes to the Gargamel. B
Mr. Brooks has always held it down as one of the consistently dynamic stage performers of his generation. Even if only to see him deliver live, crowd-pleasing versions of “Pepper,” “Star Bwoy” and “Delilah” the trip to Dancehall Night would still have been worth it. B
#9. Jah Cure
Jah Cure will always be a favourite for many reasons, but chiefly for the incredible yearning and passion with which he imbues his songs. You don’t just hear him; you feel him. One never tires of his defining hits “Reflection,” “Longing For,” the widely loved “Call on Me” and the play-it-to-death gem “Unconditional Love.” B
#10. Chris Martin
Simply put, Chris knows what his core audience craves to hear from him, and he consistently ensures that he gives the people what they want. That done, you can’t go wrong. Plus, he’s gradually building quite an impressive repertoire of tunefully wonderful and original hits. B
Honourable Mention: Tifa, Protoje, Cherine, Konshens, Ashley Martin and Gyptian.
The biggest puzzle of the festival: Why was the girl who goes by the name of Trudiva placed in the middle of Saturday night's concert, instead of closer to the beginning of the show? She came out with her scratched Beyonce cd and almost ruined the whole vibe. Not cool. Luckily the dance-off between the Japanese and the Swedish girls sort of rescued the flow and energy of the show.
>> Part I: Best of Sumfest 2011