Aug 5, 2014
09:43 AM
Arts & Entertainment

Morgan Heritage, Beres Hammond to Headline Danbury Reggae Fest

Morgan Heritage, Beres Hammond to Headline Danbury Reggae Fest

Above: Peetah Morgan from Morgan Heritage

Good reggae is all about reality says Lukes Morgan guitarist for Morgan Heritage, a reggae band that focuses on relationships and social injustice in its music rather than fancy cars and flashy clothes.

Billed as the “Royal Family of Reggae,” the band consists of the children of reggae star Denroy Morgan, whose album “I’ll Do Anything for You” was a hit in the ‘80s. On Saturday, Aug. 9, Morgan Heritage will perform at the third annual Westside Reggae Festival at Ives Concert Park in Danbury (gates open at 1 p.m.). Co-headlining will be classic reggae artists Beres Hammond and Barrington Levy. Also performing will be the groups DJ Inferno, Anthem Band, Lupa, Nachy Bless, Johnny Osborne, Ky-Enie King and others.

We spoke with Lukes Morgan (pictured above right) about his band and the upcoming festival.

What is your live show like?

When you see a Morgan Heritage show you’re going to get a lot of entertainment. You’re going to hear us speak on social things, relationships, and spiritual stuff. So it’s a complete show.

(Below: a YouTube clip of Morgan Heritage performing live) 

What are some of the benefits of playing as a family?

Morgan Heritage consists of five members four brothers and a sister. The benefits are that we’re family—we’ve known each other from the day we came on this Earth. We know how each other is, we know what makes each of us tick. It’s great to perform as a family to deliver the message that we want to deliver.

What age did you start performing?

We’ve been doing this since about ’86 playing around our high schools and stuff like that. We’ve been doing it for a long time.

How did you all decide which instrument to play?

My dad was always rehearsing. And different people gravitated to different instruments. I gravitated to the guitar. It’s something where each of us saw the musicians in our father’s band and we just met them and gravitated to the instrument we wanted to play.

What’s your songwriting process like?

Our inspiration comes from many different things. Anything in life can give us the inspiration. It’s a lot of different ways that a song is written. I can be onstage strumming some chords and Gramps [the group’s keyboardist and one of its vocalists] can say, “hey I like that chord,” and start singing a melody. So it’s not one way that we write, it’s several different ways and that makes us who we are today.

At the Westside Reggae Festival you’ll be headlining with Beres Hammond and Barrington Levy—what’s it like playing with those two?

We grew up listening to Beres Hammond, that’s one of Jamaica’s best songwriters and vocalists. So it’s always an honor to perform on the same stage with Beres Hammond and it’s the same thing with Barrington Levy.

What do you think it is that makes reggae music so powerful?

As Bob Marley said this music is going to grow and grow. One good thing about reggae is we don’t just sing about one thing, we sing about relationships that people are going through every day, we’re going to be singing about stuff that’s not being talked about on the news, all of the injustice that’s going on in inner cities and stuff like that. Reggae artists always try to connect with the fans and do the right thing. We’re not just talking about fantasy and I want to live in a big house and drive a pretty car, we talk about the reality, about kids going to the bus stop and taking the bus. That’s what makes reggae what it is, it speaks to a lot of reality that people are facing.

Advance tickets are $25 for lawn seats and $32 for reserved seating. For details visits Ives’ website. 

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Morgan Heritage, Beres Hammond to Headline Danbury Reggae Fest

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