Burning Spear un-retires to benefit Summerstage

Winston Rodney
Winston Rodney, a member of the Burning Spear, accepts the award for best reggae album for “Jah is Real” at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2009, in Los Angeles.
Associated Press/Matt Sayles/File

Reggae icon Burning Spear will be coming out from a six-year retirement hiatus to take the stage at Rumsey Playfield for a benefit concert to aid the Summerstage Concert series.

In 2016, the 75-year-old cultural artist took leave from pursuing the rigorous routine his fans annually demanded in Europe and other international entertainment markets but is back in 2022 to reunite with his fans.

He not only announced a decision to refrain from touring overseas but that he would cease performing and retire from live performances.

However, after less than a decade of being home-bound, the “fittest of the fittest” two-time Grammy winner recently entreated his yearning fans with news that he intends to perform an Aug. 25 concert at the location acclaimed for hosting the largest free summer, outdoor, festival in America.

City Parks presenters confirmed the Rastafarian’s appearance last week in a separate press release following their mention of a lineup of more than 90 free concerts and a few paid benefits.

Prior to the New York appearance, Winston Rodney aka Burning Spear decided he would perform at Spain’s Rototom Sunsplash Festival in August. Hopes were high the reggaefarian might add to that itinerary by treating New Yorkers to a special concert. To their delight, he did.

Spear first collected a miniature gramophone in the millennium 2000 year by besting his fellow recorders nominated in the best reggae category at the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) prizegiving.

That year “Calling Rastafari” proved to be the first 21st century reggae Grammy winner.

Nine years later, Spear added another Grammy to his discography with “Jah Is Real.”

Reportedly, there have been demands for his return to live performances since he suspended touring. His return is timed for a 7 p.m. start.

Reggae fans will relish a bonus when dancehall meets hip-hop on Aug. 13. Ralph McDaniels will host the VP Records sponsored event which lists Wayne Wonder for the bashment.

Also un-retiring to deliver funk to Summerstage patrons, George Clinton is putting retirement on hold to benefit fans. The funkmeister first retired in 2018 and even embarked on a farewell tour to announce his departure from the stage. However, it seems Clinton is unable to give up the funk and will bring some of it when he makes an appearance on June 15.

A number of high-profile names booked for Summerstage include — Ceelo Green for an evening of paid entertainment on Aug. 11. Stephanie Mills, Herbie Hancock, Rosie Perez and a closer headlined by Skip Marley names Central Park a music magnet for summer fun.

City Parks lists a plethora of lively concert dates in neighborhood parks but Central Park gets the nod for offering the most eclectic lineup of talent.

Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem provides competition for Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield. Oscar-winning retro-r&b-filled “Summer Of Soul” will be screened where it was first held in 1969 — the 20th century. Twenty first century audiences might not look as hip as the original crowd but for sure they will be delighted with the free screening.

A Greg Tate Tribute concert is also slated there; Red Alert & Friends, tap dancing and Jazzmobile presentation along with poetry from the Last Poets to highlight offerings at the central Harlem greenspace.

Dance, theater and films are slated there, spoken word as well.

Tompkins Square Park will offer a myriad of summer fun, even opera.

So too will Brooklyn Bridge Park, Jackie Robinson Park, Williambridge Oval, Cloves Lakes Park and Socrates Sculpture Park.

The Bronx slates Kid Capri’s Block Party at Crotona Park; in Queens at Flushing Meadow-Corona Park— Queens Live! Action Bronson, ChocQuib Town/Nanpa Basico/Salt Cathedral DJ Set in association with New Latin Wave also Monobloco/Naila Blackman/DJ Patricktor4.

Staten Island will host the crème de la crème of old school music with Force MDs on the mic following an introduction from emcee Fred Buggs.

No place says summer like NYC.

For details check Summerstage.org.


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