14 August 2016
With her 52 years of activity (she started singing practically since she was a little girl) she is an authentic witness of the whole reggae history and her vibrant set is a testimony to this with a lot of historic covers by Desmond Dekker, Slim Smith, her ”sister” Rita Marley, Dawn Penn, Millie Small and many more. Marcia looks elegant on stage with her excellent Belgian band, called Asham Band.
Together with Rita and Judy Mowatt, the singer joined the Bob Marley‘s band as a backing singer for their triumphant 70’s tours. Much of her show is dedicated to The Wailers‘ songs (e.g. ‘‘Put it on”) as much as to Bob Marley’s solo career (e.g. “Who the cap fit”). Her songs are full of emotions too and we can’t avoid naming the beautiful “Young, gifted & black”, which brings us back to the early 70’s, just like the glorious “Feel like jumping” or another Studio One classic like “Tell me now”.
Right after Marcia it’s time for a change of style thanks to her young label-mate (they both are related to the legendary producer Donovan Germain) Assassin, also known nowadays by the pseudonym Agent Sasco.
Thanks to him, the festival mood changes through sensual and forceful rhythms of all-time classic dancehall songs like Sleng Teng Riddim; not to mention the main themes from his new piece of work “The theory of reggaetivity“, surely the wisest album, having a more classic-reggae bound approach. Among the arising dancehall artists, Assassin is beyond doubt one of the most solid deejays and he exhibited it excellently through a beautiful concert, appearing on stage before the band Macaco, from Barcelona.
The rhythm changed again so that right after, the Spanish public began singing along to all Macaco’s songs. This band is widely appreciated all over Spain, given his unique and personal mix of Iberian pop, Latin American and African influences, as well as rock & roll.
At first they performed a shining version of “Love is the only way”, which captured the whole audience’s attention and after that, Macaco criticised the TTIP with a banner, showing the political involvement of their music. Even those who prefer reggae were pleased from Macaco’s African-like drum and percussion solos and their guitar solos half the way between flamenco and rock classics.
Saturday’s high-level show on the Main Stage was closed by a passionate performance by Mykal Rose, a Jamaican artist who was intellectually involved in the 70’s reggae crusades, having gained fame as the frontman of the legendary Black Uhuru.
Much of his show takes directly from their archive like “Party next door” and “Solidarity”, passing through the heavyweight rhythms of “General penitentiary”, “Guess who’s coming to dinner”, “Plastic smile” and “Abortion”. I was impressed by the mastery with which the French baking band Dub Akon played songs composed by Sly & Robbie, in a very prolific period for Jamaican reggae as it was the passage from the 70’s to the 80’s. In the end they performed more recent hits like the dancehall anthem ‘’Shoot out’’. His great performance put an end to a very successful day 1 of this 23rd edition of the festival, and we are likely to experience so many more emotions as Rototom goes on.