The major Jamaican concert season is upon us again, and for those that think we’re talking about Reggae Sunsplash, think again. For the past ten years, since concerts like Sunsplash and Sumfest have seen a decline in interest and notable lineups, other stage shows have taken root, namely the late December dancehall extravaganza, Sting, and conscious reggae singjay Tony Rebel's January roots showcase, Rebel Salute.
While Sting is often mired in controversy that stems from its onstage DJ clashes (which have turned into personal beefs), rowdy crowds, and incidents of bottle-throwing, the fourteen-year running Rebel Salute is an embodiment of consciousness and culture, right down to its “no meat, no alcohol” policy.
This year’s Salute features a diverse and stellar lineup, including current chart-topper Queen Ifrica (pictured above), the original “Hot Stepper” Ini Kamoze (whose voice is the hook on Damien Marley’s “Welcome To Jamrock”), and legendary Jamaican pianist, Monty Alexander, known for his jazz tributes to Bob Marley. The full slate of performers for the reggae event, to be held January 12 at the Port Kaiser Sports Club in St Elizabeth, will be announced at an official launch on December 27.
Among the more anticipated artists is Jamaica’s most prominent female cultural singjay, Queen Ifrica, known as "Fyah Muma.” Ifrica creates music in the tradition of roots singers Judy Mowatt or DJ Sister Carol, and hasn’t shied away from difficult topics, as on her latest single, “Daddy Don't Touch Me There.”
If reggae fans needed any better incentive to make their travel destinations Jamaica during its expensive “high season,” Rebel Salute will surely suffice.