January 22, 2010
Star Entertainment



Three Digicel Rising Stars classes meet at Salute
Mel Cooke, Star Writer

Romain Virgo

Three different years' Digicel Rising Stars alumni performed at Pepsi Rebel Salute 2010, held last Saturday at the Port Kaiser Sports Club, St Elizabeth.

The most recent graduate from the televised talent show to the big stage, Class of 2009 winner, Brown Sugar, was the first up onstage, in the relative early going. As she walked out in a sassy version of camouflage gear, the drummer tapped out a bouncy dancehall beat but Brown Sugar said "you too rude. A no the night fe that."

So Sugar's first song in a well- delivered set went to the ladies who, in a new year, "no want no wutless man inna yu life." When she sang "an we nah go stay if there is no progress", the women agreed emphatically. As they did when Sugar sang "the thing I find with you/the most times I cry is when I'm with you." The song ended with "me gone fe good" and the background vocalists harmonising "bye, bye, bye."

It may have been Salute, but Brown Sugar was not hesitant to say she has "the glue/a dat hol' de man when dem pass tru." After the song she said "we supposed to have up all those glues, Krazy and Pattex." Brown Sugar ended her stint with a song about an unexpected pregnancy in which the pregnant girl pleads, "Mommy don't throw me out/Don' turn away from me now."

An impressive Influential, who did Hills and Valleys for Buju Banton and closed with the emotional Breast Cancer, Ras Penco and Tyrical were among those who came before the next Rising Stars alumni. It was back to 2005 with then second-place winner Noddy Virtue doing Broken Arrow, reggae style, which went over very well. His shades in place and famed swagger in full effect, Virtue's second remake, You Sang To Me, was delivered with a little less panache and received with a little less delight.

But when the Digicel Rising Stars 2007 second-place finisher, Jodian Pantry joined him for Bed of Roses, it was a superb, fascinating affair - the two infusing high drama into the Guns N Roses song. They clutched, Jodiann knelt in front of Noddy, they managed to sing face to face in a near-kiss while still holding their respective microphones, they tore themselves apart only to melt into each other's arms again.

And they actually sang the song well while doing all that.

Charley Black and Stevie Face were among the performers between the Digicel Rising Stars second-place combination and the pick of the 2007 crop - and the Rising Stars alumni pick of the night - Romain Virgo. From the opening wail of Murderer through Can't Sleep and The Rain is Falling, Virgo's piercing voice cut through the whoops of the audience.

His down home, boyish appeal did not hurt either - Virgo's red jacket coming off in short order for him to perform in the shirt he wore underneath.

The run of originals continued with Love Doctor, for which the fervour cooled somewhat though not Virgo's utilisation of the stage and excellent singing. But when Virgo announced 'big people time' and went for Alton Ellis' Breaking Up is Hard To Do, it was back to euphoria until his smiling close.

Noddy Virtue and Jodian Pantry. - File PHOTOS

Brown Sugar

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