Live Concert Photography: Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival at Prospect Park Bandshell 6/27/19: Protoje with Jah9
Although it’s gone through a number of different names throughout it’s 41 year history, the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival is one of the longest run, summer outdoor concert and performance series in New York. And from its first shows, the festival’s long-held mission has been to bring Brooklyn residents — and those who love and enjoy all things Brooklyn — together in a safe, harmonious setting to enjoy and celebrate the vibrant cultures that has made Brooklyn, one of the most most diverse places in the world; in fact, as the organizers have strongly emphasized, “We believe it is especially important to use artistic platforms to reaffirm the very basis of what Brooklyn and America is — a welcoming, supercollider of ideas and cultures, informing and enriching each other. ”
Throughout the Festival’s history, the Prospect Park Bandshell has hosted an eclectic list of established and emerging artists across a large and adventurous array of styles and genres, including Americana, African music, world music, classical music, jazz, pop, alt-rock, indie rock, hip-hop, soul, R&B and a long list of others. And as a result, the bandshell has had an impressive array of artists play on its stage including, Dr. John, Maceo Parker, They Might Be Giants, The Neville Brothers, Talib Kweli, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Beck, Hugh Maskela, Joan Armatrading, Willie Nelson, Chaka Khan, Angelique Kidjo, Seun Kuti, Mavis Staples, Marco Benevento, Bilal, Lisa Loeb, Poliça, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Alice Smith, Brooklyn Raga Massive, The Soul Rebels, Orkesta Mendoza, Musiq Soulchild, Robert Randolph and The Family Band, Eric Krasno, Yossou N’Dour, Amadou and Mariam, Brandi Carlile, Ruthie Foster, the acclaimed Canadian jazz act BADBADNOTGOOD the up-and-coming Canadian singer/songwriter and JOVM mainstay Charlotte Day Wilson and recently, Afro-Cuban electro pop sibling duo and JOVM mainstays Ibeyi, and the iconic R&B and soul legend Patti LaBelle.
Born the son of 1970s chart-topping Jamaican vocalist Lorna Bennett and a father, who was a calypso king from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the acclaimed Jamaican-born reggae and dancehall artist Protoje — born Oje Ken Olliverre — grew up in a deeply musical home — and of course, that wound up being a major influence on his own life. He started off his career with one foot in the hip-hop world with the release of the 2005 mixtape Lyrical Overdose, Volume 1 but since then his work has leaned heavily towards dancehall and reggae — with each of his five full-length albums gaining a wider audience; in fact, last year’s full-length effort A Matter of Time received a Grammy Award nod.
Along with his backing band Indiggnation, the acclaimed reggae and dancehall artist is at the forefront of a collection of contemporary artists, actively redefining what reggae and dancehall sounds like in the early part of this century — while rooted in many of the thematic concerns of his musical forebears. Opening the night was Jamaican dub/reggae artist JAH9.
Opening the night was the deeply spiritual dub/reggae artist JAH9, an artist who is “inspired by the fearless truth-telling of Nina Simone” and as Billboard says projects “the ethereal aura of early Erykah Badu. As an artist, she’s a fierce and ardent advocate of both women’s and human rights and is a practitioner of healing arts.