by Emmanuel Joseph
Photos by Donnie Greaves
It was standing room only, as close to 1,000 people “flooded” into the Sanctuary Empowerment Centre on Country Road, St. Michael last night to hear and see Leroy De Warrior Brathwaite perform and be part of what seemed to have become a craze among Christians to symbolically sprinkle the blood of Jesus “all over” the various evils and challenges confronting them, their loved ones and society in general.
De Blood, one of the tracks from De Warrior’s album, When Yuh Bless Yuh Bless, is a driving soca song, so infectious and filled with instructions, that hundreds of Christian music fans follow this dynamic gospel artist, just to make “these” gesticulations of sprinkling and covering themselves and others around them with “blood”.
The Sanctuary was all but literally burst with singing, dancing and waving worshippers of all ages, races and physical conditions, most adorned in “something” red. There were even some patrons with braided red hair or red flags. While all the songs on De Warrior’s album are hits with many, none has taken on the kind of lure and contagion as De Blood.
“I came for De Blood,” some people were heard saying.
From the time the name of this former self-confessed drug trafficker was announced, no one in the assembly was sitting. The place was transformed into a noisy worship party of rocking bodies, with children, teenagers, the middle aged and even senior citizens getting in the act.
It was De Warrior’s night in concert, where he had such guest acts as Sister Marshall, Allison Norville-Forde, Neesha Woodz, Gozzy, Takera Alleyne, Keann Browne and the Youth Synergy Worship and Warfare Dancers. De Warrior, formerly Daddy I-Roy in the secular realm, teased the audience with a few lines of De Blood at strategic points during his two-part set, before bringing the curtains down with it.
But in the meantime, there was no stopping of the verve and energy he injected into his “subjects”, whom he had eating out of his hands all night long. It was an unbelievable sight to see an entire congregation in unison, simply going crazy for more of this artist, undoubtedly the most inspiring and appealing performer in the gospel music arena in Barbados and one of the best anywhere in the world. No joke.
Other songs from his album, which also had people going wild, included I Won’t Go Back, dedicated to his dead mother, Jesus Is King and Only One Name.
Before the concert was scheduled to begin, scores of patrons who arrived at least 15 minutes to half hour before, could not find a seat. When the ushers at the door informed them they would have to stand, some of them were heard to say, they did not want back their money, they just wanted to go in and hear De Warrior.
While some others were upset they had tickets but could not get a seat, they still went in and evidently enjoyed themselves. Of note is the fact that all of De Warrior’s songs are done in the Caribbean musical idiom.
He told the audience that next year, he hopes to take his concert to the Wildey Gymnasium. He is not only an exceptional performer, but an artist who has a “real” message in all his songs and inserts terse and profound portions of Scripture and commentary during bridges in his renditions. All who attended last night’s concert, must have left the Sanctuary Empowerment Centre covered in blood — the blood of Christ. email@example.com