The Hope Gardens Shell Bandstand served as the perfect backdrop to showcase some of Reggae’s young royals to an eager audience of Locals and Tourists all with one thing in common…a love for the Culture. I personally gave up on Music in Jamaica until I came across these new school of Reggae Royals who through their socially conscious offerings, give honour to the many men and women who preceded them in the genre…
Words By ShannyDeLioness
Photos By Samantha Singh
The gates opened at 7:30 Pm and the DJ for the night Yaadcore kept the early patrons entertained on the turntables, and DJ Jimmy Q of NewsTalk 93 FM handled hosting duties. By 9 Pm, the venue was almost full and the show kicked off with the opening act Sevana. Featuring cuts off her Sevana EP and even debuting a new song and a remix to Protoje’s “Love Gone Cold” (she was featured on the original), she had the audience mesmerized as she belted out tune after tune. I still refused to believe she did all that on a sore throat (Editor’s Note: She’s my Hero!!). By the time ZJ Sparks gave Protoje & The Indiggnation the greatest introduction ever, the venue was packed with patrons who were eager to sing and dance along with them.
From the “7 Year Itch” to the “8 Year Affair” to “Ancient Future”, Protoje blessed the audience with hits after hits! I was in awe of his lyrical potency! By the time he brought on Singer Mortimer to perform their killer collaboration, “Protection” off “Ancient Future”, he had the audience swaying and swinging to every note and belting out the songs as if they had written it themselves. Mid set Protoje took some time to dedicate to the ladies and with the help of his Indiggnation band members he performed smooth melodies like “Roll”, ” Rasta Love” (which featured member Zuggu in place of Ky-mani Marley), “No Lipstick”, and “Come my Way” (which featured a killer Violin solo and a showcase of vocals by member Mosiah). (Editor: Special shout out to Lamont Savory who fired off an awesome Electric Guitar solo!) He ended this segment with “Glad You’re Home” and “Flight Plan” from the “Royalty Free Side B” project. The latter featured rising star Lila Ike who Protoje gave the stage to showcase her work.
Protoje’s next segment kicked off with another cut from “Royalty Free”, “Can’t Feel No Way”. With a Rock styled intro, Recording Artist Runkus entered the stage like a mad man to join Protoje on the song. Soon after it was his turn to perform a couple of his tracks (burn everytinG!). This performance ushered in a mind blowing segment featuring some of the hottest Reggae Royals you can imagine, Jesse Royal (Who also joined Protoje and Sevana for “Sudden Flight”), Kabaka Pyramid, Royal Blu, Leno Banton, No-maddz, Blvk H3ro, Jeeby, Wayne J (This little man’s star shone the brightest in that section lol), Koro Fyah (Delivered so many bars that they had to take his mic lol), 5 Star, Ras-I, and Dre Island. By the time they were through, Police gave the wrap up signal and there was only one tune fitting to send the audience home, “Blood Money”!
“For The Culture” was by far more than worth the $2000 and $2500 admissions. I would definitely love for this to be a more frequent undertaking (Editor: And all Island!). It had the vibe of a Festival but the intimacy of a Showcase. There were a lot of persons in the venue but the Artists were able to creatively connect with everyone on an Intimate level. “For The Culture” was a win all around and we commend Protoje and his team for a wonderful event. Reggae Music is definitely in very safe and capable hands!
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