Review 36th Annual Tribute to the Reggae Legends World Beat Center, San Diego, CA

Review 36th Annual Tribute to the Reggae Legends World Beat Center, San Diego, CA

Review and photos by Jan Salzman


In order to tell you about the Tribute to the Reggae Legends Festival I must first tell you about Makeda Dread…director of the World Beat Center and a many times commended woman for sustaining cultural diversity in the city of San Diego. She has been a supporter and promoter of the arts in many traditions, supporting all cultures and teaching the youth as well. When other promoters were bailing out of the reggae business she kept going and bringing in the originators of the genre from Jamaica and some transplanted Jamaican’s in England. There is also a strong following in reggae by the Latino’s in Southern California and they are well represented in the line-ups at festivals and club shows. Makeda’s slogan this year was “Music Is The Weapon”. She supports the veterans of reggae as well as the youth that come out with positive vibes. Thank you Makeda for bringing us this positive vibe for 36 years!

I was sitting with some Rasta elders when Addis Pablo came on. They told me he looks exactly like his father, Augustus Pablo, when he was young. He carried on his father’s tradition of playing the melodica in a wonderful dub set.

Next up, Ranking Joe, originally starting in the 70’s with Coxone Dodd, entertained the audience with his fast paced chatting.

President Brown followed up the high point of his set being his big hit “666”.

Hempress Sativa then took the stage with her serious Rasta style, crooning songs from her debut album “Unconquerable”. I love her new single “Rock it Ina Dance”.

Yami Bolo performed a great set including his hit “Put Down Your Weapons”. The tall handsome Rasta rocked the stage with his beautiful voice.

Then it was time for the headliners Israel Vibration, back by the wonderful Roots Radics band which includes famed bass player, Flabba Holt and guitarist Dwight Pinkney. Skelly and Wiss rocked the people dancing tirelessly and switching microphone places depending on who was singing lead on their multitude of songs…their latest being “Man Up”.

This was the closing of day one which had all the crowd (and me) exhausted from skanking the day long.


Day Two, Sunday February 19, 2017


On day two, Pato Banton came on very early as he had three shows that day. He had to hustle his equipment out as he had a show in Hollywood, CA. that night. I was able to catch up with him for a few minutes after the show and that will be written later. Meanwhile, his set is always fantastic. The Now Generation Band all wear coordinating clothes and put on a spiffy choreographed set that compliments Pato’s movements. Pato always brings so much love to the audience as he has the fans turn around and meet the people surrounding them. His songs bring light and love into the venue…my favorite being “Heal This World”.

The Gladiators with their astounding new front man, Droop Lion, thrilled the crowd with such favorites as “Hearsay” and “Jah Works”. Droop is a totally unique singer and performer. He has a growly voice which complements his splashy, locks flying stage presence… an exciting addition to the seasoned members of the band whose performances were excellent. They had a packed house for their show.

Sinjay, Deejay, Triston Palma, came onstage to resounding applause and performed a number of his hits like “Entertainment” and “Water Bubbling”. He was joined onstage by fast chatting Papa Michigan to the thrill of the crowd.

Some of my faves from England, Black Slate, closed the night performing some of their famous dubs from their album “Ogima”. Their very soulful singer cruising the stage with style. The well accomplished studio musicians are now bringing their music around the world. Keyboardist Anthony delighted the crowd with his antics on his shoulder keyboards and was playing two keyboards most of the time during the show.

It was now about 2am and I packed up my cameras and exhaustedly headed to my bed. My soul filled with the wonderful music that had been presented during the weekend.

Enjoy the slideshow © 2017 Jan Salzman


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