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Celine Dion and local artistes shine at Jamaica Jazz and Blues festival

Nous t’aimons! Or “We love you” in English. That became the sentiment from Jamaican fans at the end of a thrilling three day Jamaica Jazz and Blues 2012 festival, capped off by the effervescent presence of French-Canadian songstress, Celine Dion.

The Grammy-winning sensation graced the Greenfield Stadium in Trelawny late Friday night; her first ever performance on Jamaican soil. As Dion entered the stage, shouting “Hello Jamaica!” she immediately garnered several shouts of appreciation from the locals as the prominent singer opened with her classic single, I Drove All Night.

Dion made her debut performance in the island count as she sparked memories with hits like Beauty and the Beast, Where Does My Heart Beat Now and Because You Loved Me, which triggered a slow dance session amongst the patrons. Additionally, Dion shared the stage with Jamaican Reggae singer, Diana King, who recently returned to the island to unveil some new projects. King and Dion unleashed a rousing duet with the performance of Treat Her Like A Lady.

Dion’s hour-long set featured four costume changes and even a wardrobe malfunction as a short gold mini dress she rocked on stage accidentally flashed fans looking below. Nevertheless, it was Dion’s performances that proved more eye-popping as she sang more classics such as It’s All Coming Back To Me Now, All By Myself and the resoundingly popular soundtrack of the classic Titanic movie, My Heart Will Go On.

Overall, Dion’s experience with Jamaican fans proved enjoyable as she even expressed regret for not visiting the island sooner.

“I have some making up to do for all that lost time. I can’t believe we’re really here in your beautiful country; the home of the great Bob Marley, the best place on earth to get an amazing plate of jerked chicken!” she said during her performance.

Furthermore, Dion wished fans a Happy 50th year of Independence as they showered her with love throughout the set.

Earlier that night, Dancehall/Reggae superstars, Shaggy and Richie Stephens were honored following strong performances of their own. After performing several of his classics alongside fellow artistes, Rayvon and Rik Rok, Shaggy received an award from Jazz and Blues organizers, honoring his contribution for promoting Jamaican culture worldwide. Meanwhile, Stephens, who performed Live Your Life alongside German Reggae star, Gentleman, copped an award celebrating his nearly two decades of contributions towards Jamaican music.

Local Reggae superstars such as Tami Chynn, Tessanne Chin, Christopher Martin, Damian Marley and Etana gave strong accounts of themselves on stage during the event as well as Dancehall stalwart, Agent Sasco and Dancehall patriarch, Yellowman who performed classics such as I’m Getting Married, Zungu Zungu Zeng, amongst others.

Veteran Reggae acts such as Half Pint, Maxi Priest, George Nooks, John Holt and Marcia Griffiths also proved their capabilities with strong sets. Griffiths, Holt and the aforementioned Yellowman each were honored for their abilities to pave the way for today’s generation of Dancehall/Reggae artistes.

Celine Dion wasn’t the only overseas-based superstar to leave an indelible mark on Jazz and Blues as Canadian songstress, Jully Black, Trinidadian soca superstar, Destra Garcia, American R&B superstar, Cee-Lo Green as well as Heads of States (consisting of former New Edition members) all dazzled the Greenfield Stadium stage.

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