Rototom Sunsplash 2015 Day 6 Image

by Federico Di Puma

Thursday at Rototom meant a musical tour around Europe, and it was the first and only day without a Jamaican on the Main Stage.

The tour started from England, with the ska band Bad Manners. This band has written several pages of history of the Two Tone era and they brought this history with them on stage. The ska-classic My BoY Lollipop provided a strong introduction then Sunshine, Jumping and Sally Brown managed to keep the crowd skanking with no breaks. The frontman Buster Bloodvessel is a real showman and it was with a huge smile that introduced one of their biggest hits, Live Up Fatty, dedicating it “to all the fat people, the real dancers!” and shaking his important belly. The show was then closed by their other huge hit, Special Brew.

The Bad Manners might be old, and their genre not as popular as it was back in their days (not even close), but they surely keep on having fun with their music, and we to have fun with them.

The second stop of the tour brought us to Germany, to Mr Uwe Banton and his New Generation Band. The artist is a true Rastaman, and his faith is evident in tunes like Spiritual Man and Races. As a Rastaman, songs on marijuana are a must and Uwe Banton concludes his show with My Little and Sweet Sativa, both dedicated to the ganja plant.

Third stop of our tour and we go to Italy. Third on the Main Stage are the Africa Unite band, one of the pioneers of the Italian reggae movement with a career of nearly 35 years who are on tour to promote their latest work, Il Punto di Partenza. The show was then necessarily divided in two parts, the first is a showcase of the most important tunes of the new album, such as L’Esercito Con Gli Occhiali A Specchio, Pure Music, Teoria and Riflessioni, a tune that created a lot of controversy in the Italian reggae scene for its attack to reggae stereotypes, and a second part with their most important tunes: La Storia, Il Partigiano John, Sotto Pressione and many more. The show was really well received by a crowd where we could count quite a lot of Italians.

And last stop of our tour brought us back to Spain for the Cantando a Marley (Singing Marley) project. The idea was to put together 20 Spanish musicians, among which is worth remembering La Mala Daniela, Roberto Sanchez, the festival aficionado Sr. Wilson and the band The Blackstarliners, and prepare a special show on Marley’s songs for the celebration of the his 70th birthday.

The idea worked out very well and, with The Blackstarliners really on point from the first to the last tune, Waiting In Vain, Punky Reggae Party and The Heathen provided a strong beginning for the show. We have to say though that the peak of the show was reached when the artists put some of their own on Marley’s tunes, Sr. Wilson was the first to do it starting on African Herbsman and doing his best in a freestyle alongside Roberto Sanchez on Wake Up And Live. Another artist that was very consistent in showing her class with her own song was La Mala Daniela that shined on Get  Up Stand Up and Could You Be Loved.

It was a great opportunity for us to see some of the Spanish reggae acts that don’t get much exposure in Europe, and we hope to see them more and more playing their own songs.

Having rest the night before we have the right energy to enjoy the other stages of Rototom Sunsplash once again. If there were no Jamaicans on the Main Stage, two upcoming very interesting acts made brought Jamaica on the Showcase Stage, Exile Di Brave and Kazam Davis.

At the same time Gappy Ranks made a brief appearance in the Dancehall Area singing or riddims selected by Lampa Dread, and Aba Shanti destroyed the Dub Station with a strictly 90’s UK reggae selection.

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