Jamaican reggae artistes beg Trinidad and Tobago: ‘End the crime and bloodshed’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

MUSICAL POINT: Mark Myrie aka Buju Banton raises a point with the audience during his performance at the Redemption 8 reggae concert. PHOTO BY JEFF MAYERS –

REDEMPTION 8 The Concert not only took thousands of patrons down a reggae and dancehall musical memory lane but also was the forum where the performers begged for an end to the crime and bloodshed in TT.

The five main acts – TT’s Black Loyalty and Jamaican reggae veterans Luciano (Jepther McClymont), Beres Hammond, Buju Banton (Mark Myrie) and Anthony B (Keith Blair) – all hit out at TT’s rampant crime and pleaded for peace to reign once more.

It was a night of healing for many who had to endure another week of bloodshed where at least nine murders were committed.

Black Loyalty kicked things off just after 8 pm and set a captivating mood for the artistes who followed. He sang popular hits like On My Way and Better Days and was first to address the crime situation by calling for a return of positivity, particularly among the youth.

IT’S ME AGAIN: Jamaican artiste Luciano had the massive crowd swaying and dancing to his music. PHOTO BY JEFF MAYERS –

Reggae legend Luciano hit the stage at 9 pm and also shared similar sentiment through songs.

During his performance of world renowned favourite Sleep Over My Soul, Luciano told the crowd, “If unnu tired of di war and violence, all di senseless killing, me ask di Almighty to sweep away all di violence.”

With over three decades of experience, Luciano belted out some of his classics including Give Praise, It’s Me Again Jah, Lord Give Me Strength and Your World and Mine.

Lovers’ rock artiste Beres Hammond then graced the stage to screams from the women in the audience. He opened with Rise and Shine, and despite his 67 years, Hammond did not falter and gave an energetic performance.

He showed appreciation for the crowd as they harmoniously joined him in singing mega-hits such as Putting Up a Resistance, One Dance Can Do, Standing In My Way and No Disturb Sign.

Hammond closed with Rock Away and the Queen’s Park Savannah venue drowned the speakers with their voices.

Next came Buju who opened with the words, “Rich man’s wealth is in the city,” from his hit Destiny. He too hit out at the gun violence in TT.

Backed by the Shiloh band, Buju gave an unforgettable performance belting out dancehall hits including Dickie, Only Man, Champion and Movie Star.

When he reintroduced Hammond to the stage to deliver their collaborations Falling In Love Again and Pull It Up, the crowd went wild.

When Buju departed the stage at 3 am on Sunday, scores of patrons began to leave the venue thinking Anthony B was a no-show.

The concert was scheduled to finish by 4 am but patrons were guaranteed Anthony B was “on his way,” by the hosts. At 3.35 am, Anthony B, who flew into Trinidad after performing in France on Friday night, breathed new life into his waiting fans.

BUJU MOVING: Jamaican reggae icon Buju Banton on stage at the Redemption 8 concert at the Queen’s Park Savannah on Sunday morning. PHOTO BY JEFF MAYERS –

Aware of his short time, Anthony B raced through his set, but did not disappoint the faithful who remained. Raid D’ Barn, Repentance Time, Tease Her and a list of others favourites were well-received.

His tune Mr Heartless hit home as it spoke of white-collar crime and persons in high places hiring youngsters to do their dirty work. Anthony B was grateful to be in Trinidad and said he “really couldn’t disappoint Trinidad again” having been a no-show at previous concerts.

On Sunday, organisers issued a statement saying, “We wish to thank you, the patrons, for your patience and understanding shown throughout the night and into the morning, amid the issues observed and shared.”