By: Dave Lindo
The inaugural staging of Grooving held recently at Waves Beach in Negril, Westmoreland was truly a wonderful event that saw some classic performances from some of the 'greats' in reggae music.
On that night the master - Beres Hammond, sparkled like fine wine, treating his fans to a memorable performance. Armed with his lengthy catalogue of hit songs and backed by his dynamic band Harmony House, Beres played his sweet music like a 'pied piper' – while the audience moved 'uncontrollably' to its beat.
Beres kicked off on a high note from the word go with the song "What One Can Do" which immediately set the place on fire. As if in a trance, Beres skipped and pranced on stage as he went into "What Can You Do To Stop A Man From Trying." The crowd was set in a frenzy as Beres lead them on with the song "Step A Side" then onto "What One Dance Can Do." Going full speed ahead with "She Loves Me Now," Beres was forced to 'wheel and come again'.
Acknowledging the presence of the late Garnett Silk's manager, Bridgett Anderson, Beres paid tribute to the 'ark angel' by singing one of his songs, "Mamma Africa;" before he kept on 'groovin' with songs like "Tempted to Touch" and "Double Trouble."
At one stage he was joined by his good friend, another icon in the
Business, Marcia Griffiths for their collaboration "Never Have To Worry." His 55 minute performance proved that Beres is a truly a blessing to reggae music and the lovers of it.
Celebrating 45 years in the music business, one of reggae's leading
ladies, Marcia Griffiths, was just awesome as she bowled over her audience with a gem of a performance. Marcia had the crowd rocking as she took them to a state of musical ecstasy. Bringing her audience down memory lane and dishing out undiluted reggae, she delivered classics such as "Dreamland" and the the soul stirring "I Shall Sing."
And sing she did, as she went into the song penned by the great singer/ song writer Bob Andy, "Fire Burning." Joined by her son she delighted the audience as they sang "All My Life," which they had to pull up and start again.
Showing immense versatility and the depth of her music Marcia took the crowd down Studio One lane. After doing a version of Dawn Penn's "No No No," she went into one of her all time greats, "When You’re In Love," which brought the house down.
She stepped off stage but the people would not have it and demanded
more. She obliged coming back just as strong with the international hit song, "Electric Slide" and another classic "Stepping Out Of Babylon."
Another veteran in the business, Jimmy Riley father of the outstanding singer, Tarrus Riley came and 'stamped his class' at the event.
With the Gumption band playing a mean set, Riley had his fans eating out of the palm of his hands as he treated them to "Love and Devotion," an all time crowd favourite. He then told them to "Give Me Your Love," and then after sang about "My Woman's Love." Every one was singing along as he did "Everybody Needs Somebody" and after paying tribute to the black mothers with "Black Mother Pray" he closed his set as strongly as he started with the songs "Gonna Get Rougher" and "Inside My Heart."
Iley Dread gave a strong performance doing songs such as "Praise Him" and "Rise Up Mothers." He got a good response when he combined with one of his female backup singers for the Dennis Brown original, "If I Had The World."
Jeffrey Star showed true class and quality performing at the event. Blessed with a lovely voice, the singer stood tall and delivered a good performance which although not familiar to his audience, was well accepted by them. It was evident that this man is a force to be reckoned with in reggae music.
Villa Dutch and Seekez who kicked off the show represented well and showed great potential. Michaelous formerly Nigga Mikey, did an entertaining set especially when he brought on the youngster Dadda who showed maturity beyond his years.
The curtains came own on this classic event that was staged by radio disc jockey GT Taylor from Irie FM, with another icon gracing the stage. This time it was Freddy Mcgregor, the man from the Big Ship camp, who ended the show on a high.
He treated patrons to classics such as "Prophecy," "Push Come to Shove" and "I Will Stay With You." The hits kept coming he kept the high vibes going with "Can't Stop Me From Loving You."
Drawing for songs from the Studio One era such as "Let Him Try," Freddy had young and old skanking away. As the crowd asked for more he appeased, hitting them with other hit songs such as "Winner." Freddy also paid tribute to his close friend, the late Dennis Brown by singing his songs "Revolution" and "Love and Hate."
The North Coast awaits the next rendition of 'legends on fire.'