Come for the Literature, Stay for the Music

The Calabash International Literary Festival has always boasted a fusion of literature and music and this year’s staging is no exception. From June 1-3, the stage at Jack Sprat Restaurant will be ‘lit up’ with exciting emerging artists, stars on the rise, disc jockeys and living legends building a vibe and dropping hits to top off each day’s activities in fine style.

On Friday, June 1, gifted vocalists Lila Iké and Naomi Cowan will open for international reggae star Etana in the ‘Midnight Ravers Live Concert’ from midnight to 2AM. Iké, a singer-songwriter who hails from Manchester, is part of the Protoje-led In.Digg.Nation camp and has been winning a great deal of praise for the singles Biggest Fan and Gotti Gotti. Cowan, daughter of reggae and gospel legends Carlene Davis and Tommy Cowan (OD), started her journey as a performer in 2014 with her debut single, Naked, an inspirational alternative pop track. Her most recent releases are a 2017 cover of Things You Say You Love, originally performed by The Jamaicans and Paradise Plum, released earlier this year. Etana, who last performed on the Calabash stage in 2010, has gone on to establish herself one of our most admired and consistently brilliant reggae artists.   She recently topped the Billboard Reggae Album Chart with Reggae Forever in April.

Left to right: Lila Iké and Naomi Cowan

Things get really ‘lit’ on Saturday night as ZJ Nova faces off against Bad Gyal Marie in ‘Cala-Clash’. ZJ Nova, born Chantele Roye, is a popular ‘Zip Jock’ on Zip 103FM. She is also a producer and promoter of the five-year-old foam and water party ‘Drenchhed’. Japan native Bad Gyal Marie, who now calls Jamaica home, is a selector on the rise with her own sound system.

Left to right: ZJ Nova, Bad Gyal Marie

The vibe mellows out on Sunday evening as the Calabash Acoustic Ensemble, made up of stalwart Jamaican musicians Ibo Cooper, Stevie Golding, Wayne Armond and friends pay tribute to the legendary Don Drummond. The influence of the late Skatalites trumpeter continues to be heard and felt in Jamaican music today.

The Calabash Literary Festival will be held at Jakes in Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth, from June 1-3, 2018, under the theme ‘Lit Up.’ The event is free and open to the public.

Join the conversation online by using the hashtags #calabash2018 and #calabashLitUp