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Monterey Bay Reggae Fest 2000

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Movin' Down The World Beat Road

Photography and story by Diane Adam (2000

rastacome@hotmail.com

Monterey Reggae Festival a Hugh Success

"There is no other music on earth that unites so many people and does it so peacefully.   Do you know that there is not really one single security person in this whole place."   What other music can make that claim.  
-Roger Steffans from Beat Magazine  

If you love to move and you love to groove, the place to be was the 6th Annual Monterey Bay Reggae Festival in Monterey, California on September 2-3, 2000.   Winding down the summer festivals was a lineup so impressive that a 2nd day was added to the program to grant the Reggae massive with what they really wish for -- Righteous Roots Reggae Music!  Headlining the 2-day festival was Buju Banton, Don Carlos, Jimmy Cliff, Apple Gabriel, Mystic Revealers, Twinkle Brothers and Wailing Souls.  Master of Ceremonies at this year's show was Rocky Bailey and Roger Steffans.
Leading the way on Saturday, September 2, was the Bay Area's own Reggae Angeles (with the little angels too when lead singer Fenton Wardle invites his two young daughters Trinity and Angel on stage), Earl Zero and Zema.  Headlining on Saturday was a first-rate performance by Israel Vibration's former lead man Apple Gabriel.   A sentimental yet powerful journey was had by all with the pleasing tone of former Black Uhuru member, Don Carlos who performed the song "Holiday" and other songs from his latest CD release, Seven Days A Week on RAS Records.  Bassist Amlak Tafari and the Yellow Wall Dub Band kept the pace sweet for both Don Carlos and Apple Gabriel with the expert help of drummer Wadi Gad and Fazel Pendergast on rhythm guitar.
The Wailing Souls satisfied the soul singing their "oldies but goodies" with "She Pleases Me", "Lady You Don't Know" "Bandits" and a song especially requested before the show by Buju Banton, "Mr. Fire Coal Man".  The Wailing Souls moved into the present with a song from their upcoming CD release, Equality with the song "Don't Say" (you're leaving me now).  Lead singer of the Wailing Souls, Pipe remarked that the song "Don't Say" is a Trench Town Jamaica love song.  The Wailing Souls' album, Equality is called that because Pipe says, "Equality means, we need everybody to have a equal share and equal rights and justice 'cause it's a long time the scale has been unbalanced so, now we want it leveled, so we say, equality!"  Holding firm and maintaining the rhythm guitar licks for the Wailing Souls was Vince Black.
Jamaica's top crossover Reggae/R&B/Hip-Hop artist Wayne Wonder captivated the crowd with his alluring voice and smooth style as he glided on stage to open his show with the song, "Forever Young".  Wonders never ceased as he caressed the ladies with the song "Baby, You and I" and set the pace to come with the bashment song, "Joy Ride" from his new CD release, da Vibe on AO Records.   Scorching the night air with his ruff-edged vocals was Buju Banton (b. Mark Anthony Myrie).  Banton opened his show with the songs "Destiny", "Habir Nagost Negast" (King of Kings, Lord of Lords), "Not An Easy Road" and his new song, "Mighty Dread" from his CD, Unchained Spirit on the new Anti Records (subsidiary of Epitaph Records).  Buju's performance was smoothed out by a wicked duo with Wayne Wonder, whose smooth R&B sound beautifully accents Buju's throaty vocal style.  Banton and Wonder are now touring the country promoting their new CDs.
Opening the show on Saturday, September 3rd were stellar performances by Bay Area Reggae artists Dani Spencer and Della Grant.  Also performing were Humble Soul and Jerry Jheto featuring former Wailer band member, bassist Fully Fullwood and his Fully Fullwood Band.  Headliners on Saturday included the truly mystical Mystic Revealers who shined when they performed their beautiful song, "Religion" from their 1993 CD release, Jah Works on RAS Records.  Closing this year's show was a touching performance by legendary Jimmy Cliff.  

Still, it was (ohhh yeah!) the incredible, electrifying, breathtaking Twinkle Brothers' Ralston Grant on guitar/vocals and lead vocalist Norman Grant who stole the show.  Their outstanding performance made it mandatory for many in the crowd to just call it a night after the Twinkle's visually an spiritually gratifying Rasta Revival prior to Jimmy Cliff's show.  The Twinkle Brothers opened their show with the invocation song "Don't Board The Wrong Train".  They effortlessly flowed into a titanic repertoire of songs including "It's Only Rasta", "Jah Kingdom Come", "Praise His Name" (In the dancehall), "Faith Can Move Mountains", "Babylon Is Falling", "Since I Throw The Comb Away" and from their first album, the title track, "Rasta 'Pon Top."  Changing the pace, they moved into the Ska beat of "Please Help Me", the soulful "It's Not Who You Know" and, the loving "Sweeter She Is."  Giving us that authentic stripped down sound were band members Stephen Wright on guitar, Dub Judah (aka Julius C. Samuel) on bass, Earl 'lectric' Facey on drums and Victor Cross on keyboards.  Jah knows (and so did the crowd from the joyful looks on their faces) that the Twinkle Brothers truly remain the rulers of Rasta music!   The love this band pours out to their fans is unsurpassed and this year's show must have been dedicated in advance to Twinkle's keyboardist, Victor Cross who was tragically killed in a auto accident in Paris not long after this show.

Spinning the tunes between sets on Sunday was Irie Dole and Ivier from Wisdom Records and from Massive Sound International, Robert Rankin and Spliff Skankin (DJ for the "Reggae Roadblock" on KPFA in Berkeley) and on Saturday DJ Sister Yasmin's Crucial Dance Riddims.   Respect and Big Up to Monterey Bay Reggae Festival promoter Andre Smith, his wife Pam Smith and all the Monterey Bay Reggae Festival Staff for all their hard work and dedication in putting together at top notch Reggae Show.   (c)2000 by Diane Adam

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