The globality of the most vindictive reggae spreads through the second day of Rototom Sunsplash in Benicàssim
This Thursday, August 17, the festival will travel from the Africa of Tiken Jah Fakoly, homeland of reggae, to the purifying fire of Capleton, through the unique voice of Barrington Levy and the beginnings of the English sound of Cimarons. The universality of the genre expands with the French Biga Ranx, the Argentinian Miss Bolivia and the Italian band Train To Roots, while the Dub Academy brings out the powerful return of Iration Steppas and the Jamkunda Stage presents its first Afrobrunch. The festival activates its more social and environmental profile with the premiere of the agenda of debates and talks at the Social Forum, Jamkunda and Pachamama.

The globality of reggae is latently embodied in the second day of Rototom Sunsplash 2023, in which the theme of this edition, ‘United for Peace’, takes shape beyond the stages with the beginning of the sessions at the Social Forum and Jamkunda and with the more pacifist art of the Social Art Gallery advancing in brushstrokes.

So, in terms of music, the Main Stage returns to the African roots of reggae in the first performance on Thursday, August 17. Although born in Jamaica, reggae’s roots are in Africa. From Ivory Coast comes Tiken Jah Fakoly, an exponent of reggae from the continent. Tiken Jah has carved out an original voice between the suggestions of roots reggae and the influences of other genres from the African music. His voice blares against political corruption and will be heard at 8 pm on the main stage of the festival.

Then, at 9.45 pm on the same stage, another of the great artist of the evening: the French Biga Ranx representing the new generation of European reggae artists, who express themselves at the highest level. Inspired by hip hop, the classics of Alton Ellis, but also the crazy energy of dancehall icons like Supercat and Vybz Kartel, his productions for European labels since 2011 have highlighted his original style and consolidated his name.

Benicassim, 2023-08-16. Hello Magico Mundo (Magicomundo). Photo by: Luca Valenta © Rototom Sunsplash 2023.

Rounding out the night on the Main Stage are Barrington Levy and Capleton. For Barrington Levy, the term legend is well deserved: since the 70’s he has crossed the eras and changes in Jamaican music with style thanks to his incredible voice. His concert will be a parade of unforgettable songs, from his youthful hits in the eighties to those of the dancehall era. For his part, to speak of Capleton is to speak of his absolutely incendiary vocal style, aimed at ‘burning’ injustice and corruption through music. Combining the craziness of dancehall artists with the militancy of Roots & Culture, he has gained enormous recognition in Jamaica and around the world thanks to his string of now-classic tracks. His charge on stage is always proverbial, as he will demonstrate by closing the Main Stage at 00.45 am.

The Lion Stage programme is also about legends, where Cimarons will be welcomed at 21.00 hours. Born in 1967, it is one of the first reggae groups formed by Caribbean immigrants in England. After World War I, the Jamaican immigrant diaspora began in that country and music has always been for them an element of unification under a cultural identity, and a way to exorcise the racism and hostility they were forced to endure.

George Jahmallie Spencer, aka GEO, grew up following the example of his father Don Carlos, who will be that same day at the Reggae University in the session ‘Strictly Culture – The Don Carlos Story’ and other legends of the Jamaican roots sound. Under the Dutch label Jahsolidrock, GEO has released the single ‘African Roots’, proving that he is ready for the world. He will appear on the Lion Stage at 10.45 pm alongside his Massive Genda band.

The ArgentinianMiss Bolivia will play at midnight, embodying her own style, a vital mix of cumbia, hip hop, dancehall and reggae, with lyrics of militant content. The Lion Stage will be closed at 2.15 am byTrain To Roots from Sardinia, one of the most important Italian reggae groups. Their inspiration in roots reggae and their lyrics mostly in Sardinian, the language of the island, give their music a special flavour.

Dancehall also comes strong, with the Jamaican crew Code Red, which is part of the sound scene that began in Jamaica in the new millennium inspired by the roots and dancehall sounds of that time. Years of hard work have made Code Red one of the most creative forces on the scene with a dub box containing a large number of classics.

Nicknamed ‘The vanguard of dub’ and hailing from West Yorkshire (England), the Iration Steppas have been instrumental in spreading the sound system culture around the world, creating a legendary aura for themselves. Their presence will crown the evening at the Dub Academy.

Meanwhile, on the Jamkunda Stage will emerge Afrobrunch, a project born in Barcelona that includes DJ’s of international recognition that are part of the modern afrobeats movement, so booming in recent years. On this day, DJ Kabaka, DJ Afri K, DJ Enny, DJ Papercuts and DJ KGS will share the stage.

Agenda underway at the Social Forum and Jamkunda, with the first Afro dance session.

The most social aspect of the festival will ride on Thursday, August 17, halfway between the Social Forum and Jamkunda. In the first of the areas, the programme will start with the session that shares the slogan of the event, ‘United for Peace’ at 18.00 hours, which will bring together the expert in geopolitics and conflict prevention and co-director of IECAH (Institute of Studies on Conflicts and Humanitarian Action) Jesús A. Núñez, and the journalist and co-founder of and expert in human rights Olga Rodríguez.

Benicassim, 2023-08-16. Inauguration of Pachamama (Pachamama). Photo by: Edmundo Mercier © Rototom Sunsplash 2023.

In Ataya, the most reflective area of Jamkunda, the first of the debates, ‘The moon is in Douala’. At 4 pm the activist, migration and human rights expert and writer Sani Ladan, will be joined by fellow activist Viviane Ogou, founder of ‘Puerta de África’, which promotes youth empowerment, research and outreach on the African continent. In this talk they will reflect on migration processes, on the right to travel and on how the restriction of movement affects peace building. The debate will be followed by the first session of Afro-modern dance in Jamkunda, with Makuriya at the helm (6 pm).

Activism will also be at the center of the Pachamama‘s agenda, which will include a meeting with Latin American women human rights defenders from the València Defensa programme, together with La Colectiva and Entre Iguales, in the session ‘The cry of the earth’ at 5 pm.

Magicomundo, the area for the little ones, wakes up with Mireia Miracle‘s clown circus. ‘Rojo’ is the first solo work of the renowned and award-winning actress, dancer and clown. A journey that incorporates the audience as a direct protagonist and that bets on a universal language without words to reach any audience. It will take place at 6.30 pm in the Bambinola space of Magicomundo. Nearby, in the Teen Yard, the 100% adolescent space, a workshop on egalitarian and affective-sexual relationships will be organized between parkour and skate sessions.

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