The Queen of Reggae Gets Her Groove On at Groovin’ In The Park

“This is My Moment,” said Marcia Griffiths, “And I’m Gonna Live It.”

Marcia Griffiths, the undisputed Queen of reggae, hit Jamaica Queens NYC to celebate 50 years in the music biz at Groovin in the Park this June 29. Now in its 4th year, Groovin in the Park is an upscale affair that attracted 25,000 punters to ‘Roy Wilkins Park’ with a line-up that boasts some of the greatest names in Reggae history—many of whom have worked with Marcia at one time or another. With at least half a dozen outfit changes Ms. Griffiths was prepared for anything. She first hit the stage around 3pm—warming things up with her international pop hit ‘Electric Boogie’, which spawned a dance craze that continues till this day—and kept going strong with internmittent breaks until 9pm. Full Review and Videos after the Jump…

(Via Clash Music)
As the New York summer sun blazed over the stage, artist after artist came to bless up the people. First up was Lady G, who got the crowd hype with her energetic DJ verses on “Woman”, her hit duet with Marcia. Then came Bob Andy, one of Jamaica’s greatest songwriters, who showcased his catalog of classic Studio One hits like ‘Too Experienced’ (which was later made famous Barrington Levy) and ‘My Time’. Bu of course he couldnt leave the stage before Marcia singing a duet with Marcia. Bob wrote many songs for her when she was a teenage star, but their biggest hit, ‘Young Gifted & Black’, was actually a cover version of a song written by Nina Simone. Bob and Marcia performed their version, which ended up at number 5 on the UK singles chart, making it clear that the song’s title still fit them, even at their somewhat advanced age.

From there entered Judy Mowatt who joined Marcia for a Bob Marley medley. Judy and Marcia comrpised two thirds of the harmony trio I ThreeBob’s widow Rita Marley was the third. While jamming on stage together they took their usual stance at the mic and had all their moves and choreography down pat as they sang classics like ‘Buffalo Soldier’, ‘No Woman No Cry’, and ‘Could You Be loved’. When they sang ‘Don’t let them change you, or even rearrange you.’ you’ it was clear that nobody ever had and nobody ever would.

The climax came when Beres Hammond hit the stage. It’s big enough just to see Beres touching any stage so the thought of a Penthouse link-up between Beres and Marcia had the whole park buzzing. As he ran through his usual set—”What One Dance Can Do’, ‘Full Attention’ and ”I Feel Good’—Beres had the girls screamed his name and singing along. “I sing for the ladies but its the guys who reap the benefit”, he joked from the bandstand. And then came Marcia, mic in hand, sporting yet another fresh outfit. ”Beres has played such an important part in my life”, she mentioned off stage and seeing them both unite to perform their timeless duet ‘Live On’ it was obvious how much respect and love they have for each other. Holding hands and singing in the sunset seemed to be just as much of a treat for them as it was for the audience. ”And when we’re old and grey,” the sang to each other, “we’ll still be this way… Never have to worry. Live on.”

Beres stuck around just a little bit longer—enough to have Shaggy join him on stage to perform their recent favorite “Can’t Fight This Feeling.” But the vibes of Marcia and Beres proved impossible to top.

Not even a highly anticipated set by Australian pop band Air Supply could match the Marcia magic. Before they started getting booked on reggae festivals, the duo behind pop gems like “Here I Am” and “Every Woman In the World” hadn’t realised how big their songs were in Jamica, nor that there were many reggae versions out there! And it wasn’t just the crowd that were getting ready for this show. ”I want to watch Air Supply!” She may have reigned all night but even Marcia knows when it’s time it’s really time.

Marcia Griffiths chats with Reshma B

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