Teino Evans, Jamaica Gleaner
DESPITE A frown on the face of some traditional Christians, gospel artistes are becoming more involved in secular shows in Jamaica as they seek to take the word to the four corners of the earth. Promoters and organisers of reggae/dancehall shows and other related events have recently found it to the liking of patrons, to include a touch of the gospel in their shows.
In two of the more recent events, Red Stripe Reggae Sumfest 2004 and Harbour Fest 2004, gospel artistes were in action amidst all the dancehall and other secular acts.
Stitchie, in his performance at Red Stripe Reggae Sumfest 2k4, took the stage at some minutes to one in the morning, giving a firm and uncompromising message to the vast Sumfest audience, a message which came just in the eye of the storm, as the likes of Kip Rich, Bling Dawg and others had already stirred up the dancehall vibes among patrons.
Needless to say, the artiste and his management team had only good reports, as they said patrons were very accepting of his performance.
Stitchie said he appreciated the warm response from patrons at Sumfest and was forever grateful of such an opportunity to minister.
GRATEFUL TO GOD
“I’m grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to be on Reggae Sumfest and I’m also thankful to the directors for giving me the platform to bring the word of God,” he told The Sunday Gleaner.
Marvia Providence, who says she is often perceived as being the conservative type, was also in action at this year’s Sumfest, as she performed her gospel hit single Hear My Cry , a song that has become a hit within the dancehall.
Despite the fact that Providence’s song may have been made popular in the dancehall because of Elephant Man’s remix ( Yuh Too Bad Mind ), it does not take away from the fact that the gospel song has persons jumping and rejoicing in the dancehall and at other related events.
Providence, in her set on stage at Sumfest, had a tough task to complete as she had to take the stage during Elephant Man‘s performance, doing Hear My Cry before Elephant interjected with Yuh Too Bad Mind .
According to Providence in an earlier interview with The Gleaner , she will capitalise on this opportunity that has been put before her, to bring God’s message to the heart of the dancehall.
“I am told that some Christians have a problem with my song being in the dancehall, but I think the power of God is so powerful that it can captivate you at any time and in any place or situation. So I think we should just stop all this foolishness about church versus dancehall and come together,” Providence said.
Prodigal Son, in his recent performance at Harbour Fest 2k4, a dancehall Independence stage show, was easily on par with other dancehall acts like Voice Mail and Delly Ranks, as his strong voice and commanding lyrics captured the undivided attention of the vast crowd lining the streets of downtown Kingston.
For some of these gospel artistes, however, its not the first or last time that they will bring the gospel to a secular audience.
In June of this year, Stitchie performed at the Reggae Soca Awards, held in Florida, with the likes of Morgan Heritage, DYCR, Fab Five and others. At present, Stitchie’s management team is in the middle of confirming some other secular shows, where he may perform. The