By Ruth Butaumocho
British reggae legend, Maxi Priest is heading for Zimbabwe next month for a one-off show at the Borrowdale Race Course in Harare.
Arguably one of the best reggae artistes to date, Priest will share the stage with local reggae crooners Junior Banton and Mic-inity, at a show that is expected to draw reggae fans from as far as South Africa and other countries in the region.
A spokesperson for Baobab Entertainment, said the contract to bring the musician to Zimbabwe was signed a few weeks ago, adding that they were awaiting the arrival of the artiste, a few days into December.
“Organising the show has been hectic, but we are quite happy that we will be bringing the artiste, to a show that we have been working on for months now,” said the spokesperson.
Two locals who are based in the United Kingdom Kelvin Gough and Alistair Hinze are the brains behind Baobab Entertainment.
Hard on the heels of highly successful shows held by Rebecca Malope and Mango Groove, the Priest show has been billed as the show of the year, should everything go according to plan.
On the organisers’ picking of the supporting acts and the venue, the spokesperson said the decision was mainly influenced by the fact it was more of a regional show than a local one, hence the need to cater for everyone in terms of taste.
“The two local musicians (Junior Banton and Mic-inity) have been well received by local fans lately and we have no doubt that they will certainly rise up to the occasion and give a good account of themselves,” said the spokesperson.
Born Max Alfred “Maxi” Priest in 1961, Maxi Priest is a reggae musician of Jamaican descent.
His parents moved to England from Jamaica to provide more opportunity for their family and he grew up listening to gospel, reggae, R&B and pop music.
He is best known for singing reggae music with an R&B influence, otherwise known as reggae fusion and became one of the first international successes who regularly dabbled in the genre as well as being one of the most successful reggae fusion acts of all-time.
According to online reports, Priest’s musical career began with him singing on the South London reggae Sound System Saxon Studio International, after which some independent single releases followed.
His first major album was the self-titled Maxi Priest (1988) which, along with his cover of Cat Stevens “Wild World”, established him as one of the top British reggae singers.
Priest has got more than 10 albums to his name, which has done pretty well, not only in England but also across the world. He is one of only two British reggae acts — along with UB40 — to have an American Billboard number one, Close to You in 1990.
A duet, which he did with Roberta Flack, Set the Night to Music, reached the American Top 10 in 1991.
Another duet with dancehall musician Shaggy in 1996, called That Girl, was also a hit in the United States, peaking at number 20.
In the latter half of his recording career, Priest has favoured working alongside other artistes, both established and up-and-coming.
Notable names he has worked with include Sly and Robbie, Beres Hammond, Jazzie B, Apache Indian and Shabba Ranks.
Some of the songs that he released to date that local fans may be familiar with include Just a Little Bit Longer, Watching the World Go By, Woman in You, Some Guys Have All the Luck and That Girl, a song that he did with Shaggy.