While many of the top acts at the recently concluded Blue Mountain Music Festival provided pleasing performances on a chilly Saturday night, the likes of Chronixx, Kabaka Pyramid, Raging Fyah, Third World and Tanya Stephens were a cut above the rest.
Chronixx was the penultimate act to perform at the event which started shortly after 8 p.m., entering the stage to roars of approval some time after 2 a.m.
Dressed in one of his usual Adidas-branded jackets, he immediately went into chanting down Babylon.
He all but had the crowd eating from his hands as the excitement became palpable, with songs like Grow Your Natty, Rain Music, Odd Ras, Here Comes Trouble and They Don't Know.
In tune with nature
In fact, even nature appeared to be enjoying his set as the trees above the stage, assisted by the wind, waved almost in unison with the dancing bodies of the patrons and the soothing bass lines of reggae music and the thumping drums of dancehall.
Chronixx also paid homage to Professor Nuts by performing his song Tan So Back, which put surprised patrons in a frenzy.
The Raging Fyah reggae band also gave a good account of themselves. So authentic was their sound, that they held the attention of the audience even when they stopped singing to extract melodious sounds from their instruments.
The young lead singer, holding his guitar and jumping in Marley-like fashion, gave clear signals that reggae music is on its way to recovery in Jamaica.
That sentiment was shared by Chronixx, who, during his set, expressed how proud he was to see Jamaicans climb a mountain to hear reggae.
"A few years ago, reggae music couldn't do this in Jamaica. We are the true representations of reggae music," Chronixx said.
Raging Fyah received strong responses for Judgement Day and Nah Look Back, and there were others to which the crowd took a liking.
Kabaka Pyramid seemed determined to prove his worth on this night, and based on the strong performance and the response he received from the audience, it appeared that his mission was accomplished.
In a 30-minute set, Kabaka Pyramid took patrons on a lyrical journey, showing his ability to use witty word play and hip hop rhyming schemes to get positive messages across.
Songs such as Choppinz, Warrior and Never Gonna Be A Slave received deserving encores.
Tanya Stephens was like a feminist teacher during her set, though the men in the audience enjoyed her preachings just as much.
Songs like Handle Di Ride, Boom Wuk and It's A Pity received strong responses and were delivered to perfection, reminiscent of the actual recording.
Iconic reggae band Third World brought the curtains down on the festival with a strong set crammed with classic hits.
Now led by veteran reggae singer A.J. Brown, the band stamped its authority at the festival and rightfully erased doubt from the minds of patrons who initially stared with uncertainty since the band had lost its lead vocalist, reggae icon Bunny Rugs.
A.J. Brown proved a worthy addition, reeling out some of the band's timeless material, Forbidden Love, Ride On Jah Children, and Fret Not Thyself among the bunch.
Among the other acts were Kenny Smith, Jah9, poet Abbebe Payne and Machu Ezra.
There was food on sale at reasonable prices, the only thing missing was a big enough parking space for the hundreds of patrons who decided to drive their personal vehicles to the festival, despite being offered a shuttle service.
Reggae is a complex Afro-Jamaican twentieth-century musical phenomenon that has profoundly influenced global popular musical culture. As a genre of modern black cultural production, reggae music dates from the 1970s, when it emerged from the musical confluence of ska and rock steady, two forms born in early postcolonial Jamaica. As a cultural practice in Jamaican postcolonial society, reggae was closely tied to subaltern representations of slavery, colonialism, history, and Africa. As a consequence in many instances reggae became a counter-hegemonic practice critiquing the formal Jamaican Creole nationalist project of political independence.
Ska was a 1960s musical synthesis that ruptured the Jamaican musical form known as mento, which emerged from the encounter between European colonialism, racial plantation slavery, and the slave African population. Mento adapted and morphed the harmonic structures, instrumentation, and melodies of European musical styles into indigenous sounds.