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Buju Banton storms Sierra Leone in December
By Sayoh Kamara
Nov 29, 2005, 14:55
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Awareness Times has been reliably informed that Reggae Maestro, Buju Banton will entertain reggae fans in Sierra Leone from December 31st, 2005 to January, 1st 2006 in what has been described as the mother of all live reggae band shows ever to be held on Sierra Leone’s soil. He will be coming with his entire musical group to give the three day jamboree its worth. Though this is not his first time in the West Africa sub region, Buju Banton’s proposed musical pilgrimage to Gambia and Sierra Leone is echoing with loud vigor. Youths in the streets of Gambia are already celebrating the anticipated peak sound party.

Buju Banton: Will add to message of peace

Buju was in the Ivory Coast in 2004 and that tour could be tagged the prelude to this largely coordinated pilgrimage that is aptly scheduled for the Christmas and New Year celebrations. Via the impresario emblem of Afric Afriq, an international promotion outfit, Buju Banton is billed to thrill the entire Gambian reggae scene as well as conscious lyric lovers on the 24th and 25th of December 2005. The live reggae party will be hosted at Banjul’s Independent stadium, which accommodates a crowd capacity large enough for the grand clout of Buju. Gambia, the peaceful tourist haven of West Africa, would be in the center of its tourist season during this period. And Buju Banton’s concert has already been tipped as an extraordinary live musical entertainment for the tourists.

Buju Banton grabbed extreme fame in Gambia with songs like "Destiny," "Circumstances," "Not An Easy Road," "Close One Yesterday," "Give I Strength," "Our Father In Zion" and "African Pride." He will be arriving in Banjul, with his full band, on Dec. 23. From Gambia, Buju’s musical tour moves on to Freetown, Sierra Leone, where he is slated to play three shows in the diamond land. He’ll entertain Sierra Leonean reggae followers on Dec. 30 and 31. Finally, Buju will play a farewell concert in Freetown on Jan. 1, 2006.

In Sierra Leone, Buju is also well known among the youths who form the bulk of reggae fans in the country. Buju’s coming to Sierra Leone coincides with moves by government in consolidating a very young peace process achieved about three years ago with the assistance of the United Nations and the wider international community and the final phase withdrawal of the United Nations Mission which helped in the process. Many Observers of how music impacts on the youths of Sierra Leone have expressed delight over the coming of Buju. They say his music and powerful lyrics which are foods for thought to most Sierra Leonean youths will be further reinforced by his physical appearance in the country. "We are confident that Buju’s messages of love, peace and togetherness, will actually fit into the country’s mainstream objective of ensuring that the peace attained holds firmly into the ground," said a member of the Rastafarian grouping the country, the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

Buju Banton was one of the most popular dancehall reggae stars of the 90s. Debuting with a series of popular "slack" singles, which drew criticism for their graphic sexuality and homophobia, Banton converted to Rastafarianism and revolutionized dancehall by employing the live instrumentation and social consciousness of classic roots reggae. He first adopted the approach on his 1995 classic "Til Shiloh," which raised hopes among his fans that he would become dancehall’s great international ambassador, as Bob Marley had been for roots reggae. While that never quite materialized, Banton remained a high-profile star into the new millennium. "Til Shiloh" consolidated Banton’s move into social awareness and adopted a more mature, reflective tone that signaled Banton’s arrival as an artist able to make major creative statements. Unhappy with the support he was given at the major labels, Banton started his own label, Gargamel Music, and released the entirely self-produced "Rasta Got Soul" in 2005. Buju Banton was born Mark Anthony Myrie on July 15, 1973, in the Kingston, Jamaica, slum of Salt Lane. Buju was his childhood nickname, a word for breadfruit that was often applied to chubby children; he would later adopt Banton in tribute to one of his earliest musical influences, Burro Banton. He was one of 15 children; his mother was a street vendor, and he was directly descended from the colonial era freedom fighters known as the Maroons. Banton first tried his hand at DJ-ing and toasting at age 13, performing with local sound systems. He made his first recording not long after with the 1986 Robert French-produced single "The Ruler."


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