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Keeping it in the family

Observer writer

Friday, January 18, 2019

FROM all indications Rebel Salute is a family event. Literally. Preparing to grace the stage this year are conceptualiser Tony Rebel's daughter, Davianah; Queen Ifrica's son, Imeru Tafari; and Garnet Silk's son, Garnet Silk Junior.

All are singers.

Rebel Salute is scheduled for Grizzly Plantation in St Ann today and tomorrow.

“My background full of musicians!” Tafari, 25, told Jamaica Observer's Splash. “My father is a dancer, my grandma is a harmonist, my grandfather sing (Derrick Morgan) ska, my mother (is) Queen Ifrica. “From mi born, it (music) jus' inside of me,” he continued.

Queen Ifrica is the voice of hit songs including Daddy, Lioness on The Rise, Below The Waist, and Times Like These. Her father, Derrick Morgan, dominated ska during the early 1960s with hit songs such as Blazing Fire and Tougher Than Tough. He is a staple on oldies shows in Jamaica and still performs at European festivals.

Tafari acknowledged that his mother and grandfather are tough acts to follow.

“I feel a lot of pressure. I am accustomed to the level of performance that my mother bring to the forefront. Mi a try fi maintain dat standard an' because mi deh at di level that I am, sometime mi nuh get fi dweet, an' because it doesn't happen sometime I always make sure mi try fi go after the best performance ever,” he said.

Rebel Salute, Tafari added, is a platform for his growth and development.

“Fi me, Rebel Salute is like a training ground,” he said. “Fi years mi have been performing an' it has been whole heap of ups an' downs an' mi learn along the way. This year now mi plan fi come show likkle bit of mi experience wah mi gain over di time.”

According to Garnet Silk Jr (given name Garnet Smith Jr), his journey began as a baby.

“Music is an in-born gift,” the 24-year-old said. “The journey began the day I was born, on the third of April.”

A forerunner in the roots-revival movement of the 1990s, Garnet Silk dominated charts with songs like I Can See Clearly (with Yasus Afari), Splashing Dashing, Kingly Character, Zion in A Vision, and Bless Me. Silk, who died in a fire in his native Manchester in 1994, performed at Rebel Salute that year.

Silk Jr said being the child of a well-known artiste comes with its challenges.

“Being the son of an icon, contrary to popular belief, is much harder than you would think. Everyone has their own idea of who they think you should be. However, music is inborn and pressure only produces diamonds,” he said.

Silk Jr's songs include Jah as My Witness, Promises and Reparation (a collaboration with Tafari).

Davianah, 24, credits her career progress so far to her father.

“My journey began when I was a teenager falling in love with music and attending various events with my superstar father Tony Rebel. As I got older, I fell in love with various artistes, styles and genres,” she said.

Tony Rebel, who doubles as singjay and event organiser, has hosted Rebel Salute since 1994. His hit songs include Fresh Vegetable, If Jah (Is Standing by My Side) and Sweet Jamaica.

Davianah, whose songs include One Step, Army of One, Making Moves and Clean Everyday, has performed on Rebel Salute before. She believes she has overcome the pressures of being Tony Rebel's daughter.

“I use to feel pressure, not so much anymore. I'm not nervous about performing on any stage and if my father is the headliner, I will be even more contented. He is my comfort when I'm out in the world with him.”