Louie "Gangalee" Culture (Lewin Brown) performed a medley of his hits for impatient fans in 26 minutes last Saturday at the Roundtable Cocktail Lounge.
DJ Megga (Magasela Dickson) of Culture Blend Sound, the promoter of the concert, advertised Culture performing at 1 a.m. Culture ascended the makeshift stage at 1:20 a.m. and received cheers and salutes from more than 100 fans.
Culture, 41, soothed the crowd with his mesmerizing, soulful voice and made the crowd forget about his tardiness. Gangalee, a Rastafarian, performed "Bogus Badge," a song pointing fingers at fake Rastafarians, stating, How yuh get yuh fraud stripe/Tek it off /Come an get dee fraud badge/Rip off. Dancehall fans clanked empty beer bottles -- a Jamaicans way of showing approval for a song -- on tables during"Gangalee."
Culture, a roots and culture reggae artist, inadvertently crossed over into dancehall reggae with "Gangalee," a name given to misbehaved, uncontrollable persons. Culture attempted to redefine the term to reflect a freedom fighter or goal-determined person. Jamaican ghetto youths called themselves "gangalees" during the '90s dancehall reggae era, ignoring the artist's use and definition of the word. Gangalee became Cultures, his moniker and his breakout hit, despite the misinterpretation.
Gangalee belted out other hits, including, "No Gal" and "Onward Christians Soldiers," during his short time onstage. After the show, fans gathered around and took pictures with him, many expressing sympathy regarding his April 2 shooting and the current violent situation in Jamaica.
Initially, I was granted an interview with Gangalee, but it was rescinded based on my inquiries about his shooting. Unfortunately, the artist's silence is baffling, considering that his homeland, Jamaica, is currently in a violent crisis.
O'Neil Edwards, singer from the reggae group Voicemail, was shot five times on May 10 while entering his home in Jamaica. Edwards died from his wounds on May 26, leaving behind a 3-week old daughter. Popular reggae artists including Beenie Man, Alaine and Mr. Vegas, have denounced the violence. Vegas, the unofficial spokesman for artists, held vigils and prayers for O'Neil, is scheduled to perform later this month at Decos Night Club in the Gaslamp.
Hopefully he will speak about the violence in Jamaica.