On this beautiful Memorial Day, I attended the 26th Annual Jazz Reggae Festival at UCLA. I was lucky enough to enjoy the reggae culture by tasting the delicious food from Jamaica and the Caribbean, feeling the peaceful vibes of the reggae crowd, and of course I enjoyed the amazing music from reggae greats such as Alison Hinds, Collie Buddz, Tarrus Riley, and Shaggy.
I started the day hungry, so I could enjoy the food from Jamaica and the Caribbean. It appeared that I wasn’t the only person who had the munchies as there were numerous lines for various Jamaica and Caribbean cuisine. I choose the Irie Choice Caribbean Cuisine. This food vendor combined the food from Jamaica and Belize. I decided on the Jerk Chicken meal which was very delightful. The spice was perfect as it was not too spicy and not too mild. The sides were rice and beans, plantains, and potato salad. I give them an excellent rating of 10 our of 10 stars and recommend any Los Angeles person interested in catering to contact them for your next party.
After eating I saw Alison Hinds perform. She has more of a modern reggae sound and some of her songs even reminded me of MIA and Santogold. Alison also had dancers perform around her much like MIA and Santogold. Check out her new album called Caribbean Queen. She was great and I was very lucky to spend some time with Alison Hinds and I asked her the following questions during an interview:
Question by Carey: What made you want to become a musician?
Answer by Alison Hinds: Since I was a kid, I was always interested in singing and music. I dreamed of one day becoming a singer. I was blessed that my dream came true.
Question by Carey: What inspires you to write music?
Answer by Alison Hinds: I grew up on the island of Barbados and I was inspired by the reggae music and the island sound. I write happy music where I try to take the listener away from their everyday problems. My music is meant to lift your spirit.
The next performer was Collie Buddz. I really like how a lot of reggae bands start the performance with the band playing music and then the singer joins the stage later, which really gets the crowd going. That is what occurred during Collie Buddz and as he ran on stage, everyone cheered with applause. Collie Buddz is a combination of reggae music infused with Caribbean island sound. He was a great performer and the music was top notch.
Tarrus Riley was next and he also has a modern reggae sound. He’s a young, hip singer who was rocking a jean jacket and Ray Ban glasses. This attire is a little different then the typical rasta colors, but is totally fashionable in my opinion. The music was tight and he really has a great voice. I really like the song “Superman” and he was a amazing performer. He sang with such feeling and heart, which really gets the audience dancing.
The headliner was Shaggy who ended the festival very well. He was even humorous by joking with the crowd about how California people should be dancing much more. This got the whole crowd going and everyone started dancing. He performed a wide range of songs even older great hit songs such as “Boombastic” and “It Wasn’t Me,” which totally brought back memories of high school and put a smile on everyone’s faces. Shaggy has such a unique voice and combines reggae, dancehall, and hip hop into one.
The UCLA Jazz Reggae Fest was a major success. The vibe was peaceful, chill, and positive. There were numerous great food stands to choose from, great art, clothes to buy, and it had a nice wide range of amazing musical artists. Im excited to see who will perform at next year’s the 27th Annual Jazz Reggae Fest and hopefully they can combine reggae, jazz, hip hop, and maybe even dub/dubstep into one festival. This combination of similar music genres would really make the festival sell out of all the tickets and attract more people.