Music » Livewire

One Love Reggae Festival

With Toots & the Maytals, Luciano, Tony Rebel, and others. Tuesday, June 4, at the Tower City Amphitheater.


Everybody digs reggae music. It's kind of funny, though, that a distinct line somehow seems to separate fans of modern dancehall and the traditionalists of old. In Jamaica, old-time singers have been pelted with bottles from crowds eager to hear the flavor of the month. Outside Jamaica, audiences seem to cross that boundary a bit more readily, as they will at the One Love Reggae Festival, where ska and rocksteady meet modern roots and dancehall.

Tanto Metro and Devonte have been hot on the dancehall circuit for a few years, scoring both on their own and as a duo. Both Tony Rebel and Luciano are roots revivalists of sorts, bringing a cultural message back to dancehall music.

Headliners Toots & the Maytals have been active since the early '60s. Nothing short of pioneers, they took American R&B, boogie-woogie, and jazz and added an element of Revivalism, in essence creating a uniquely Jamaican form of music. Their early ska scorchers were succeeded by rocksteady and reggae hits, while the early '70s saw the group in its most fertile period. "Funky Kingston," "Pressure Drop," and "54-46" all became anthems in England as well as back home. And Toots, the only remnant from the original trio, still thrives in a live setting: Last year's two-and-a-half-hour performance at Peabody's was acknowledged by many as Cleveland's best reggae concert of the year.

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