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
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
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.”