‘Send-Off Party’ for Protoje and friends gives a taste of tour
Beenie Man, Chi Ching Ching, and many others show solidarity
Music lovers were treated to a magnificent melting pot of reggae and dancehall, sprinkled with a bit of Afrobeats on Monday, featuring toasters from Jamaica’s popular contemporary reggae collective, other creative mixmasters and a seasoned dancehall act.
What was meant to be a despedida for the In.Digg.Nation principal Protoje, Lila Iké and Jesse Royal turned into a mini stage show of high quality, as they not only gave of themselves to the audience, but were saluted with the presence and performances of hitmakers such as Sevana, Samory-I, Beenie Man, Chi Ching Ching, Ras-I and D’Yani.
Meet and greet was the modus operandi for quite a few In.Digg.Nation fans, but their performances were icing on the celebratory cake. Female entertainers like Lila Iké, Sevana and Jaz Elise were seen sharing sentimental moments on stage in-between performances of tracks recorded on the ‘Rock and Groove’ riddim. Off stage, the gracious presence and indomitable spirits of songstresses like Joby Jay and Yeza Rebel, who were in attendance, were refreshing.Jesse Royal did a dynamic delivery of the hit single Rich Forever.
Protoje has, over the years, lived up to his name as a pupil of local and global culture, but he has matured into a foster parent and true pioneer as he bolsters both emerging and established artistes. The guest appearances were evidence of the impression he has made on his colleagues. The organisers could not deny powerful performers like Beenie Man, welcomed to the stage by Protoje himself. The two took turns to perform verses of the proclaimed King of the Dancehall’s hit songs on the ‘Arab Attack’ riddim, sending lighters in the air. D’Yani would then take a microphone for Beenie Man to spontaneously pull him into a friendly clash of lyrics. It almost called for an encore as the rising star harmonised Feelings, only for the veteran to deejay “she don’t really need a boyfriend, for a boyfriend” from his 2001 hit Toy Friend, only to have D’Yani, the guests of honour and the entire Di Lot in stitches.
A satisfying showcase for most people, it was all the more special to see the solidarity among Jamaica’s reggae and dancehall fraternity, says Lindsey Lodenquai, director at New Wave, which partnered with Di Lot to host the soirée.
“I’m so incredibly grateful to the team, the supporters and the artistes who came out last night to join us in creating a high-energy ambience for our artistes as they prepare to travel. It was almost overwhelming to see that we were able to pull over 1,000 persons inside Di Lot on Monday night,” she said in an interview with The Gleaner.
The management of the Di Lot was also happy with the turnout, noting that the audience, which was a mixture of long-standing supporters, old and newly made fans, as well as entertainers, was filled with energy and made Protoje, Lila Iké and Jesse Royal “feel appreciated” before their departure.
The three artistes are expected to leave the island later this week to commence the ‘Lost In Time’ North American tour, which kick-starts in Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday, September 9, and, thus far, takes them into early October. The spotlight will be turned on reggae music as Protoje, Lila Iké and Jesse Royal are to perform in some premier venues and stadiums, including Webster Hall in New York; House of Blues in Boston, Massachusetts; Concord Music Hall in Chicago, Illinois; and Ventura Music Hall in California, among others.
For Di Lot’s, New Wave’s concept of a ‘Send-Off Party’ was a perfect fit, aligning with its vision to be a centre for Jamaican culture and artistic expression.
“Protoje, Jesse Royal and Lila Iké are some of the biggest names in reggae right now, and as great ambassadors for our music and culture, it was a pleasure to have their fans gather to show them some love before they head off on tour. We have great relationships with several of our incredible Jamaican artistes, [so] the reggae-dancehall community will enjoy more nights like this where we provide a platform for their talents to be showcased.”
Adding that reggae music is all about love and unity, the team of organisers expressed that the fusion of the old and new reggae lends to experiences that people of all ages, and from all walks of life, can come together and enjoy going forward.