Mighty Diamonds rock MoBay Rasta village
Renowned vocal trio the Mighty Diamonds continued their 50th anniversary in reggae music celebrations with a dazzling hit-filled performance at IRITS, the monthly cultural show at the Rastafari Indigenous Village in Montego Bay, on Sunday afternoon.
With the patrons in an ‘irie’ mood after spending the earlier hours enjoying the best of local Rastafarian cuisine, art, craft, sound system music, and Nyahbinghi drumming, the veteran group, which featured two of its three original members in Donald ‘Tabby Diamond’ Shaw and Pat ‘Judge Diamond’ Ferguson, pretty much came, saw and conquered.
After being introduced by veteran disc jockey Barry ‘The Boogie Man’ Gordon, who was presented with Nyahbinghi as a symbol of respect for his 45 years as a top-flight radio broadcaster, the Diamonds got a roar of approval when crisp vocals flowed melodiously over the song, Live Some Life, which they followed up majestically with Wiseman and All I Have Is Love.
With the lush, green scenery and the river, which patrons had to cross to get to the venue, creating a homelike background, the Mighty Diamonds sent some patrons in a dancing mood when they were all but perfect in their delivery of Poor Marcus Garvey, which they were forced to ‘pull up’ twice as the fans screamed in appreciation.
It was an awesome journey down memory lane. With Tabby Diamond dancing up a storm as if he was back in the 1970s, it was all lyrical joy as they went into overdrive, reeling off Juvenile, Full Time, Right Time Come and Have Mercy with the authority of true maestros. It was like being lifted to the proverbial cloud when they unleashed Africa, Roof Over My Head and a sizzling cover of Bob Marley’s classic, Get Up Stand Up, which had the generous mix of local and visiting reggae fans singing along like a well-rehearsed choir.
With the energy in the venue at its optimum, it was all dancing as the Diamonds completed their set against the backdrop of the fading sun, confirming their undeniable class with potent renditions of Heavy Load, Bodyguard, a cover of Gregory Isaacs’ Rumours, Keep on Moving and their mega-hit, Pass The Kutchie.
Prior to the Diamonds’ musical invasion, the audience got a general sampling of the talent of up-and-coming acts such as King Jahhiel, Visiah, Itrod and Ziah, who all showed that with time and the proper honing of their craft, they could ultimately emerge as future ambassadors in reggae.
Veteran singer-turned-producer Sampalue, who preceded the Diamonds to centre stage, surprised many, who felt he had put his singing career on the backburner to facilitate his role as a producer. He really got the patrons excited in a short set in which he was quite masterful in his delivery of Know Yourself, In My Life, and an amazing cover of Dennis Brown’s Make it Easy.
“We are very excited about staging IRITS and putting on acts like the Mighty Diamonds in an environment in which the focus is on all things culture,” said First Man, one of the driving forces behind the Rastafari Indigenous Village. “We are hoping to drive this aspect of our culture both locally and, ultimately, internationally.”