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Even though he croons over slow, mellow rhythms, Jamaican vocalist Luciano isn’t a formulaic reggae singer. Yes, the artist born Jepther McClymont is a Rastafarian who occasionally speaks about ganja in interviews, but his church-trained voice borrows a page from Pavarotti. He wails emotionally in a manner somewhat unique to reggae. He’s performed professionally for two decades and worked with top-name Jamaican producers on nearly 20 albums, all with seriously themed titles like God is Greater than Man and United States of Africa. Some songs, like a cover of “We Are the World,” sound overly smooth, but when you see him live, the man known as “The Messenger” delivers gospel-tinged reggae with power.
Luciano performs at 8 p.m. at the Howard Theatre, 620 T St. NW. $25–$30. (202) 803-2899. thehowardtheatre.com.