Buju Banton – The Long Walk to Freedom
Buju Banton, born Mark Anthony Myrie, is an internationally known dancehall and reggae musician from Jamaica. He is one of the most respected and talented musicians in Jamiacan music currently.
His collaborations include artists in hip hop, Latin music, and punk rock, and he has even been famed for working with the sons of Bob Marley. In 2010, Banton’s album Before the Dawn was nominated for and won thea Best Reggae Album at the 53th annual Grammy Awards.
After being arrested in 2009 for drug-related charges, Buju Banton was eventually convicted and sentence to ten years in prison for cocaine trafficking. However, being released on March 16, 2019 proved how successful Banton really is as a reggae artist. The performer returned to the stage soon thereafter, with his very first concert taking place in Kingston, Jamaica at the National Stadium. Backed by a 10-piece band and clothed in white apparel, Banton performed his extensive catalog of songs to a packed stadium of more than 30,000 audience members. The Long Walk Freedom tour, as it was appropriately named, was the comeback Buju Banton fans had waited more than a decade to experience.
Banton has also been hailed for his most recent performance in Bridgetown, Barbados. The Barbados Reggae Festival was a three day event which lasted from April 27th to April 30th. Banton was accompanied by fellow Jamaican guest artists Wayne Wonder, Agent Sasco, and Spragga Benz. The event included primarily reggae and dancehall music.
There was a combination of both older artists as well as the newer mainstream artists, and together they joined to make a performance the sold-out crowd would remember. The first day started with performances by Buggy Nhakente, Wayne Wonder, Agent Sasco, and Spragga Benz. Banton finally performed his concert around 1:30 am, and gave such an amazing performance that even Rihanna had posted on social media from her private area backstage. Some of the hits that Banton performed from his catalogue included “Not An Easy Road,” “Give I Strength,” and “Hills and Valleys.” The artists also took time out of his own concert to pay tribute to past musicians who inspired him, including Bob Marley, and Beres Hammond.
The remainder of the festival was just as exciting, though that was the last of Banton the audience members were able to see. The performers on the second night was the Reggae Beach Party, which included artists Busy Signal, Sizzla, Just D, Hollabak, Stiffy, and Marzville. The third night ‘Vintage Reggae Show and Dance’ certainly did not disappoint with performances from legendary artists Admiral Tibet, George Nooks, Barrington Levy, Judy Boucher, Mikey Spice, and DJ Lil Rick.
The Barbados Reggae Festival has been held for the past 15 years, and there is definitely nothing stopping it from continuing for many years ahead. Attendees flew in from all over the world to greet and pay tribute to one of the main headliners, Buju Banton. The chaos that Banton’s personal life caused the reggae scene, as well as music in general, was devastating. But the Barbados Reggae Festival proved that not only could the artist make a comeback, but that he was also back for good. The concert proved that Buju Banton is still on top as a dancehall and reggae artist, and nothing could stop him from shining.
Highlights from the Barbados Reggae Festival