UCLA Celebrates a Weekend of Peace, Love, & Music

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By: Michelle Thomas
Photography By: Marie Mendoza


UCLA celebrated their 22nd Annual Jazz Reggae Festival over the Memorial Day weekend. This year’s theme was "A weekend of peace, love, and music". Two music filled days with some of the great Jazz, Hip Hop, & Reggae Artistes.


Jam Day hosted Dr. Lonnie Smith who's smooth and soulful sounds generated a great response from the crowd. John Densmore and The Tribal Jazz Band awakened the lively spirits in each of our souls. They played a Salsa flavored "Doors" tune that the audience loved. From the percussion, to Art Ellis' flute & sax playing; each beat and note was full of passion and intensity. The African drum beats added to the thrilling performance. We asked Densmore how he enjoyed the crowd and he said, "I loved it. We got everybody up and dancing."


The dynamic of the crowd changed after an energizing performance by Immortal Technique. The UCLA crowd was drawn to him like a magnet, bouncing to each track. DJ GI Joe turned it out on the 1's & 2's cutting up a track with his wicked style and grace. Technique's politically conscious lyrics made the fans wild as he jumped off the stage into the crowd.


Gaopele, known as the bay area queen, celebrated her daughter's first birthday along with the UCLA festivities. She performed hits like, "Yeah Yeah Yeah", "Only One", a remix titled "Find A Way", and "Closer". She spoke to the crowd about voting and the possibility of change with the upcoming presidential election, then went into an acapella of "A Change Is Gonna Come". She also did a tribute to the bay with a Souls of Mischief's tune "Catch 22".


The Roots gave a mind blowing performance that had the crowd mesmerized. They played classics like Biz Markie's "Just A Friend" and Salt N Pepa's "Push It". A fan spoke about how The Roots are able to maintain their integrity and musicality while also being sharp and dead center within today's hip hop culture.


The festivities continued for Reggae's best. Pangea Collective whose rhythmic vibes brought the audience on their feet and followed along to a dance they called "Open and Close". Fresh up and coming talent, Selena Serrano gave a great performance which was well received. We spoke to her after her set and Serrano said, "I'm excited and happy to be here. It's a huge opportunity for me. I have a new song called Waiting featuring Pit Bull, available on ITunes, and request it on your local radio station."


After returning from Japan, Alaine gave an amazing performance. She performed hits "Make Me Weak", "Sincerely", "Sacrifice", and "No Ordinary Love" which had Ms. Cherine Anderson cheering and dancing along center stage. We asked Alaine where her inspiration came from for her single "No Ordinary Love" and she said, "That song was written as a result of lots of prayer. I got the rhythm from Don Carleon and I said Lord inspire me and that's what came, No Ordinary Love, straight inspiration."


Mr. Vegas ripped the stage with a blazing performance. The UCLA crowd was on their feet, from the front to the back of the field. Fans danced, recited lyrics, and went ballistic as Vegas did renditions of "Buffalo Soldier" and "No Woman No Cry". We asked Mr. Vegas what's coming up for him and he said, "I have some videos coming up with 'Mus Come A Road', 'Daggering', and 'Hot Gal Nuh Fight Ova Man', lots of tracks right now, so look out for Mr. Vegas in 2008."


Anticipation built for Stephen Marley to take the stage. Everyone was glued to his each & every move as he performed hits like "Mind Control", "Chase Dem", "Traffic Jam", and "Let Her Dance". Marley also did crowd favorites such as, "Redemption Song", "No Woman No Cry", and "Three Little Birds". Stephen caused shock waves as sibling Ziggy Marley joined him on stage with "Could You Be Loved".


The audience rocked to 'The King of Fire', Capleton. His energy driven performance had fans, dancing, singing, and waving their flags. Capleton addressed the media after his performance and stated, "Music is life and music is love. Keep the music pumping and keep the fire burning. Fire is the purification. Give thanks to the people who understand the meaning of fire and not taking it in a literal term, and know that it's a metaphor. When I say burn I’m talking about purification, clear conscious, firm meditation, love, unity, harmonizing, and centralizing."


For more information on the UCLA's Jazz Reggae festival visit www.jazzreggaefest.com.