TOMORROW, fans of reggae sensation Buju Banton will be treated with 90 minutes of uninterrupted classics from him after over a decade since his last visit to TT in 2006.
Named Mark Myrie, the 45-year-old arrived on Friday to perform in his third Caribbean concert series since his release in December 8 last year. Buju was arrested in 2009 for his part in setting up a cocaine deal in Florida. He was released from the McRae Correctional Facility in Georgia, US after spending seven of the ten years to which he was initially sentenced for conspiracy to possess cocaine in 2011. After his release, there was a street parade in Port of Spain to celebrate his return to the free world. This also served as a promotional campaign for tonight’s concert.
While the exact time he will touch the stage was not released, Buju’s promoters and media team said the concert will end at midnight. Media liaison for High Frequency Entertainment, the organisation that brought Buju to TT, Aba Luke, said the early cut off time was to facilitate the entire family coming to the concert.
Luke, along with Buju’s publicist Ronnie Tomlinson, spoke with the media at the Hilton Hotel yesterday afternoon. Buju, Tomlinson said, will not be doing any interviews as he will use his platform on the stage to speak.
“The message is in the music,” she said, admitting that the platform is one-sided. Tomlinson added that Buju is not afraid to speak with the media and will do so in due course. But as for now, he is sending love through his music.
Addressing music, she could not say when the Grammy Award winner will be releasing new songs, hinting at a possible collaboration with US producer/rapper Dj Khaled who visited Buju after his release in Jamaica. To date, she said, there is no confirmation on when Buju will speak on his time in prison where he earned a Masters degree, new music – be it singles or an album, or be available for interviews.
Tomlinson, when asked about Buju’s song Driver, which speaks of trafficking marijuana and whether there has been any negative feedback since he was convicted of a similar offence, said there has not been. She re-affirmed that Buju loves performing in TT which, she said, he calls home and he will have something tailored just for us. As early as next week, Buju will be looking at his European tour with no mention yet as to if and when he will return to the US to perform.
His concert was left in limbo for a few days after National Security Minister Stuart Young said he was not written to formally seeking exemption for him to enter two weeks ago. Asked about this, Luke, reiterated that an official request was sent in November last year but was never brought to Young’s attention. She said after the issue was raised in TT, other countries began asking about it with Grenada already granting him the permission to enter ahead of his May 11 concert date.
The I Am Legend concert begins at 4 pm at the Queen’s Park Savannah with gates opening as early as 3 pm. Among those scheduled to perform are Jamaica’s newest sensation Koffee, fellow Jamaican artistes Luciano and Wayne Wonder along with local acts, Kes the Band, Jah Melody and Isasha along with other local reggae artistes.