The Main Stage area slowly starts to get animated around 8pm with a drums show in the still empty space in front of it and with the first tunes played by Killamanjaro.
The one who officially opened the dances is another piece of Jamaican music history, the former Gladiators Clinton Fearon. Backed by the Boogie Brown Band, a band he put together since 1994, he entered the stage with What A System and then dropped the first Gladiators’ tune, Give Thanks And Praises. The whole concert remained a mix of his solo hits, like Follow The Rainbow or Jamdown Boogie, and original material from his former band, like Kingdom of Jah.
All and all an enjoyable show, lacking only a bit of the energy necessary to open the shows with style.
A special band with an even more special story followed on stage, the Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars. The band was formed in 2004 by a group of refugees from the Sierra Leone’s Civil War and has since then toured extensively to raise awareness about the difficult situation of the people of their country.
Their music is a very interesting mix of roots reggae, afrobeat, gumbe and basked (an ancestral rhythm of West Africa) and it sounds at its best live. Tunes like Living Like A Refugee, It’s So Sorry, Kele Mani and Mother In Law perfectly explain the different sounds that this band has managed to put together.
“We need more African music, because Africa is the mother of the world, and Africa is the mother of music”, this message introduced their last song and concluded their magical show.
The notes of Nyabingiman introduced the next performer, the locals favourites Morodo. This extremely prolific artist is one of the cornerstones of the Spanish reggae/hip hop movement and his show was the right mix of his older hits and the new tunes. Bad Boys, I Wanna Love You and Fumo Marijuana stood out for quality.
After Morodo it was time for the main event of the night, the sweet voice of Barrington Levy. Unbelievable how he manages to keep his voice so sweet, delicate and powerful after so many years in the business. He opened his show with My Woman, with Collie Weed on the beautiful My Conversation Riddim and Money Move coming up straight after. Too experienced was performed almost entirely just by his voice and from here on Barrington used every song to showcase his incredible voice and to try to make the people in attendance sing with you (which happened only partially). Little Bit More, Prison Oval Rock and Rosie were the highlights of the central part of the show, which reached its peak with the last four tunes: Under Mi Sensi, Murder, Black Roses and Here I Come were performed one after the other, what more could the people have asked for?
Barrington showed how a great artist he is and his love for the music was explained once more in the press conference that happened after the show. “This music needs to be treated carefully, especially from the young generations, they have to treat it like they have respect for it” and “lyrical contents have to be good and uplifting in the dancehall. Artists need to write good songs , songs that can live on, timeless music, always remember that” were just a small part of the wisdom and respect for the music that Mr Barrington Levy has.
Al always a huge amount of shows went on all night long here at Rototom. In the dancehall area a young Italian dj made his debut on the Festival’s stage, Attila. His recent album You Neva Know Me is an interesting production that showcases his versatility on very different riddims and can mean for him the first real breakout in the business.
At the Dub Academy another amazing session was celebrated with the sound of Iration Steppaz that made everyone jump for hours.