On Sunday, 13th September Mzansi witnessed the first annual Reggae Spring Jam organised by Empress Reign and Miller Communications, with a special appearance by international Reggae Star, Sizzla Kalonji and a line up of South Africa’s finest reggae and dancehall artists. Sizzla, who is on a business trip working with various organs to promote his Youth Foundation graciously agreed to give a performance to Mzansi massive during his work stay in South Africa. A keen observer, would have noticed the entry stamp given to them was written: Sizzla Youth Foundation. We commend Sizzla, as he is the man of his word and he relentlessly works in uplifting the youths through his foundation. At the time of going to print, he was already in the Kingdom of Lesotho, continuing with the works. We commend him even more for the fine performance he put for the massive. With such little time given, he managed to enthrall the crowd with classics from his repertoire, giving a short and memorable performance with all time favourite hits like, Rise to the Occasion, Give me a try, Empress Divine,Woman I need you, and many more.
Sizzla was a guest, making an appearance on the day, the line up was local acts who each gave their best performances to a very receptive crowd.
The first to hit the stage, was Rutsman Spice, a talented South Africa based Zimbabwean artist. This was the second time that he opened for Sizzla, the last time being in Zimbabwe when Sizzla performed there. He is surely on the rise with his conscious new roots reggae. He gave an intense performance, as he played to an attentive crowd which was not familiar with his music but were captivated by the music, with others starting to sing along. His music complemented the vibes very well. He is currently working on his debut album which will include the hits that he performed such as Zion we Go, Will you Back, Protect My Soul and also new material that he is working on. He is definitely one to look out for.
The award winning Nathi Bantu, previously known as Nathi B also gave a fine performance as he introduced the new sounds of Nathi Bantu, which are a hybrid of jazz, dub, reggae and Afro. A seasoned performer who interacts effortlessly with the audience and sings all his songs as if he is singing them for the first time, with so much gusto and energy. River Congo has got to be the best offering from his latest album, The Journey.It will give you goose bumps. It got the crowd mesmerised and singing along.
Skeleton Blazer mush up the place with his fierce performance. It was a good day for Skeleton, sharing a stage with his icon, Sizzla was just an added bonus. The youth, who is working closely with Black Dillinger [who was on the line up, but did not perform, due to time constraints] is surely on the rise, once again. His Ganja tune Smoke it Everyday is steadily garnering a Mzansi Ganja Anthem status, he delivered such a passionate rendition of the song on Sunday. Get it here, free download.
Jahnett Tafari brought on stage his collaborator and partner in Music, Blaq Supreme to give a taste of what Rasta Bwoy Sounds has to offer, with Selector Don Royal behind the decks. Its a pity that Blaq Supreme did not sing African Herbs Man, one of his finest tune, but opted to do a Michael Jackson cover of Heal the world, it was just to flex and show us his vocal range, while Jahnett Tafari serenaded the ladies with did his laid back tunes as he sang his heart out.
The audience got to be introduced to another youth from Naija, Mikky Jaggaz. He got off on a very shaky and bad start, singing Busy Signal’s Dreams of better Days which he did not do any justice to. It was clear that the nerves and stage fright got the better of him, fortunately for him, the crowd was in a good mood and gave him a chance, then he really got comfortable in his skin when he started performing his original compositions. His selection of beats/riddims he rode on was very impressive and matured. His hip hop influenced dancehall [Mavado style] tune was really a banger, hope he releases it as a single. Another youth to look out for in the future.
In all, it was a good show, although it ended abruptly, the Rastas came out in full force and the red gold and green banner was seen once again flying high. The beautiful colourful people at the poolside had a good time with some good vybz. Las Bon Shatta MC’ed the event in his pimping outfit and was as always on point. Mad Koolia was behind the decks, playing for Sizzla and some other artists. DJ Teedo Love Infinity also kept the crowd and mood and vibes flowing in between performances. There was also another performance from an elder with back up singers in colourful Red Gold and Green outfits, channeling some Lucky Dube vybz.
A shout out goes to the organisers of the event, word of caution though, these type of events should happen at venues that can accommodate a crowd, [Rastas trod from all over to come and enjoys shows like these, and they come in numbers], venues that allow the festivities to continue til early morning [we don’t like to be sent home like we got curfews] and most importantly, we would like to see artists performing with a live band. No to playbacks. Enough already. There are enough talented players of instruments, South Africa does not lack in that department.
Mention must also be made of the support shown to our artists and organisers. A lot of people came on time, some came from far, to lend their support and to enjoy some good music and nice vybs. The artists gave their best performances even Sizzla made mention of it during his performance. We need more live shows, more platforms to showcase the talent that we have.