By Howard Campbell:
IT was almost a full house at Krave Restaurant and Lounge in Fort Lauderdale last Sunday for the Florida launch of Etana’s Reggae Forever album. Though it was officially released in March, the singer’s diehard fans turned out and savoured her solid 90-minute set.
Shantel Wright, a 21-year-old Kingstonian who lives in Fort Lauderdale, was one of those fans. She danced and sang along to every number, her copy of Reggae Forever in hand.
“I admire her for her courage, she never backs down, always positive despite everything she’s been through,” said Wright.
Most of the songs Etana performed, like Wrong Address, Warrior Love, Reggae andI Rise, are from her previous albums. But the set was sprinkled with songs from Reggae Forever, such as Spread It and Free.
Along the way, she saluted reggae legends including Marcia Griffiths with whom she did Stepping Outa Babylon, Griffiths’ 1978 roots standard. There were also renditions of Dennis Brown’s Love and Hate and Revolution, as well as Marley’s Is This Love and The Melodians’ By The Rivers of Babylon.
Released by Tad’s International Record, Reggae Forever came out four years after Etana’s previous album, I Rise. That break, she told the Jamaica Observer, is a sign of her commitment to producing serious music.
“I’m not into making music for today or what I can make from it today. I try my best to create music that will last forever.”
At Sunday’s event, which also featured singers Sasha Dias and Yoosha Malago, and deejay Fyakin, Reggae Forever’s vinyl edition was also launched.
Following Reggae Forever’s release four months ago, Etana went on tour of North America with Hawaiian reggae singer J Boog and Jesse Royal. She kicked off a solo tour on June 6 in Atlanta, Georgia; the trek continues on Saturday in Flagstaff, Arizona and Valley Center, California.
The North American leg will be followed by shows in Europe.