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Reggae, soca artists flock to Toronto

A panoramic shot of Jambana 2014 at Markham Fairgrounds in Markham, ON, on Sunday, August 3, 2014.
A panoramic shot of Jambana 2014 at Markham Fairgrounds in Markham, ON, on Sunday, August 3, 2014.
Peter Paul /

Jamaican reggae artists converged on the Greater Toronto Area and even further on Saturday and Sunday hosting various events and performances into the weekend as revellers from the event officially known as the Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival sought out the evenings top parties.

Jambana 2014 at the Markham Fairgrounds north of Toronto had a jam-packed lineup featuring two artists with over 100 years of experience in The Mighty Sparrow and Marcia Grifitths. Jully Black, JC Lodge, Pluto Shervington, and Juno award winner Exco Levy entertained the diverse crowd.

Hours before Saturday’s Grand Parade witnessed by over a million people, it was announced that reggae empress Marcia Griffiths would be performing at Harbourfront Centre’s Island Soul festival—a showcase of Caribbean culture and entertainment.

She performed her hit classics I Shall Sing, Young, Gifted and Black, and All My Life—backed up by her son Taffy on vocals. Afterwards, she met with about a dozen or so fans and relatives lined up to see her backstage. She greeted everyone warmly while taking pictures with fans and making light conversation. She was as intimate off stage as on.

Just an hour before, Richie Spice performed at the Irie Music Fest at Nathan Phillips Square. He fared much better than a year before, when his performance at the same event and venue was rained out prematurely. Despite the bad luck, he has been a regular staple on the Toronto reggae scene during the summer months.

Richie Stephens is scheduled to perform during the Mississauga portion of the event scheduled for Saturday, August 23 alongside ETANA, Errol Blackwood and David Rudder, who performs on Sunday.

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