July/August 2004

Irie Music Festival
July, 2004 Nathan Phillips Square Toronto
The Irie Music Festival is a four-day celebration of music, dance, art and culture. Created as a unifying symbol of Toronto's diversity, the Irie Music Festival is an opportunity to promote a greater understanding between the diverse cultures and traditions of our world-class city.

A busy schedule; 4 days of music… A choice had to be made. Easy: Toots and the Maytals — Sunday evening — Nathan Phillips Square

Michael St. George was scheduled ahead of Toots and I intended to catch that set as well, but I was running late. The festival was running late as well so, Arsenals (a ska band with trombone) were wrapping up their set when I arrived.

After a very efficient set change, the MC introduced:

Michael St. George
Michael, a dub poet of international renown, is a native of Jamaica who now lives in Toronto. His performance was passionate and totally committed. Almost constantly pacing about the stage while rapping, a cordless microphone is an essential instrument for this poet. The music was dominated by a Big Fat LOUD bass. So loud that every molecule in my body was thudding with the Thud. Still, I had a good time and so did the very sizable audience.
Next up: Mr Reggae himself:

Toots and The Maytals

A consummate professional with over 40 years of experience, Toots delivered a peerless performance. Supported by a tight group of musicians and 2 excellent back-up vocalists (one his daughter), Toots reggaeled us with servings of classics, such as "Pressure Drop", along with some more recent numbers. The audience (now a small crowd) was tightly packed; most of us were dancing and a lot were singing as well.

Smiling faces, a hot summer evening and some great Live Music, what more could you want?

Report and photographs by Roger Humbert
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