In 2008 Jamaica’s then Governor General, Sir Kenneth Hall officially declared February Reggae Month. Since 2010 the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) has been coordinating activities to celebrate our unique genre of music throughout the month.
This year JaRIA’s signature event ‘Reggae Nights’ is being held at the Emancipation Park in the capital Kingston. The weekly Wednesday events will dramatically chronicle the movement of reggae through a series of five live concerts featuring drumming, folk, mento, jazz, classical, dancehall and alternative. The first in the series of Wednesday Reggae Nights featured Classical, Jazz, Mento and Ska and showcased acts such as the Edna Manley College Orchestra, Pimento Players, Jamaica Symphony Orchestra, Gilzene and the Blue Light Mento Band, Jamarokaz, Maurice Gordon Quartet, Yaad Beat, Samuele Vivian, NRI Workshop and The Jolly Boys.
This past Wednesday (as with the one before) the venue was packed with music lovers who had come out to enjoy the rocking sounds in the park. The evening promised a showcase of Reggae Bands dubbed “Legends and New Sensations” and definitely delivered. The line-up included performances from Fab Five, Errol Lee and the Bare Essentials, Dubtonic Kru, Uprising Roots, Raging Fyah and C-Sharp. The band Dubtonic Kru and Raging Fyah in particularly had the crowd in a frenzy, singing along and thoroughly enjoying a night of superb reggae music. The expectations are high for next week’s entertainment. Reggae Wednesdays are free to the public and starts at 6:30 pm each week throughout February.