To all of you who thought the Jamaican wave was going to slow down after the Olympics, think again, Montrealers! Until Sunday, the Old Port is hosting the 9th edition of the Montreal International Reggae Festival; that is a three-day party with good music, good food and more!
Once again, centered around the theme « United Against Violence », this edition is even more exciting as the Caribbean island is also celebrating its 50th year of independence. This year’s rich and eclectic line-up presents a great overview of Jamaican artists and genre from yesterday and today.
On Friday, the festivities will open will local acts like the one and only DJ Poirier, one of Quebec’s most creative DJs who is also a real connoisseur of the West-Indian musical scene. Signed to London-based Ninja Tune label, DJ Poirier needs no introduction; a veteran of Montreal’s dance and club scenes! Poirier has been experimenting with hip-hop, electro, crunk, rock and dancehall (and much more) for many years. One thing is for sure, when Poirier is on the mix, the crowd goes wild! Other Canadian artists include Jamhaitian and C-Kool Slim. Also, the artist formerly known as Baby Cham will perform all of his biggest hits, including the classic Ghetto Story.
Saturday is solely dedicated to Dancehall and the festival decided to invite la crème de la crème of the genre, many of which performed at this July’s 20th edition of the Reggae Sumfest2012 in Montego Bay. Performers like Popcaan, Konshens, Khago, Christopher Martin and Assassin will fire up the stage with their up-beat tracks and make you dance and sweat for hours.
On Sunday, things will slow down just a bit with performances by newcomer, crooner Romain Virgo, vocalist Tarrus Riley and finally, Jimmy Cliff! The reggae icon will present his first EP in 8 years, the critically acclaimed Rebirth. After a lengthy detour in the pop, radio-friendly world, this album marks the (long-awaited) return of Cliff to its ska and reggae roots. We can expect a raw and colorful set from an artist who’s been performing and touring for over 5 decades. Born in Saint-James, Jamaica, Jimmy Cliff is a true veteran of the Jamaican musical scene, having released more than 25 albums. The 64-year-old singer whose hit singles include the 1962 track Miss Jamaica, Many rivers to cross, Reggae Night rose to fame in the late 1960 after signing to Island Record. His contribution to Jamaican culture is certainly not limited to music as Cliff also starred in the now classic 1972 flick, The Harder They Come, in which he played the main character Ivanhoe « Ivan » Martin. In the subsequent years, Cliff toured, performed in Europe, Asia and North America where his music brought him awards and accolades from the public and the industry alike. And in 2010, he joined the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. For this particular performance, Jimmy Cliff will be backed up by Tarrus Riley’s talented band Black Soil band. The festival organizers couldn’t have found a better ambassador than Jimmy Cliff to close this 9th edition!
Founded in 2002, the Montreal International Reggae Festival has now become one of North America’s largest reggae festivals and it seems that the organizers are not resting on their laurels. The preparations for next year’s edition are well underway, and the 10 year anniversary will be rich and full of amazing surprises!