Every year, during the month of February, reggae fans all over the world are treated to a growing amount of events - ranging from large festivals to shows in small clubs - that take place in order to celebrate the anniversary of the King Of Reggae Music, the honourable Robert Nesta Marley.

One out of many is the "Bob Marley Anniversary Celebration" in Geel, a small town in Belgium which gained fame among European reggae fans due to its annual open air reggae festival. Last year UK based roots artists Aqua Livi and Levi Roots came up with a tribute show called "Trechtown Experience", and this year the promoters had engaged the talented Original Uman from Belgium and Sista "Women In Reggae".

Although he's been regarded as one of the most promising Belgian reggae dancehall acts, ragga warrior Original Uman is definitely no newcomer. After more than a decade having paid his dues as a member of hip-hop oriented groups Puta Madre and Lickweed and Brussels based reggae sound system Bass Culture his talent as a reggae dancehall artist was recognized by representatives of major record label BMG, who saw him perform as support act of French reggae star Pierpoljak. Since then Original Uman, who delivers his tunes in French, has released some notable efforts including "Distributeur De Chaleur" over the "10 To One" riddim and a maxi-single - recorded at London's Stingray Studio with UK's foremost riddim section Mafia & Fluxy - featuring solid tunes like "Tiens Toi Droit", "Líhabit Ne Fait Pas Le Moine" and "La ChaÔne Alimentaire". This maxi-single was well received and now he's about to complete his first full length album.

Original Uman and his band, which includes the drum & bass section of Panache Culture, were the first to take the stage, and yes... this guy is really good! Original Uman truly did a solid show, although it was obvious that he was the wrong person at the wrong time and place. Nothing seemed to fit... he didn't get that full sound he needed, the venue lacked atmosphere to create a good vibe and most of the people in the audience were seemingly awaiting the next act. Nevertheless Original Uman showed that he posesses a very good and energetic stage presence and even though we didn't knew a lot of his tunes and also didn't understand his French lyrics he managed to keep us involved. Pretty sure he will mash up the place when performing in a club in front of a French reggae dancehall minded audience.

Then on stage the all-female crew... Sista "Women In Reggae", UK's "reggae collective of sisters with voices". Sista comprises such fine experienced musicians like for example multi-talented keyboard player Caroline Williams (she has backed the likes of Horace Andy, Freddie McGregor, Mighty Diamonds, Abyssinians and Twinkle Brothers, to name a few), bass player Diane White (bassist for Big Youth, Max Romeo, Freddie McGregor and Horace Andy, one of the very few professional female bass players in the world) and a tight playing Zion Erb on drums alongside such fine vocalists as UK's roots & culture dancehall queen Trilla Jenna, Vyris Edgehill, Denise Davis, Jennie Harrison and the "Simple Poet" Jayzik.

Although they also had to deal with the poor sound, it didn't affect the vibe of their music. The Sista crew really seemed to enjoy themselves on stage while performing their tunes which included among others "No Hello", "Snowman In Winter", "One God, One Aim", "Sweet Inspiration", "Payaka", "Schizophrenic" and "Cashless". Their enjoyment really infected the audience, which then started reacting more and more enthousiastic as the show developed. And, of course, they really got the people moving when they did a medley of the Bob Marley tunes "Concrete Jungle", "Small Axe" and "Stir It Up", thus giving they people what they wanted on this "Bob Marley Anniversary Celebration". After one encore with the entire Sista crew on stage the "live" event came to an end. And for those who wanted to have an afterparty, there was local sound system Bong Productions spinning reggae and dancehall tunes into the night.

Article: Mr. T. Photos: Teacher

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