Wednesday, 25 May 2016

SHOUTS OF PRAISE: Big names and rising stars bring a joyful noise to grand Labour Day gospel concert

HAPPY FEET: Grange and Lubert Levy dancing up a storm front-of-stage.

MINISTER ‘Babsy’ Grange grooved all night. Levy’s Heritage rocked the crowd, Voicemail-style, with their Christian dance moves, and Kevin Downswell brought the night to a triumphant close with a selection of his big hits and crowd-pleasing stagecraft.

Those are just a few of the highlights at Monday’s grand Labour Day gospel concert inside the Emancipation Park that drew a mammoth crowd, a wide cross-section of Jamaicans who jumped and waved and sang to their hearts’ content before returning to work the next day.

The Nadine Blair-led Perpetual Praise ensemble got the show on the road, opening the celebration with the well-known praise-and-worship anthems “I Know Who I Am”, “No Foreign God”, “Reign Jesus Reign” and a bit of Jermaine Edwards’ “Hallelujah to Our King.” Their brief stint made way for Laud Dance Ministry, who gave a powerful performance featuring mauve-clad dancers moving to the captivating strains of Donnie McClurkin’s “I Trust in God.”

Energetic emcee Markland ‘Action’ Edwards (whose GoSplash returns August 1, with Dietrick Haddon), then called on Diamara Neil-Walker, 2015’s National Gospel Song Competition winner, who brought the crowd to its feet with a majestic rendition of “Holy Is Your Name”. Soulful, sublime gospel singing at its absolute best.

Concertgoers who weren’t familiar with the ‘Victory Clap’, ‘Church Rock’, ‘Gospel Slide’ and ‘Altar Call’ got a quick crash course in gospel dance moves from the vibrant young ministers of the award-winning Levy’s Heritage, a trio of siblings who are the hottest rising stars in Jamaican gospel right now.

They have a bright future ahead. They have even begun to outshine their dad Lubert Levy, a veteran praise warrior who commanded attention with tunes like “Roll Jordan Roll”, “Botheration” and “By Force”. He and Minister Grange danced up a storm front-of-stage, with the crowd loving every minute of it. Taking the stage after a short-and-spicy performance from Sister Pat, Kukudoo also gave the Culture minister a twirl during his set, full of revivalist power.

He then made way for Kevin Downswell to take over. Stylishly dressed in eye-popping shades of yellow and red, Downswell wasted no time reminding us why he’s gospel’s reigning man of the moment, launching into songs like “He Saved Me (That’s Enough)”, “It’s Already Done” and “Goodbye World”. Sprightly sing-along versions of “One Day” and “Stronger” were ideal selections to bring the curtains down on a wonderful night to remember.

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