Hal Anthony to share Festival spiritWednesday, August 04, 2021
BY BRIAN BONITTO
DUE to COVID-19, entertainers globally were unable to ply their trade. Things are, however, slowly opening up and Florida-based singer Hal “Reggae Man” Anthony is breathing a sigh of relief.
He is part of the entertainment package for Jamaica's 59th festival celebration slated for JEPA's (Jamaica Ex-Police Association) Place in Lauderhill, Florida, on Jamaica's Independence Day, Friday, August 6. Dub poet Malachi Smith is also on the bill.
“I feel good within myself to get back on stage... I look forward for the performance. Great things are going to happen as I have a close connection to Jamaica's festival,” Hal Anthony told the Jamaica Observer.
That “connection” is a 19-song set titled Jamaica Festival Countdown 1966-1987. Produced by Willie Lindo's Heavy Beat Records, it includes his takes on Bam Bam, Sweet & Dandy, Pomps and Pride (Toots and The Maytals); Land of My Birth and Cherry Oh Baby (Eric Donaldson); Born Jamaican (The Astronauts); Ba Ba Boom (The Jamaicans); and Give Thanks And Praises (Roy Rayon).
Desmond Dekker and The Ace's Unity and Jacob Miller's All Night Till Day Light, runners-up in the 1967 and 1976 competitions, respectively, are also included on the project.
“It's a Festival/Independence concert and there are so many people who leave Jamaica from a very long time and they haven't heard those festival songs; I have them all. I'm going to give them a history,” said the singer.
Despite its challenges, Hal Anthony said COVID-19 has also brought some opportunities. He said he is also busy in the studio working on a yet-to-be-titled set, slated for release at the end of this year.
“I've been working with producer Ricky Walters of Fab 5 fame. I have laid tracks to a couple of songs already, they include: War Is Not the Answer; Grandma, Grandpa; The One I Love; and Number One. It will be 12 to 13 songs... I might have a few cover songs on it,” he said.
The project will be on the Kings and Queens International Inc label, owned by WAVS 1170 broadcasters/philanthropists Jeremiah and Hubert “Bob” Campbell. The Jamaican-born brothers are also co-managers for Hal Anthony.
Hal Anthony (given name Hall Lewison) hails from the Maxfield Avenue community in Kingston. He migrated to the United States in the early 1990s. He is best known for songs including Reggae Man Ah Come, Blessings, Stand Up, and Cool It. His latest song is a cover of The Gladiators' Hello Carol, it features dub poet Malachi Smith.
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