Omari Banks has gone from playing cricket in Anguilla and around the world to playing Reggae on the main stage at Artscape in Baltimore.
On Sunday, July 23, 2017 Banks has scheduled an hour-long performance beginning at 3:30 p.m. at the festival which attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators each year.
“This is my first time at Artscape and I’m really excited to perform on the mainstage as I’ve heard that it’s an amazing atmosphere and I look forward to experiencing that,” said Banks, who, in 2003, became the first Anguillan to play test cricket for the West Indies.
Test cricket is the longest form of the sport of cricket and is considered its highest standard, according to information found on various sports-related websites.
Test matches are played between national representative teams with what’s called “test status,” as determined by the International Cricket Council. The two teams of 11 players compete in a four-inning match, which could last a week.
“Playing cricket for the Caribbean team – the West Indies Cricket Team – was almost every kids’ dream growing up,” Banks said.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time doing so but the passion to get better every day dwindled and I started playing the guitar more than wanting to bat or bowl so I knew it was time to move on,” he said.
Banks said he became immersed in songwriting and perfecting his musicianship and dedicated his himself to playing which led to his debut album, “Move On.”
In his biography, Banks said he wanted to take his music to an international market and use his gifts to make a positive impression on individuals everywhere.
“Being someone who has already traveled the world with sports, I’m able to have a broader perspective than a lot of other people,” he said.
“I can communicate to all levels of thinking from a child to an adult and my music is ageless and really touches lives because the stories are true and it talks about what’s really going on,” Banks said.
The New York Times noted that the Reggae singer sounds like “a cross between Bob Marley and Bob Dylan,” while Vibe Magazine said Banks has a voice as “calming as chamomile and charisma that bubbles like a champagne toast.”
He’s not just a dynamic performer— Banks writes and composes most of his own songs and between his music and his magnetic mojo, one of Anguilla’s most beloved talents has the makings of an international superstar, reviewers at Vibe Magazine said.
Banks said fans will be in for a treat at Artscape, America’s largest free arts festival, attracting more than 350,000 attendees over three days.
The festival features more than 150 fine artists, fashion designers and craftspeople; visual art exhibits on and off-site, including: exhibitions, outdoor sculpture, art cars, photography and the Janet & Walter Sondheim Prize; live concerts on outdoor stages; a full schedule of performing arts including dance, opera, theater, film, experimental music and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Also featured at Artscape are family events such as hands-on projects, demonstrations, competitions, children’s entertainers and street theater; and an international menu of food and beverages that’s available throughout the festival site.
It’s estimated that Artscape has an economic impact of $28.5 million for Baltimore.
Those factors only contribute to Banks’ determination to wow the Artscape audience.
“They can expect a happy island feel with a bit of rock and soul,” he said. “I try to speak positive through my music.”
Banks will also draw on the inspiration he gets from his home.
“Anguilla is a beautiful island in the North-Eastern Caribbean with the population of barely a small town in most countries,” he said. “But, we are a people of passion, pride and happiness, not forgetting our beautiful beaches that are second to none.”