Raggamuffin: Maxi Priest brings surprises

By Kristin Macfarlane

Maxi Priest is issuing a guarantee to those attending Rotorua's Raggamuffin festival - you'll enjoy yourself and there will be surprises.

Priest is one of the international artists part of the Raggamuffin 2011 line-up at the Rotorua International Stadium this Saturday.

This year's festival will be the second at which the British artist has featured.

Other international artists performing include headliner Mary J Blige, Jimmy Cliff, The Original Wailers and Ky-Mani Marley. Sean Paul is no longer part of the line-up.

Priest, who is one of the most successful reggae fusion acts of all time, is excited about the line-up and will be checking out the other performers at the fourth annual Raggamuffin festival - especially Jimmy Cliff and Mary J Blige, for whom he has a lot of respect.

"I'm honoured to be in their company and being part of that," Priest told The Daily Post.

He knows his music is appreciated in Rotorua, remembering from previous visits the locals "appreciation for reggae music".

He was looking forward to being back in Rotorua this weekend and said his performance at the festival would be interactive.

"Everybody's going to enjoy themselves," Priest said.

"I will be bringing some more surprises. We like to get everybody involved."

Priest is one of only two British reggae acts to have an American Billboard number one - for the track Close to You.

He has recorded top 10 duets with Roberta Flack and Shaggy and has worked alongside many other artists including Sly & Robbie, Jazzie B, Apache Indian and Shabba Ranks.

"Whatever I've done I've done from my heart, I've done it because it felt right," he said.

Kiwi artists performing at Raggamuffin include Che Fu and the Krates, Nesian Mystik, 1814 and Sons of Zion.

Tickets for the Raggamuffin festival are available through Ticketmaster.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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