For the 12th consecutive year, The Old Port of Montreal vibrated to the sweet sounds of reggae music with the best international artists, this year under clever skies!
On Friday, after solid performances from Kaisha Lee, Face-T and his band as well as Jah Cutta, Beres Hammond was once again in seduction mode and had the Montreal massive singing along with every one of his dozens of hit songs!
On Saturday afternoon, the soca segment made up of Daddy Ghost, duo Leadpipe and Saddis and their Carnival 2015 smash Ah Feeling and the energetic Fireman Hooper quickly got the party going. The younger members of the crowd were anxiously expecting first time performances by Kranium (Nobody Has To Know) and Dexta Daps and both scored well with very focused performances.
Lady Saw was in fine vocal shape and delivered a racy performance, inviting a few brave spectators to participate. Then, to close Dancehall night, The “Emperor of Reggae”, the one and only Shabba Ranks exceeded all expectations with a barrage of all his greatest hits. An electrifying performance that will go down in Montreal reggae history!
With an early start on Sunday under a radiant sun, Dominican singer Oriel introduced himself with a very slick reggae-roots set. This genre’s future seem bright, with rising stars Exco Levi and Iba Mahr hitting home with every composition in their power sets. Then came a tempo and mood change for American R&B legends The Manhattans, sounding so sweet that even the most scepticals audience members were swaying along!
One of the best discoveries of this year’s festival, british singer Bitty McLean backed by the Ruff Cut Band and french sax player and Taxi Gang member Guillaume “Stepper” Briard, presented his Lovers’ rock and Rocksteady repertoire to the delight of reggae fans of all ages. The man is a timeless performer in the fashion of the jamaican greats of the sixties!
His performance brought the bar higher for next performer, Cocoa Tea, one of MIRF’s most appreciated artists since his 2013 appearance. Once again, mission accomplished. The singer was awarded The Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award from the hands of Montreal Jamaican Association’s President, Mister Noël Alexander. The last recipient of this prestigious award was Madam Marcia Griffiths, at last year’s Festival.
To close this edition in a superstar fashion, another Montreal favorite, Tarrus Riley backed by legendary saxophonist, producer and arranger Dean Fraser gave an overview of his greatest hits before inviting Cocoa Tea and Shabba Ranks to join him onstage to sing the classic She’s Royal, for the most spectacular Festival finale ever!
In conclusion, a well-balanced line-up of sure shots performers and impressive debuts made this 12th edition of the Montreal International Reggae Festival one of the most memorable editions so far! A big heartfelt thank you to all medias for your interest in the MIRF. See you next year!
Press and publicity: Richard Lafrance, Gong communications