Photos by Martei Korley
Every February, Kingston, Jamaica celebrates Reggae Month, a month-long series of outdoor concerts organized and promoted by the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association, or JaRIA. In addition to JaRIA’s own events, which kick off each year with a tribute to Dennis Brown on the singer’s birthday, Feb. 1, the month also sees a number of complementary stage shows and festivals held around the city, including the Redemption Live! concert presented by Digicel (held this year at the Halfway Tree), the Bob Marley birthday celebration at the Bob Marley Museum on February 6th, and Trenchtown Rock, at the Boys Town Community Centre in Trenchtown.
This year marked the 10th anniversary of JaRIA’s Reggae Month programming, with events featuring a diverse selection of talent from reggae’s past, present and future. LargeUp’s Martei Korley was on hand to document the highlights.
The first installment of Reggae Month’s Reggae Wednesday concert series and the first event of the month was the annual tribute to Dennis Brown, on what would have been the late singer’s 6oth birthday. The concert, held this year at Mandela Park in Halfway Tree, featured performances from reggae luminaries including Freddie McGregor, Big Youth (seen here), Dillinger and Bongo Herman, as well as Warrior King, Richie Stephens, Bushman, Christopher Ellis, Prophecy and Brown’s daughter, Marla Brown.
The Big Ship captain Freddie McGregor belts out a big note.
Trinity performing at the Dennis Brown tribute.
Reggae legend Errol Dunkley celebrated his Earthstrong on February 4th with a Birthday Bash at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre. Here’s foundation deejays Jah Thomas (right) and Little John (left) taking in the show.
Boom wah dis! It’s the one and only Burro Banton, posing for a pic backstage at Ranny Williams.
Big Youth flashes a winning smile backstage at Errol Dunkley’s birthday bash.
Horace Andy delivered a superb performance at the Errol Dunkley concert at Ranny Williams.
Jah-9 elevating the crowd at the Redemption Live! concert presented by Digicel on February 5th. This year the event, previously held on the Downtown Kingston waterfront near Digicel headquarters, moved to Half Way Tree Transport Centre.
Performers at Redemption Live! included Ky-Mani, Julian, Stephen and Damian Marley, Capleton, Richie Spice, Kabaka Pyramid, Warrior King (above, second from right), Garnet Silk Jr, Jah9, Tifa, Ikaya, and Devin di Dakta
Julian Marley, Diva Nikki Z, Victor Lewis and Stephen Marley’s manager, Yusef Shaw, in conversation backstage.
Jamaica’s largest transit depot turned out to be a novel venue for the concert. We expect to see many more events there in the future!
Damian Marley directing fans to put one up in the air. By the looks of this photo, that ‘one’ for many people was a cellphone.
The brothers Marley (Stephen, Ky-mani, Julian, Damian, Rohan) exit the stage after a successful performance.
Capleton had the crowd rocking from side to side. Or Wha?
The always-colorful Capleton killing it in the red suit, with matching turban and shoes.
An intense look after an intense performance.
Speaking of suits with bold prints, here’s Beenie Man.
Buses lining up outside of Half Way Transport Centre, one of the Caribbean’s busiest bus depots.
Rohan Marley and Lisa Hanna are all smiles at the Bob Marley birthday celebration, at the Bob Marley Museum, 56 Hope Road. This annual event begins in the morning and runs through late night, with performances, product demonstrations and all manner of tributes to reggae’s greatest voice.
Ras Kahleb and bredrin at his impromptu steam chalice vending area.
An officer watches Rohan Marley as he takes a dab.
Julian Marley strikes a pose, with the freshly-painted mural of him and his brothers in the background.
Ancient Nyabinghi bredrin with Ras Ivi.
Jah9 passed through early on, only to return in full force at night. Here she shares a laugh with Mutabaruka at the Irie FM area.
This man here, the inimitable Fergie, is responsible for making many Kingston shows sound the way they should.
A man shows his reverence for the King of Kings, Haile Selassie I.
Around the side of 56 Hope Rd, revelers did their thing. Chanting, blazing or just having family time, it’s all part of celebrating the Gong.
With the last rays leaving the sky, the stage was set for Pentateuch.
Ranoy — you might recognize him as the guitarist for Damian Marley — delivered a set of his own solo material that got all of the ladies at 56 Hope Road swooning.
Newcomer Ras I delivered a quick set.
This sister is intensely focused on the stage.
Feluke scored some of the biggest forwards of the night with his impassioned, theatrical set.
Winston McAnuff brought this little roots on stage with him during Uprising Roots’ set.
Cindy Breakspeare and friend.
Backstage vibes as Samo Kush-I shakes hand with Runkus while Jah9 charges up before her show.
Yung JR — son of Junior Reid — blazing the stage, in true Reid family fashion.
Di people dem love it!
Notis Heavyweight Rockaz mix the classic and the new, all while providing the vocal backdrops to their riddims. UP!
Jah-9 had the crowd transfixed — just look at the faces.
You can see the energy on Jah-9’s face, too as she hands the mic to her manager after finishing her set.
Musical Ambassador Dre Island ran through a quick set before making way for the Marleys.
Dre Island’s set was replete with some Wurlitzer grand piano vibes, played by the artist himself.
Zosia McGregor was part of his talented harmony section.
Stephen Marley takes the stage with his brother, Damian.
Doing it Marley style.
Rohan Marley snaps a photo while his brothers Julian, Damian and Stephen hold a discussion.
The Marley brothers share an encore.
Junior Reid takes the stage at Trenchtown Rock, a free concert held on February 11 at the Boys Town Athletic Centre in Trenchtown.
Richie Spice performing at Trenchtown Rock.
Matthias spreads one love with his sistren.
A view of Richie Spice’s set from backstage.
Richie Spice and crew walk through the crowd after his performance.
Nesbeth, living his dream! His dream, his dream, his dream…
As always, Capleton elevated the energy times 10.
Dash a Fire!
Capleton walks offstage after an explosive, unusually physical performance. Capleton’s always given his all on stage but he seems to have only gotten more energetic with age.
It’s the Warlord and the Fireman!
Bounty Killer brought the classic dancehall vibes the way only he can.
Reggae Month means lots of Europeans in town. Here’s some dancers from Europe learning some Jamaican style.
The Marleys — Julian, Damian, Yohan and Stephen are pictured here— rally up before their group performance.
Damian Marley signals for the engineer to fix the sound of his mic.
Getting the Marley sound right.
Damian takes a sip during a brief break from the Marleys’ group performance.
Producer Baby G and Ghetto Youths artist Wayne Marshall, taking in the show.
It’s not a Damian Marley show without trusted flag man, Donovan.
Bounty Killer joins the Marleys onstage.
Stephen and Damian look on as the Warlord does his thing.
Damian and Julian Marley share a moment at Redemption Live.
An unusual view of an electric performance.
More Fire x 2. Capleton returns for an encore during the Marley brothers’ set.
Yaaowww! Wicked wicked wicked! Popcaan takes the stage at Trenchtown Rock, as the Marleys watch.
Popcaan takes flight during a brief medley of hits on the Marleys’ set.
The Unruly Boss teaching Ragga Marley some new slang.
Damian Marley poses for a pic backstage after another massive performance.