23 August 2015
This twenty-second edition has also come to an end, but the programme of the Main Stage tonight is definitely first class and the evening quite a special one. Etana has joined us during the day and her return to the festival is a pleasant surprise . We are talking about one of the best interpreters of female reggae in Jamaica with a great voice and a wonderful temperament. Her album “I Rise” is in our opinion her best work, where Etana offers us beautiful versions of “The Queen of the concrete jungle”, “How long” and Marcia Griffiths classic “Stepping out a Babylon”. Her repertoire is full of covers including a very moving version of “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley.
After Etana, we stay in Jamaica with the debut at the festival of Uprising Roots, a very powerful band part of the new roots scene as well as Protoje. From the first notes, the great technical ability coupled with a great power, is evident. What first hits you in the eye is a photo of Rastafari sticking out underneath the drums, together with the lack of a frontman. The drummer and the keyboard player share the vocal parts, the latter also evoking the Jamaican oral poetry of African origins. The songs played are those from their two prime albums “Skyfiya” and “Black to I roots”. We will long remember the image of the bass player dancing on stage, encouraging the audience in the front rows.
It is the turn of Protoje, who returns to the festival with a new and beautiful album, after his extraordinary show two years ago . This artist is one of the most recognised interpreters of a new Jamaican scene, which fills the conscious reggae and the Rastafarian mystic with new meanings, in these days marked by a great expansion of social networks that make the world smaller and connections simpler. Although he does not reach the level of two years ago, Protoje staged a great show in balance between the great substance of his material and his wild dances to the rhythm of dub. Wisely, he leaves “Kingston be wise” for the end, provoking literally an explosion of energy.
At this point and after a week of controversy, the American Jewish artist Matisyahu, earlier cancelled and then re-invited to the festival, appears on scene. His band is called into action with a real frontal attack, full of heavy sounds and the presence of a rock guitar, to launch his highly original flow heavily influenced by hip hop. It is true that we expected something less powerful, but in spite of some protesters, much of the audience follows the show and seems to appreciate the singer, who years ago abandoned the orthodox religious views for which he was notorious.
In the second part of the show, the pace slows down and the atmosphere becomes more suggestive until reaching a liberating end. To conclude another edition of the festival, we have the American Soja with a large repertoire marked by their powerful but at the same time pretty catchy and elegant reggae, influenced by rock and pop. However, the party does not end when the lights of the Main Stage go out, because while writing these lines, the music is still the mistress of the festival with hundreds of people dancing happily in the many areas of this festival, which comes to an end. Rototom Sunsplash ends. Long live the Rototom Sunsplash!