Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Wednesday | July 22, 2009
Home : Entertainment
Beach party sets good tone for Reggae Sumfest
Noel Thompson, Gleaner Writer

The 2008 'Digicel Rising Stars' winner, Cameal Davis, gave a well-received performance. - Photos by Noel Thompson


The beach is usually a place for relaxation and destressing, but on Sunday night it was the opposite as Reggae Sumfest officially kicked off on the sandy shores of Cornwall Beach in Montego Bay.

Scores of foreigners and a good mix of local patrons turned out in full support, downing hard liquor, dancing and prancing under the stars, as the Bare Essentials band and top artistes graced the stage, proving they were as good as the more renowned acts billed for the remaining nights.

Singers Nazzle Man, Richie Canary and trumpeter 'Peso', of the Bare Essentials band, took turns demonstrating their musical versatility, as they drifted down memory lane and back to the current, reeling off songs such as Half Pint's Political Friction, Morgan Heritage's Best Friend and Tarrus Riley's Beware.Yumeka Nishida of Fukuoka, Japan, was celebrating her 24th birthday Sunday and she was surprisingly brought onstage with Peso for a brief 'bump and grind'. Nishida came to Jamaica just for Sumfest.

At 9:23 p.m., the pace changed from reggae to calypso. Nazzle Man warned, 'We a go mash up in ya now.' Ugly So was the first selection. Then the maestro Errol Lee joined them for a brief stint, as a cross between soca and dancehall produced Bad Mind, followed by Vegas' I Am Blessed.


'Digicel Rising Stars' hopeful, Brown Sugar, opened part two, solidly holding her notes with Etana's I Am Not Afraid and Peter Morgan's Anything Fi Smile Bout.

The Rasta empress, Yolandie, from Ocho Rios, was lyrically conscious, but needed more time to gain her composure. Tameika, however, failed to move the crowd.

Digicel Rising Stars' 2008 first runner-up, Khalil, came with an intention to deliver and they did, by transforming Tarrus Riley's She's Royal to She's A Liar. The crowd was in stitches.

Waiting in the wings was Cameal Davis and when she was called onstage, Davis sounded as crisp as she did a year ago when she won Rising Stars. Love is Real, Harder They Come, Turn Your Lights Down Low, Spotlight and I Will Survive earned her a rapturous round of applause and an encore.

Janet Jackson's Dance With Somebody and We are the World climaxed her set.

Bare Essentials returned to close the second set with soca, reggae and rocksteady.

Leader of the Bare Essentials band, Errol Lee, seems impressed at Florida-based Miss Kay's ability to gyrate her hips, at the Reggae Sumfest Beach Party held at Cornwall Beach, Montego Bay, Sunday night.

Khalil delivered a humourous twist to Tarrus Riley's hit 'She's Royal'.

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