Prisoners stepped out of the confines of their cells at the General Penitentiary on Thursday May 2, 2013 for a special concert. The Swiss Rehabilitation Organization, Art of Living Foundation and the Department of Correctional Services, spearheaded a Non-Violence Campaign where Shaggy was invited to perform at the prison on behalf of the campaign and used the opportunity to empower inmates.
Arriving at 2pm, band in tow, International Dancehall Superstar Shaggy is escorted inside as the intimidating metal gates closed behind him. Many inmates were surprised to see the Grammy award - wining artiste among them and he was not alone. Shaggy had invited several other industry heavyweights with him. Among them were the infamous Rhythm Twins, Sly and Robbie.
The live show kicked off with performances from inmates David Williams, Howard David and Serrano Walker, and they failed to disappoint. The talented Walker delivered an original piece titled "This One Is For The Children", which garnered applause from both inmates and visitors alike. Following the comedic stint of Ity and Fancy Cat, it was time for the man of the hour, Shaggy, to take to the stage and he was greeted with deafening screams from the audience.
Backed by artistes Jimmy Cozier, Aisha Davis and Tony Gold, Shaggy delivered songs from his yet to be released album, a collaboration with Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. The tracks though unknown struck a nerve among his audience who hung on every lyric and beat. He then dove into his popular tracks, "Boombastic," "Church Heathen," "It Wasn't Me," and "Strength of a Woman" which were all well received.
The eager and excited audience hung on to his every word enjoying every bit of his performance.
Shaggy then opened the stage up for his friends and fellow collaborators. When the prolific duo of Sly and Robbie struck up their infamous "Taxi" and "Mission Impossible" rhythms, the intensity of the performance was once again kicked into high gear. Now they could place the faces behind such epic and familiar rhythms.
The climax of the set came when Shaggy joined Sly and Robbie for a rendition of Black Uhuru's "General Penitentiary." All sang in unison now and the overall energy inside the gated penitentiary was positive and dare to say, joyful.
Known for his philanthropy, Shaggy continues to demonstrate commitment and dedication to issues affecting Jamaica and abroad.
*Ctsy of Ranch Entertainment