Sizzla scolds Trinidad and Tobago artists on support for crime: Cut it out

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Jamaican reggae singer Sizzla Kalonji performs his array of timeless hits at Redemption the Concert on June 1 at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain. – Photo by Jonathan Ramnanansingh

Reggae icon Sizzla Kalonji (Miguel Collins) scolded Trinidad and Tobago artistes who play a role in violent activities and urged them to “cut it out” during his energetic performance at Redemption the Concert at Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain on June 1.

The veteran conscious singer took aim at the nation’s upward spiralling crime rate and connected it to the slew of savage lyrics being spewed by some local singers.

Kalonji, however, admitted that even he sang dubplates – an exclusive custom recording of the artiste’s song for a specific sound system or deejay – for Jamaican sound systems with violent lyrics (for sound clash), but it never incited physical attacks on artistes and the public.

“I did soundclash with lyrics for years and none of our communities in Jamaica had been infiltrated with violent activity. So me nuh want no gangster, no gang, no you, no me, because we sing some gangster songs, we’re taking it and killing each other. It doesn’t work in Jamaica so it must not work in Trinidad,” Kalonji said.

“We did a lot of gangster songs in Jamaica just for dubplates for sound systems. Don’t take the gangster songs in the music and start killing yourself. We don’t do that in Jamaica, cut it out. And the artiste them, straighten out the thing. And me na blame nobody, not even myself. No violence in Trinidad. Cut out the violence.”

Immediately after, he belted out long-time hit Praise Ye Jah in hope that the song’s lyrics might help inspire a different mindset.

He also encouraged youth to form a non-profit organisation and start doing community services.

“Get a business which is an NGO where you can be tax exempt and let families all over the world support the children in Trinidad. I’m not used to Trinidad in this bag of gunshots, youth killing each other,” he added.

Dancehall icon Supercat rolled back the years with his slew of old-school hits at Redemption 9. – Photo by Jonathan Ramnanansingh. 

Kalonji, as is customary, sang an array of timeless hits such as Aznaldo, Show Us the Way, Dem Ah Wonder and Black Woman and Child which took the thousands of patrons back in time to when peace reigned more.

He dedicated a segment paying special tribute to women and had them singing and swaying to the lyrics of Woman I Need You, Words of Divine, Give Me a Try and Just One of Those Days.

The night’s feature act, Supercat (William Maragh) took the crowd down memory lane with a discography of hits including Ghetto Red Hot, Dem No Worry We, Si Boops Deh and Mud Up, among a host of others.

Supercat, 60, as known as Don Dada, even paid respect to his countryman Kalonji for unapologetically flying the banner of reggae over the past 30 years.

Supercat wowed patrons with his unique voice and execution of songs, which seemed more refined than earlier years.

Longstanding England-based reggae band Steel Pulse opened the Redemption’s ninth edition and they did not disappoint as immortal hits like as Rollerskates, Your House, Chant A Psalm, Steppin Out and Bodyguard were all well-received by the mixture of mature and youthful listeners.

Bermudan sensation Collie Buddz (Colin Harper) hit the stage just after Steel Pulse and started his 45-minute set with popular favourite Tomorrow’s Another Day. He continued with mega-hits such as Love and Reggae, Come Around, Mamacita and Blind To You which had the multitudes extending their vocal chords in unison.

Jamaican crooner Christopher Martin was also a charmer to the women as he wooed them with Better Than the Stars and My Love.

However, Martin captivated the thousands particularly when he delivered the uplifting lyrics of Look on my Face, and his rendition of Jenn Johnson’s gospel song Goodness of God. The latter cast a soothing spell over patrons.

Local reggae stars Jamelody and Mr King also executed flawless performances and added a welcome TT flavour to the worldwide cast.

Additionally, Renuka Mahabir aka Miss Renuka won the event’s special prize of a $20,000 gold lion head pendant courtesy AB DeLima jewellery store.

She, and three other patrons had a chance to perform a snippet of their favourite song from an artiste on the cast, to which the crowd judged. She sang Supercat’s Ghetto Red Hot and took the top prize.