Music of Thursday, 19 April 2007
The whole world didn?t turn up for the Mighty Diamonds concert but what a jam it was! Some of the sweetest, purest vocals Jamaica ever produced come from the melodious pipes of the Mighty Diamonds, who featured great backing tracks by artists such as Sly & Robbie or the Upsetters.
Their three-part harmonies have been intact since the 1970s, lighting up tracks such as "Pass the Kutchie" (on the left hand side, please).
There wasn?t any kind of hype for the show so the National Theatre wasn?t as packed on a sold out night. The local acts that opened the show were really impressive, with Black Prophet leading the pack.
Osagyefo came on breathing fire with great stagecraft as he paced across the stage till he was done. Then came a bunch of no name reggae artists, but surprisingly some of them had a good run -- screaming hooks that the crowd enjoyed.
The Wisdom Band was equally great, with two great superb female vocalists holding it down until their rather abrupt sign off. The lead vocalist didn?t sound like he was in tune but the few songs they did really kicked until they started unplugging their equipment.
Black Santino introduced the forty-year old collective that makes the Black Diamonds and for people in their sixties, somebody needs to tell us what diet they are on.
These old men rocked the whole auditorium forcing everybody to move to the front of the stage. For hours the crowd sang along and kept screaming for favourites. Too bad it wasn?t a full house. At some point the ?Diamonds? launched into one of their ?Nayabingy? chants and the whole place would go calm and light up again when the band kicked in.
There haven?t been that many reggae concerts in the last few years. Last year Third World proved they?ve still got what it takes and this year Mighty Diamonds showed what forty years of playing can do for such a great collective. The follow up concert at La beach was a bigger crowd puller. Matter of fact, the Rasta community were out-numbered by scores of Mighty Diamond fans with the bulk of them being middle-aged men.
The Mighty Diamonds have long been one of the most loved reggae groups worldwide and one listen to their sweet harmonies should be ample explanation as to why. Headed by lead singer Donald ?Tabby? Shaw and backed by Fitzroy ?Bunny? Simpson and Lloyd ?Judge? Ferguson, the Diamonds' vocals -- and particularly Shaw's -- bespeak uncommon earnestness.
Their singing is so soulful; it can range from heartbreaking to incendiary, depending on the subject matter. Their writing skills likewise are top-notch, balancing both rootsy and soulful melodies and social and romantic lyrics -- making them one of the more accessible roots groups.