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Reggae star brings "Lucky" vibes

by Chris Alcantara, staff writer

   

Awesome venue. Legendary performer. Good vibes. At Kapono’s in Aloha Tower Marketplace, all the ingredients for a great concert were present as international reggae superstar Lucky Dube rocked the crowd Oct. 19.

The show kicked off at 9 p.m. with an opening performance from local reggae band B.E.T. that got the crowd in a groove with their smooth island rhythms. The night had just begun and the best was yet to come.

Click on image for larger view

After about a 45-minute hiatus between acts, the stage came back to life, filled with five animated band members and three back-up singers. As the very first guitar riffs blared from the amplifiers, the crowd made a mad rush to the main dance area in front of the stage. The band played energetic instrumentals for a few minutes, when suddenly, in a flurry of dreadlocks and flailing limbs, was none other than Lucky Dube himself. The fashionably dramatic entrance sent the eager crowd at Kapono’s outdoor club into a cheering frenzy.

Dube immediately embarked with the audience on a journey that spanned his entire reggae career. He sang everything from old crowd favorites such as “Slave” and “Together as One” to songs off of his most recent album Soul Taker in his slightly raspy yet melodically soothing trademark voice. Midway through the show, Dube impulsively broke into a fiery rendition of late-reggae pioneer Peter Tosh’s “Legalize It,” much to the delight of the crowd.

My music is influenced by Jamaican reggae, the likes of Peter Tosh,” said the South African native on his Web site, www.luckydube.net. “But it also finds its roots in Africa and is influenced by rhythms of the ancient African drum that was used by different communities to communicate.”

Dube, who is known for involving the crowd in his shows, took a short break from the music to exchange culture with Kapono’s very ethnically diverse audience. Dube shared phrases in his native tongue, Zulu, in return for a few sayings in Hawaiian for a truly memorable experience. At one point, impressed by the crowd’s knowledge of his lyrics, Dube simply turned the microphone toward the crowd and listened in awe as they shouted his songs into the warm night air. Most impressive was his overall stage activity. For the duration of a two hour set, he moved across stage with an infectious energy that fed the dance-hungry crowd.

At the end of the concert, Dube thanked the audience, the band exited through the back stage, and the lights were shut off. However, the crowd had not had enough and wildly chanted for an encore. Within minutes, Dube, apparently induced by the crowd’s enthusiasm, returned to the stage for an encore that included a song he claimed not to have played in more than five years, and a 10-minute long duet with the legendary Kapono himself.

Dube, born in Ermelo, Eastern Transvaal, South Africa, was not always a reggae musician. He made a name for himself as a singer of Mbaqanga (traditional Zulu music) at the early age of 15. Dube recorded five highly successful albums in the Zulu language before becoming influenced by reggae music through researching the Rastafarian movement. In 1985, without the knowledge of his record company, he recorded his first reggae album, Rastas Never Die, the first album of its kind ever recorded in South Africa. Due to the political censorship at the time, Dube’s lyrics were found too controversial and the album was banned. Not one to be suppressed, Dube would go on to release 16 more solo reggae albums, some reaching platinum status, and become the largest-selling South African musician of all time.

Dube has won countless awards for his music, played in concerts with the likes of Ziggy Marley and Sting, and has headlined concerts for crowds of more than 80,000 including South Africa's first-ever reggae concert. The show was truly special for the “Lucky” crowd of a couple hundred fans.

“When I’m on stage, it’s the only place that makes me happy, so I give it all I’ve got,”said Dube in an interview on the Artist Direct Web site www.artistdirect.com. “Maybe that’s why I dance around so much.”

 

 

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