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Duane Stephenson takes on Brazil with the Wailers

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The continent of South America is regarded as rich, fertile soil for the planting of reggae music, so it was with a “special joy” that singer, Duane Stephenson, packed his bags and journeyed with the Wailers to Brazil at the end of April.

An eight-city tour, which started in Curitibra and spanned through the capital Brasilia, Salvador, Porto Alegre, and on to Brazil’s famous Rio de Janiero, among other cities, was the perfect way for Duane to spend 12 musically exhilarating days.

Duane had received his South American baptism on a previous sojourn to that continent, which had also included performances in parts of Central America, all of which helped to lay the foundation for his memorable return visit. Despite putting in some hard work at building his career there, even Duane himself has confessed that he was surprised at the vibrant welcome he was given by his growing fan base in the Americas.

“At all of the shows, I did my own solo set which lasted for 35 minutes each, and I must say that the response was fantastic. Although the official language of Brazil is Portuguese, the fans knew my songs and were singing word-for-word. It’s a wonderful feeling to plant seeds and go back and reap the fruits,” a very appreciative Duane explained. He added that the album that is still doing amazingly well for him in that territory is his debut, August Town, however, reggae music lovers in Brazil have started to rock to some of the singles from his sophomore offering,Black Gold. 

According to Duane, his best memory of this trip was his performance at the Bahia CafĂ© Hall in Salvador to a sold-out audience that just could not get enough of his music. “This is not just great for me, it feels good and looks even better for reggae music. Singers like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Jimmy Cliff are the real icons down there, but Ky-mani Marley also has a huge fan base and Tarrus’ music is becoming increasingly popular. 

So, it is shows that reggae definitely has a future and so too dancehall because artistes like Shaggy, Sean Paul and Busy Signal are being embraced by South American fans. It’s up to us to nurture this emerging market, stamp our name on it musically and really help it to grow. In the long run, we will all benefit,” the reggae singer declared.
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