August 11, 1995 in Seven

Jumbalassy Moves To Top Billing

Joe Ehrbar Correspondent
 

Opening for some of the biggest names in reggae music is nothing new to Bellingham reggae/soca/world music hybrid Jumbalassy.

Tonight, the band was to kick off the Lucky Dube concert at The Festival at Sandpoint.

Suffering from exhaustion from extensive touring, however, the South African Dube has been ordered by his doctor to cancel some concerts, and he won’t be coming to Idaho.

Instead of replacing the headliner with another internationally acclaimed reggae band, festival organizers decided to give both slots to Jumbalassy, one of the regions biggest reggae music draws.

“We like to play longer than shorter, because it gives us the opportunity to build the mood of the crowd,” said bassist Jeff DeMelle. “We do a pretty wide range. We do some old ska, we do some reggae, we do some soca. If you only have 40 minutes, you can’t give all of that to the people.

“Hopefully, people will still come even if they haven’t heard of us,” DeMelle said. “I think people who would like Lucky would like us.”

Now, most people, even reggae fans, might be unfamiliar with this talent and a little skeptical about shelling out $7.50 a ticket for this band.

As a reggae fan who has followed the genre for more than a decade, let me tell you Jumbalassy is well worth the price of admission and drive to Sandpoint.

Jumbalassy is one of the few homegrown reggae bands that captures the true essence and spirituality of the music.

Jumbalassy doesn’t play fraternity house, white boy reggae. The octet’s sound is authentic and its knowledge of reggae music runs deeper than that of Bob Marley and the Wailers. Much of this can be attributed to opening for the likes of Burning Spear, the Wailers, Eek-A-Mouse and numerous others.

Over the years, a few of the group’s current and former members emigrated to the U.S. from the Caribbean, thus broadening Jumbalassy’s sound. Its current lead singer, Alex Duncan, moved to this country from the island of St. Kitts two years ago.

Aside from melding various reggae styles such as roots, dancehall and lovers rock, Jumbalassy also works in ska, calypso and soca. Whereas most bands might sound unfocused employing all those styles, Jumbalassy smartly weaves them together.

“Warning: Live Jumbies” stands as the group’s most recent effort. The band will record a new one some time before the end of the year.

What makes Jumbalassy such a huge draw in this region is its frenetic live show. The band is continually invited to play large outdoor festivals. In Spokane, the band has performed at Pig-Out in the Park and at Neighbor Days.

Those holding Lucky Dube tickets who don’t want to go to Jumbalassy can exchange their tickets for a full refund.

If you bought tickets at the Festival at Sandpoint office, you must take the tickets back there for a refund. Tickets purchased through G&B; Select-a-Seat can be exchanged at the G&B; office on West Mallon, next to the Spokane Arena. If you acquired tickets from a non-G&B; outlet, you must return them back to the Festival at Sandpoint office.

Those who want to see the show can get a refund for half the ticket price by filling out a form at the gate. A refund will be made by mail.

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Jumbalassy Location and time: Festival at Sandpoint, tonight, 7:30 Tickets: $7.50

This sidebar appeared with the story: Jumbalassy Location and time: Festival at Sandpoint, tonight, 7:30 Tickets: $7.50


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