Leroy Sibbles returns

Vintage artiste’s rare performance something to remember

The strategy not to be over-exposed is one of the reasons that the fans of music icon Leroy Sibbles, who reside in Kingston, do not see much of him performing. And the strategy seems to have work, to an extent.

While only a fair-size crowd turned out on Friday to see Sibbles perform, they sang along with the artiste, who did some of his popular hits as well as hits by other well-known vocalists.

One patron was Lorna. She did not want to reveal her surname, but said she had a good time and she enjoyed Sibbles’ performance.

It was her first visit to Studio 38, on Trafalgar Road, and she came there to see him perform.

But before Sibbles, the featured act of Studio 38’s ‘Fridays Are Back with a Bang’ series performed Lorna, along with the other patrons, were entertained with a wide genre of well-selected music by DJ Jordan, and a brief opening act by Bryan Art.

Approximately 30 minutes after the magic hour, the live music segment began. On a dimly lit stage, a male MC replaced the DJ and his recorded music. He introduced Art as a young versatile musician, who is making steady progress in the industry.

Art emerged onto the poorly lit stage. With his face looking like someone in constant pain, he performed songs such as Murder Dem Ah Play (an original), Acting Like a Child and Step A Side Love, and then he did – to make way for Sibbles.

Wearing a pair of dark glasses, Sibbles asked the audience to be his backup as he had left his band. He began his relatively short stint with Rocky Road, followed by Acting Like A Child and then the popular Book of Rules.

As Sibbles act progressed, he abandoned the stage and came closer to the audience. He invited them to get off their feet and dance. Then he performed My Observation, a song he used to explain the dancehall scene.

In honour of Black History Month and Bob Marley, the man in shades sang Stand Up For Your Right, before dedicating most of his songs to the women in the audience.

Later, perspiring profusely in spite of the cool early-morning breeze, Sibbles voiced his wish that the crowd was larger “as when the crowd is larger I get louder”.

A little wrong

And he closed the long-awaited performance by singing about doing a little wrong with Me and Mrs Jones.

Years gone by, Sibbles, who performs as a member of the group known as the Heptones, made several appearances on the Heineken Star Time Series. The show is no longer on the entertainment calendar.

However, while he is not seen performing in the Corporate Area, he has been very busy singing at intimate venues on Jamaica’s north coast or touring the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

In addition, he has been working on a new album.

“I’m working on a new album right now. We are in the middle of fixing tracks and mixing down. By summer, we should have a new album out. We are dedicated to roots music and it will be that kind of music,” Sibbles explained.

There is also a new single out titled If Things Don’t Change.

“It’s about what happening in life right now, and we all need to make a change. If we don’t make a change right now things will get out of hand – things like crime, get more love. It is so necessary right now, we need to be calm; the unrest around the world; we need to stabilise our economy. There are so many things that need changing,” Sibbles told The Gleaner.

“Help Jamaica to make these changes possible.”


Marcia Rowe, Gleaner Writer

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