at the Crossroads
in Bladensburg MD
Buju Banton's performance was definitely the highlight of the night...He brought so much energy and got the crowd moving from the minute he ran onto the stage in a whirlwind of jumpkicks and swinging dreadlocks. A few songs later, he took it down-- all the way down, to a more meditative vibe for some of his more spiritual contemplative songs("Give I strength" and "Destiny" were two of my personal favorites.) Then out of nowhere, he brought it back twice as rough an instant later ( a wicked version of "Champion".) This is the dynamic ability of a musician who has really mastered his art—to bring so many emotions out and keep it flowing throughout the show.
Buju is determined that his people hear the positive message in his music. To break them out of complacency, he gets them dancing.. but also at the same time gets them thinking in a different direction.
Buju’s performance was so good that Im pretty sure many people would have been content to see that performance alone.. and it took some work on the djs part to get the crowd back after Buju left...
The Shiloh band was one of the better reggae bands i've heard backing an artist--- The creative samples used by the keyboardists brought a fresh new element to the dancehall sound. Some really tweaked out distorted electronic sounds at points ... and other sounds were mellow and fluid. The keyboardist’s guitar sound was impressive too (surprisingly, for a keyboard) In fact, these musicians each had a sound of their own.. not your average reggae band... they definitely have some new tricks up their sleeve.
The three female vocalists on stage with Buju were also really important to this powerful sound -- Every harmony they sang was perfect-- and they balanced out Buju's fierce, rugged vocals with their own graceful style.
All of this combined -- brought a sound that was awe inspiring. You could hear Buju's voice ringing out, echoing in the night in such a way that i wouldnt be surprised if people on the other side of the planet heard this glorious sound. If they didnt, im sure they will soon-- Buju's tour dates are taking him all over the place this fall in support of his new CD "Too Bad" . Check his myspace site for samples: http://www.myspace.com/bujubanton
The ONE LOVE festival, in my opinion, is a great opportunity to see how big a genre “reggae music” really is. First, because of the diversity of styles that were represented at this show.. and also, because each artist, has DEVELOPED their unique style to perfection. Gregory Isaacs, Buju Banton, Capelton, Elan, Assasin... These artists could each stand on their own as a headlining act. Its pretty hard to believe that all these incredible reggae artists were in the same place on the same evening. Thats a ONE LOVE festival for ya I guess!!
( extra big thanks to Buju Banton, Gargamel music, and Crossroads Entertainment Complex)