Morgan Heritage, Bunji Garlin & Faye-ann Lyons
@ Mindoo Philip Park, St. Lucia Jazz Festival 2007
4 May 2007
Click an image to enlarge (top & right side)
The official opening of the 16th Annual St. Lucia Jazz Festival attracted serious ravers as well as conscious lyric loving patrons. Mindoo Philip Park located in Castries may be off the beat and track for the average tourist, but this outdoor cricket stadium is an ideal venue for individuals who wish to taste the reggae, calypso and dancehall vibe of St. Lucia and the Caribbean as a whole. Word of warning… if you arrive too early you may be on your own, but blink and this venue will be jam-packed. When this show is in full flow the atmosphere is electric and the sight of sexy writhing patrons is hypnotic!
Morgan Heritage biography
Denroy Morgan was 19-years-old in 1966 when he and a few friends in Spanish Town, Jamaica decided to join a crowd of people waiting to see H.I.M Emperor Haile Selassie. Raised in the Church of God Adventist, the teenager waited for the arrival of the Ethiopian monarch he had heard was someone of influence and royal heritage.
Morgan was initially surprised to see the man they had all been waiting for “was a little man”. But this little man would have a major impact on Morgan’s life.
In 1975 Morgan decided to take control of his lifestyle by adopting principles that the Rastafarian community hold as righteous. One of his principal goals was to be a messenger of his beliefs through music. Morgan embarked on a singing career successfully breaking down barriers in the music industry. He relocated to the United States after signing to a major record deal. Here he would raise his family and pass on knowledge encouraging his family to adopt a positive, healthy sustainable lifestyle on and offstage.
In 1992 Denroy Morgan’s progeny shared their love of reggae music with patrons at Jamaica’s Reggae Sunsplash concert. Because this group known as ‘Morgan Heritage’ had already played at other venues in Jamaica they were not unknown to many local patrons, but the group’s attendance at this celebrated concert was a significant springboard to a wider audience. At this point the siblings were just completing high school. Gramps was offered a scholarship to play football for the Miami Hurricanes and Una contemplated a career in law. But with a record contract from the MCA Record label waiting to be signed, it came as no surprise to many when each group member put pen to paper.
Morgan Heritage have toured extensively across the globe, as well as playing in every major city in the United States. “We are Vessels,” Una confessed. Of their international exposure:” Every place stands out for us, “Lukes admitted. “New Caledonia was special because out of a population of 200,000, 40,000 people showed up to see us. “In South Africa, we spent three hours at Winnie Mandela’s house,” Una said. “Winnie gave us a history lesson on South Africa and also explained the devastation of AIDS across the entire continent. She told us that it was reggae that kept her going through the hard times.”
Morgan Heritage continue their quest to share their spirit of love, peace and happiness around the globe. Their homegrown creativity, conscious lyrics and positive spirit is certainly a breath of fresh air in an era where bump & grind and bootylicious sounds seem to have dominated the dancehall and the airwaves. Even if you are not a Morgan Heritage connoisseur (and I definitely am not) you will still more than appreciate their music and their message.
Bunji Garlin biography
Bunji Garlin started composing material as a teenager for school competitions. By the age of 18 he was performing at parties in and around his hometown of Arima, Trinidad, where he developed his unique chanting skill. Though Garlin drew substantial crowds everywhere he performed, he soon realised that being a dancehall act in Trinidad’s mainly soca industry was both a novelty and a liability.
As such, in late 1998 Garlin collaborated with Daryl Braxton, a young and very talented producer, to create a soca/dancehall track titled “Send Dem Riddim Crazy”. Garlin performed the song at every opportunity, and soon everyone had caught the 'Bunji bug’. Consequently, he was placed third at the Ragga Soca Monarch with “Send Dem Riddim Crazy”, his first competition at a professional level. After the carnival season, he travelled the Caribbean and performed at carnival celebrations worldwide.
Garlin signed to IP Music International upon his return and began work on “The Chronicles”, his debut soca album. His rhythms ranged from pumping soca to sizzling Latin flavours, and slower dancehall grooves. Tracks “Brass”, “Breakaway” and “Bad Man” enjoyed heavy rotation on radio stations, which in turn insured popularity during the 2000, 2001 carnival seasons and beyond. Other recording successes would follow; such as the single “Ready to Get On” (with Bajan soca band Square One) the duet “Party Start” (with Super Blue) and the unforgettable monster hit “Fete is Fete”.
Faye-Ann Lyons biography
Trinidadian-born Faye-Ann Lyons first began singing in 2000. The daughter of soca giant Austin Lyons a/k/a Superblue has made her own mark on the world of soca. She won the Road March title in 2003 in Trinidad and Tobago for the song “Display”. Lyons is only the third female in history to achieve this honour. In November 2004, Lyons received 3 Cott awards - New songwriter of the year, Female songwriter of the year and Song of the year (2003).
Faye-Ann Lyons (like fellow performer Bunji Garlin) seems to have limitless energy reserves. She uses every inch of the stage, speaker tops and even dances amongst the crowd urging patrons to form a circle with her. Such impromptu activity is exciting for all except artist security, who are forced to work overtime. Lyons is aware of the possible stress and responsibility she occasionally places on the shoulders of the boys in black, but consciously attempts to calm the situation by reminding everybody that “…. these are St. Lucian’s, we don’t need security here, Lucian’s are my people… easy now!”
Peter Morgan – Lead vocals
Roy Morgan – keyboard
Nakhamyah Morgan – guitar
Otiya Morgan – vocals
Hopeton Hibbert – bass
Mitcum Chin – guitar
Joseph Miller – drums
Gabriela Ostrowska – keyboards
Bunji Garlin – vocals
Faye-ann Lyons - vocals
Report by Robin Francis
© Michael Valentine Studio Ltd.