Morgan Heritage strikes a chord

The Jamaican flag was waved high last Friday night at the Mission in Progress concert.

The roots reggae band Morgan Heritage took to the stage in front of a packed out crowd at the Lions Centre who had gathered to enjoy one of reggae’s greats.

Local musicians Wassi, Glamaton, Stuart Wilson, Impulse Band, KK Alesse and soul-reggae singer Irie Love warmed up the crowd prior to the main acts gracing the stage.

The concert also included Jamaican singer/songwriter Etana and Otiyah “Laza” Morgan, who performs with the hip-hop ensemble LMS. Both artists were backed by the Morgan Heritage band.

Dressed in a stunning burgundy dress Etana took to the stage for a one-hour set, which was exceptionally well received. Jumping into the crowd she greeted fans to their delight and no doubt won over a legion of loyal fans.

Etana emerged on the music scene in 2005 when she auditioned as a backup vocalist for Richie Spice. For more than a year she garnered experience as a songstress touring Europe and North America, but was eager to make her own mark. In 2006 she penned her own song, wrong Address. A fusion of reggae and jazz the song went to number one on several local charts. In 2007 she soon made her mark as a solo artist performing at numerous festivals alongside international acts.

Both Etana and Morgan Heritage spoke eloquently about the experience of the Jamaican diaspora; the challenges Jamaican’s abroad face and the social exclusion they are forced, often to overcome. It resonated with the crowd to rapturous applause.

Etana struck a chord with the audience with her song We Don’t Want No Trouble, which speaks about someone having trouble getting a job because of the part of town they come from.

Morgan Heritage took to the stage at just past 1am, performing many of their popular hits, including Nothing to Smile About, from their latest album Mission in Progress released earlier this year.

They explained to the crowd that they had taken a lot of criticism for writing a song that laments the darker side of Jamaica – the poverty, the crime, the corruption and the state of government facilities. They said they couldn’t be true to themselves, their fans or their people without doing songs which give a voice to the powerless and down-trodden people that populate such songs, no matter who it offends; no matter how much it jars with the image Jamaica likes to send out to foreign tourists. The crowd agreed, cheering and waving the Jamaican flag high.

The children of roots reggae icon Denroy Morgan, Morgan Heritage draws on a variety of musical genres. Since forming in 1990, the band has scored numerous hits, including Let’s Make Up, Down by the River and What We Need Is Love.

Dwane Seymour of Music Mogul, organiser and promoter of the event said the show was a real success.

‘The concert was well supported and we just want to thank all of our fans and sponsors. In addition, all in attendance have gained a new respect for Etana who gave a magnificent performance on the night.’

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