Monday, 10 February 2014

FANTASTIC FIVE: What we're buzzing about for Reggae Month 2014

February usually presents ample opportunities to celebrate Bob Marley's life and legacy, from lively tribute concerts on his birthday to the annual UWI Mona-hosted lecture (being presented this year by none other than ageless beauty Cindy Breakspeare). This year, the Bank of Jamaica is adding something new and truly exciting to the mix, with the release of special commemorative gold and silver coins, perfect for personal collections. On offer are 22 carat-gold pieces and silver with gold plating. 

Undoubtedly Jamaica's greatest living lady of song, Marcia Griffiths has been doing her royal thing in roots-rockin' reggae for the past half-a-century, and she's showing no signs of slowing down. And why should she when she's got the energy and vitality of a schoolgirl? The Jamaica Jazz & Blues crowd recently got a taste of exactly what I'm talking about when she lit up the stage on opening night, even rocking out with good girlfriends Nadine Sutherland and Judy Mowatt

It's always heartening when Jamaican musicians take the time out to honour their colleagues, and what better time to do so than during Reggae Month? Come Saturday, Feb. 15, New Kingston's Courtleigh Auditorium will play host to this year's Jamaica Reggae Industry Awards, where some of reggae's living legends and most outstanding contemporary artists will be recognized.

There's hardly a more harmonious combination than the fusion of art and nature, and the inaugural Blue Mountain fest (Feb. 22-23), in addition to proving patrons with a top-notch roster of headline acts, promises all that and more. Set to bring the noise inside the Hollywell Recreational Park are the likes of Tanya Stephens, Chronixx, Raging Fyah (above) and dancehall heavy-hitters T.O.K, who are the brains spearheading this terrific new cultural initiative that seems poised to become a calendar event. 

With tuneful hits like "Love's Contagious" and "She's Royal", to name only a couple of his best tracks, Tarrus Riley gave voice to tongue-tied Lotharios everywhere while showing a knack for sweet-talking his female fans. This month, the golden voice of contemporary reggae is back to woo them anew with his latest album that takes on matters of the heart through songs that will not only resonate but help set the mood.

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