Roots, Soul & FYAH!

A three day Roots & Soul Festival came to a close on Sunday September 3, at the Pigeon Island Landmark. The festival which commenced on August 31, at Royaltan Saint Lucia, was a highly anticipated event and music lovers from all over attended, all set for the impressive line-up.

This article focuses solely on Saturday and Sunday’s main acts.

Nigerian Afropop singer Yemi Alade and Jamaican Dancehall superstar Beenie Man,were Saturday’s main attractions. The ‘Johnny’ singer was a treat. Setting the tone for headliner Beenie Man, Yemi, graced the stage in a trendy black blazer, short afro print pants, black ankle length ‘booties’ and a braided ‘updo’. The singer belted out various hits effortlessly, lighting up the faces of fans, who were mesmerized by the star. Her seductive dance moves, proved to be the perfect enhancer and it was clear that Yemi was born to shine.

Amongst the songs the star performed were hits like ‘Oh My Gosh’, ‘Africa’, ‘Bum Bum’, ‘Tangerine’,  ‘Knack Am’ and ‘Johnny’. After a solid set, Yemi said goodbye to Saint Lucia but the insatiable audience requested an encore; the star who was on her way out, happily obliged.

Beenie Man who was shimmering in a red blazer, made his grand entrance shortly after,but the self-proclaimed ‘King of the Dancehall’ was no match for YemiAlade, the true ‘headliner’ and star of the night. Whereas Yemi delivered a star-like performance, Beenie Man was somewhat mediocre. The artiste rushed through most songs, eager to get to the nextand constantly relied on his backing track. He made up for it with his infectious energy and comedic ways, however, and the crowd appeared to be thoroughly entertained.

The artiste performed a number of crowd favourites like ‘Romie’, ‘Who Am I’ (Sim Simma), ‘Girls Dem Sugar’, ‘King of the Dancehall’ and ‘Healing’ a massive hit which featured former dancehall singer (now gospel artiste) Lady Saw.

Sunday’s show featured GRAMMY winner Ashanti, GRAMMY nominee Ja Rule and Jamaican Digicel‘Rising Star’ winner Romain Virgo. Ashanti and Ja Rule who have been dubbed the ‘Jay Z and Beyonce’ of the early 2000’s, are known for their iconic chart topping collaborations, hence, the two were highly anticipated and were expected to give a memorable performance.

Ja Rule, who rocked a green khaki blazer and camouflage pants, appeared first, and was joined later by the stunning Ashanti who wore a green and silver leprechaun-like costume. Whilst Ja Rule was great on his own, Ashanti on the other hand, needed the rapper to compliment her. The singer’s solo performances were uninspiring and it was apparent that Ashanti relied on her beauty and charm to carry her throughout. Even backed by female dancers, Ashanti was bland, and a restless crowd made that obvious.

An appearance from Beenie Man was the most exciting part of her solo set and the crowd cheered loudly for the artiste who had performed the previous day. It’s safe to say that Beenie and Ja Rule were her ‘saving grace’ but even that was not enough.

Ja Rule on the other hand, rapped effortlessly, charming female fans throughout with his boyish grin.

The artiste performed a number of his hits including ‘Ain’t It Funny’ (a number one record which featured Jennifer Lopez), ‘Between Me & You’ (a hit, which featured Christina Milian) and ‘New York’ (another fan favourite which featured rappers Fat Joe and Jadakiss).

Ashanti performed crowd favourites like ‘Foolish’, ‘Baby’ and ‘The Way That I Love You’.

The two teamed up at various points to perform their unforgettable hit singles like ‘Always On Time’, ‘Mesmerize’, ‘Happy’ and ‘Wonderful’ (the song also featured R. Kelly).

Overall, their performances together were just above average. A short film before their grand entrance littered with explicit language and poor audio failed to add any spice to their set. On their own, however, one shined, whilst the other didn’t.

Saturday and Sunday had one thing in common: the artistes who performed before the headliners were the true stars of the show.

Romain Virgo was exceptional. The ‘Rising Star’ sang his heart out to an appreciative crowd for hours and the crooner’s powerful, breath-taking vocals echoed through the park. There was no question—this Jamaican was a born winner and on that day he won hearts all over again.

The singer performed a number of well-loved singles including ‘Soul Provider’, ‘Don’t You Remember’, ‘Everlasting Love’, ‘Cry Tears For You’, ‘My Word’ and ‘Trouble’. Again, the crowd requested more and Romain Virgo happily provided an ‘encore’.

YemiAlade and Romain Virgo, undoubtedly, were the true ‘headliners’ of the Roots & Soul Festival. They brought the soul, flavour, heart and passion to the festival and left an indelible mark. Overall, the festival was a fantastic one and we look forward to what’s in store.

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