Reggae Rising Holds True

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By: Michelle Lani Thomas

Photography by: Marie Mendoza

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People Productions held its 2nd Annual Reggae Rising Festival at Dimmick's Ranch in Piercy, California on August 1st, 2nd & 3rd. The three day event brought out veteran artists, along with today's hot up and coming acts. The line up featured headliners like Beres Hammond, Sly & Robbie, Junior Reid, Sizzla and Don Carlos.

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Baby Cham rocked the stage with a magnetic performance, as he told the reggae rising audience, "My party go on all night." Crowd favorites such as "Ready Ready", "Stand By Me", "This Is Why I'm Hot" and hit single "Ghetto Story" kept fans irie as they danced and bounced to his every beat. He kicked his performance into high gear with a joint performance with Mr. Easy and dropped 'Lil Wayne's "A Milli" beat with his own flava. We caught up with Cham and asked about his set. Cham said, "It's just music. Music has no boundaries. To me, a perfect party is not a party with one type of music."

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Tanya Stephens was well received. Fans cheered as she sang "It's a Pity" and a rendition of "Night Nurse". We talked to Stephens about her upcoming album. In comparison to Gangsta Blues and Revolution she said, "Dancehall and reggae could use a few more topics of discussion, you know we tend to stick to the beaten paths and I believe there is too much ground to explore to stick to the beaten paths, so I'm really into cutting down bushes and walking into the forest."

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Beres Hammond, known in particular for his romantic lover's rock, delivered a flawless performance. His smooth and soulful sounds and passionate vocals filled the night air with good vibes. The sea of people danced and swayed to hits such as "Putting Up Resistance", "I Feel Good" and "Rockaway".

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UB40
had the crowd singing along to classics like "Kingston Town", "The Way You Do The Things You Do", "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You" and "Red Red Wine".

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Sly & Robbie's
phenomenal performance tipped off Saturday's festivities while backing Reggae Angel, Junior Reid, and special guests Black Uhuru. Reggae Angel had the crowd dancing and vibin'. Junior Reid delivered a vibrant performance with "Ethiopian Anthem", "Rasta Government", "Never Let You Go", new single, "Don't Play Me Dirty", "This Is Why I'm Hot" and "No One" remix featuring Alicia Keys. A historical and spectacular moment spread amongst the fans as The Legendary Black Uhuru joined Sly & Robbie.

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Don Carlos, Junior Reid, and Garth Dennis shined as bright as the stars in the night sky, as they united on one stage for the first time in years. Original tunes such as "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner", "General Penitentiary" and "Shine Eye Girl" left fans in a frenzy. Turbulence delivered a wicked performance that included an R & B flava along with Roots & Culture. Sizzla hyped the crowd in his usual fashion and gave a thrilling performance.

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Collie Buddz
, dressed in fatigues & The New Kingston Band blazed up the stage for the 2nd year in a row. Kingston's new single "Empress Love" won over the ladies and Buddz fired up the masses with crowd favourites "Mamacita", "Rising It", "Tomorrow's Another Day" and "Gimmie Love". Air horns sounded as Buddz closed out with "Come Around" and "Blind To You".

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Julian Marley
and The Uprising Band moved the reggae rising audience as he opened with "Natural Mystic". A fan described Ju Ju's performance as a rejuvenation of an identical Sunsplash, while the crowd enjoyed classic Bob Marley favourites like "Stir It Up", "Get Up Stand Up" and "Exodus". Julian was asked if it feels differently to perform solo than with the family. Marley said, "It doesn't have a different effect - not really, because the only thing that is different than when we're together is when we're interchanging on stage. So when it's my time, you get me like how you see me tonight, then (it's) the next man turn and you kick back and relax. Nothing different...the only difference is you get more Gong Marley on a night like that."

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Gentleman
gave a stellar performance with hits like "Dem Gone", "Round The World", "Different Places" and "Serenity". Don Carlos put a smile on every one's face as he delivered a veteran's caliber performance. He imparted to fans, "I love you but Jah loves you more." Carlos granted the crowd's request with "Laser Beam" and thrilled the audience with more original music and a joint performance with his Black Uhuru band mates, Junior Reid & Garth Dennis. Don Carlos delighted fans with an encore performance and gave a special tribute to a late dear friend, Fazal Prendergast.

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Music is a powerful force that touches and heals one's soul. Folks travel from near and far to experience the irie vibes this event brings. Reggae Rising 2008 holds true.
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