For One Night, St Kitts Becomes the Caribbean Reggae Capital

Above: Tarrus Riley at the St Kitts Music Festival (all photos by CJ)

By Alexander Britell

BASSETERRE — For one night, this was the Caribbean’s capital of reggae.

After an evening of all kinds of music on Thursday night, St Kitts got the full-on reggae treatment on Friday, as a host of stars descended upon Warner Park.

Above: Chronixx

It was a master class in the diversity of the genre, featuring everything from conscious to roots to hard-core Jamaican dancehall music at day two of the St Kitts Music Festival.

Local St Kitts and Nevis band AZ-1 Band kicked off the evening in Basseterre, followed by a robust set from Ashkenaz.

Above: Ashkenaz

That was followed by a powerful run from contemporary artist Hi-Light.

Above: the crowd at the St Kitts Music Festival on Friday evening

Next, it was Chronixx, one of the rising stars of reggae music, who wowed the crowd with a versatile set that exemplified modern reggae, alternating between the brash and the beautiful.

“It was great vibes right thing,” he told Caribbean Journal. “It was a great vibe thing. We Jamaicans love great vibes. It was good vibes — it was a nice thing. Give thanks.”

Following him was global Jamaican-American sensation Tarrus Riley, who serenaded the crowd with his conscious numbers, including hits like Human Nature and Love’s Contagious.

And in a surprise, Jamaican reggae legend Dean Fraser, perhaps the country’s most famous saxophonist, took the stage with Riley.

Above: Dean Fraser on stage

It was the always-boisterous Beenie Man who took the stage next, reminding the crowd why he is one of the kings of dancehall music.

Above: Beenie Man at the St Kitts Music Festival

Earlier on Friday at a press conference ahead of his performance, Beenie Man was asked what advice he’d give to his younger self.

“Love music more,” he said.

At the end of the night in Basseterre, it was clear thousands had done just that.

 

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