(Kingston, Jamaica – March 10, 2012)
– Bacchanal Jamaica paid tribute to its musical and cultural roots with the staging of Bacchanal Fridays’ ‘Blast from the Past’ on March 09, 2012 at the new Mas Camp, Stadium North. The party featured a fusion of past and present soca hits blended seamlessly within a celebration of Jamaica’s 50th year of Independence, with the durable Byron Lee’s Dragonaires, and DJ Kurt Riley from one of Bacchanal Jamaica’s major sponsors, FAME 95 FM.

The young and young at heart alike converged on the grounds of the new Mas Camp to enjoy the non-stop music and energy, kick-started by Riley, a long time soca enthusiast. The ‘Party Animal’ lived up to his moniker, building the atmosphere inside the Mas Camp with a musical blending of the last 15 years of calypso, soca and soca-remixed dancehall hits. Riley’s juggling transitioned smoothly into the highly anticipated set from soca stalwarts, Byron Lee’s Dragonaires. The band’s hour-long performance was formally introduced by well-known media personality, Norma Brown Bell who told the crowd that they should prepare to go “chipping down memory lane”. Led by Guyanese soca veteran Jumo Primo, Trinidadian songstress Lima Calbio and Jamaica’s own Sandy Smith, the band wasted no time in energizing the crowd with a rendition of Iwer George’s 2000 hit “Carnival Come Back Again”. With Jamaican flags large and small waving in the cool night air, the band went into Rupee’s “Jump” with the crowd following their every move. In true Dragonaires’ style, Jumo and the ladies led the crowd through a number of ‘follow the leader’-type soca moves, wines, jumps and waves, making use of every inch of the spacious venue.

The band’s performance would not be complete without singing some of their well-known 1990s hits including ‘Soca Tatie’ and ‘Soca Butterfly’ from their ‘ragga-soca’ era. Jumo, Lima and Sandy showed their true understanding of their home crowd by including party staples such as “I Gotta Feeling” from the Black Eyed Peas, clearly articulating the feeling of every patron at ‘Blast from the Past’. The trip down memory lane continued with their covers of Krosfyah’s “Pump Me Up”, “Wet Me” and “Faluma (Ding Ding Ding)” from Bajan soca queen Alison Hinds. The Dragonaires took the band back to the present with 2012 hits and closed their set with an ‘exchange’, where patrons on either side of the venue danced their way to the other side, underscoring the unifying power of the genre.

Following their electrifying performance, Jumo Primo, who has been with the band for 10 years, shared, “The band has been together all these years because of Byron Lee. He was a strict master and he loved the music. He taught us to love the music first and to appreciate that the fans are a part of the music. Once we love the music and love what we do, then everything else will fall into place. Also, we are a family. We fuss and fight sometimes, yes, but at the end of the day we are a family with a genuine love for people.” Jumo shared that the band continues to work hard with more showings throughout the region for the Carnival season and upcoming tour dates including Canada and Europe. He beamed with pride as he also shared that he won the recently held Soca and Groovy Monarch titles in his homeland of Guyana.

Bacchanal Jamaica’s “Blast from the Past” was complemented by headline sponsor Digicel’s $8.99 promotion, Appleton and Smirnoff’s $1000 Mug Madness and Pepsi Music’s Jamrock-themed ‘photo studio’ which instantly displayed photos taken in their studio on a large, mounted screen. ATL Motors also gave a nod to the past sweetened with ‘Future Shock’ flavor with their display of a 2012 Volkswagen Golf. Bacchanal Jamaica’s costume tent also remained busy throughout the entire night with some costumes already sold out and patrons being encouraged to come in soon and make their choice for the 2012 Road Parade.

‘Lady Rennae’ Garel of FAME 95 FM encapsulated the night’s events by saying, “This is Bacchanal at its best because of the spacious location accommodating more revelers and the perfect fusion of calypso, soca and dancehall.” Bacchanal Fridays continues next Friday March 16 with live performances in a night themed ‘Star Struck.’