June signals Black Music Month, Caribbean Heritage Month and for a majority – summer. Although the likelihood of daily sunshine, cool afternoons and fruity beverages add to the allure of the season, in New York City the bonus comes with a myriad of free outdoor concerts and big-name talent to sweeten the treats. The 36th season of BRIC’s performing arts festival in Prospect Park kicks-off on June 4 with Janelle Monae to start Celebrate Brooklyn’s annual free concert series. The stellar talent will not only celebrate the season and borough she will be first to entertain the huge crowds sure to continue Brooklyn’s most acclaimed summer series. Perhaps the biggest name from the Caribbean headlines Luciano for the June 28 concert at Prospect Park Bandshell. Slated to begin at 7:30 p.m., the free concert promises the roots reggae singer who will deliver “soulful, spiritual messages…that feel pulled straight out of gospel.”
Also known as Jepther McClymont, the Manchester, Jamaica –born singer who chose the moniker in reference to opera star Luciano Pavarotti returns to the city to deliver his Rastafarian sentiments. Acclaimed in reggae circles, the prolific Jamaican is renowned for up-liftment music he has recorded and released on 40 records since his 1995 landmark CD release of “Where There Is Life.”
Regarded for imparting lyrics “steeped in profound Rastafarianism and spiritual salvation, edification, and humanitarian” concerns Luciano’s fans will make this a park date and perhaps the one significant summer music session.
On an evening billed in tribute to the beloved community activist Faybiene Miranda, powerhouse singer Sandra St. Victor, founding member of the legendary NYC band The Family Stand will open. Now living in Amsterdam and fronting her group Oya’s Daughter, Sandra St. Victor is returning stateside to pay tribute to the woman who inspired her to perform. Miranda was a powerful inspiration to St. Victor and countless others; this tribute will feature students from the Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy which Miranda ran in Brooklyn until her passing.
Later on in the season, Celebrate Brooklyn promises carnival with Kes on Aug. 2 at 7:00 p.m. Prospect Park will get a tropical blast of bacchanal, heat and revelry as Trinidad’s Kes -- a band of brothers that has taken the soca world by storm with hits like “Wotless” and “Tuesday on the Rocks” brings its “bigger, better, crazier, sexier” island pop sound to Brooklyn.
An Afro-Caribbean party also bills Curacao’s Kuenta j Tambu (KiT) to add frenzy with an explosive cocktail mixing of club beats from its Amsterdam home. Deejay Dr. Wax will spin soca/calypso classics. To compound the revelry, Steel sensations will warm up audiences.
For more info. Log onto www.bricar
In Manhattan’s Central Park the ‘Good Morning America Summer Concert Series’ already began the Friday morning live broadcast concert series which airs on channel 7. Lady Antebellum drew the first crowds to the Rumsey Playfield where the annual Summerstage Concert Series offers free entertainment featuring spoken word, dance and music. The GMA Friday concerts will spotlight 50 Cents, Robin Thicke and Jennifer Lopez, Enrique Iglesias and a long list of celebrated singers and musicians until August.
Rapper 50 Cents will rap live on the mic on May 30.
The June line-up at Summerstage will also feature a Tribute to Frankie Knuckles on 6/22. The 7:00 p.m. event will pay tribute to the legendary deejay who recently died.
The series heats up on July 26 with the only Caribbean-billing booked for the series. Reggae fans will appreciate the arrival of Jamaica’s Chronixx & The Zinc Fence Redemption to the Rumsey Playfield on that date. Slated to begin at 3:00 p.m. the line-up will also feature Junior “One Blood” Reid, The Rice and Peas Crew and the Large Up Federation Sound
Chronixx was the ‘stage’ name bestowed by friends on a performing artist who called himself ‘Little Chronicle.’ He felt he had inherited that moniker because his father was already popularly known as the artist Chronicle. Born Oct. 10, 1992 his given name at birth was Jamar Rolando McNaughton. His father, a musician, recognized his talents and nurtured him in an environment in which he could grow into whatever area of music he chose. Always accompanying him to the studio, Jamar grew up around the likes of Burro Banton, Norris Man and the legendary Gregory Isaacs. With a big smile and an engaging personality, he confidently set out to make his mark in music, by writing his first song ‘Rice Grain’ by the age of five and going on to be choir director and worship leader at 11. At 14 years, he started producing and ‘building riddims’ for artists such as Konshens and Munga Honorable and composing riddims such as the ‘Freezer Riddim’ for Icebox Records and voicing artistes such as, Popcaan for Maverick Records. Today, Chronixx credits his versatility and his professional stage presence to the early lessons he received from his father Chronicle, who always shared his own experiences and encouraged his son to go one step beyond with each performance.
Reid joined the first ever Grammy Awards Winning Reggae group, Black Uhuru, as lead singer in 1986 where his work on the album “Brutal” earned him a Grammy-nomination. However, Junior’s interest in producing material for himself, and desire to regain his domestic popularity, drove him into the solo arena and into his own studio where in 1989, “One Blood” saw him re-established at the forefront of the reggae scene.
For more info log onto www.summerstage.org
After a long and likely expensive winter, here’s a free and timely celebration to launch summer into a permanent season for outdoor frolic and fun. The Long Island Caribbean American Heritage Festival promises that and more at Eisenhower Park in East Meadows. Beginning at noon on June 14, the anticipated treat will headline Sanchez. Also featuring a hefty serving of popular Caribbean names, Terry Linen, Ed Robinson, Mikey Jarrett, Lenya Wilks, Charmaine & The Little Big Band, Adlib Steel Orchestra, Denise de la Cruz, Nachie Bless, Jeremiah, Santa Ranks, Anthem, Sherry Morgan and Road international are all billed. Slated to end at 9:00 p.m. the free festival will also include music by Camouflage, Twin Thumb High Quality, Queen Tubby, Ultra Force and Royal Heart Sound.
Catch You On The Inside!