Veteran Ijahman Levi rocks Belmont
By JONATHAN RAMNANANSINGH Saturday, August 4 2012
It was indeed a historic and inspiring musical experience when Jamaican reggae veteran Ijahman Levi, backed by local band Buzzrock, graced the stage of the Belmont Community Centre, Jerningham Avenue, last Saturday night.
This was Ijahman’s first performance in Trinidad and his presence and conscious wit was appreciated by the approximately 500 reggae-devoted patrons. The 66-year-old enticed the crowd with his lyrics and cemented a lasting memory for his local followers, from foundation tunes such as “Jah Heavy Load,” “Church” and “Are We A Warrior” to a host of other songs that according to Ijahman, have never been performed anywhere else in the world. The ambience at the Belmont Community Centre was designed to commemorate Haile Selassie I’s earthstrong (birthday), which was celebrated by the global Rastafarian community on July 23.
Patrons at the event were impressed with the performance of Buzzrock and the flawless cohesion between the band and the Jamaican artiste.
Organisers were pleased with the success of the event. After the show, one of the promoters said, “It was a success. The people of Trinidad have been waiting their entire lives to see a live performance from this seasoned artiste. Ijahman even thanked the crowd for their loyalty to his music and he himself was surprised by the amount of support and love showed by the locals. This was a historic show and hopefully he’ll be back here again sometime soon.”
Ijahman’s musical display was supported by a host of TT’s best reggae singers and selectors/deejays. Local songbird Jamelody gave his usual melodic performance as he belted out favourites such as “Be Prepared” and “One Love,” one of his latest collaborations with another local act, Ruben. Other local acts such as Prince of Judah, Foundation Stone and Black Loyalty also delivered commanding performances in a belated celebration of Selassie’s “earthstrong”. Soundsystems Black Chariot, Solid Rock, Jah Tastel, D’ Ion, 12 Tribes of Israel, GrassRoots, Cutchie and Zion Sounds also set the mood ahead of Ijahman’s performance.
Following his one hour plus-long set, members of the Rastafarian Orthodox Church were seen holding hands and singing Ijahman’s “Church”, as they called for unity and respect in the country. Another one of the organisers explained that Ijahman is no seasoned stage performer and that Trinidad was more than lucky to be graced with his legendary presence.
“Ijahman looked rejuvenated. Although he is... on a tour in Europe right now, he is not a regular performer. He rarely performs in Jamaica. His performance was amazing and people told us they came from deep south (Trinidad) to see him. It was indeed a success for Ijahman and his committed local followers.”