CPR Reggae

CPR Reggae

CPR Reggae

Monday, 10 December 2012 18:03

UTECH Honors Industry Stalwarts

Former Jamaica Prime Minister Edward Seaga (third from right) and recipients of the University of Technology’s Chancellor’s Medal at the Courtleigh Auditorium Saturday. From left are Monty Blake of Merritone sound system, Basil Walters (representing the Press Association of Jamaica), producer Bunny Lee, Jamaica Federation of Musicians president Desmond Young, Mary Isaacs of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association, Frankie Campbell of the Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes and Affiliates, Lester Sterling of The Skatalites (with medal), Tommy Cowan of the Jamaica Music Society and Ronnie Burke of Synergy, founders of Reggae Sunsplash. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

INFLUENTIAL persons from the Jamaica music fraternity walked the red carpet Saturday at the Courtleigh Auditorium in St Andrew, where the University of Technology (UTech) saluted the local music industry with its 2012 Chancellor's Medal.

The Chancellor's Medal was presented to institutions and individuals in recognition of their contribution to the development of the country's popular music.

 The event's significance was repeatedly emphasised by respective speakers. Among them, UTech president Professor Errol Morrison, who made an economic statement.

"The music data of 2005 demonstrated that Jamaica's music industry contributed 4.8 per cent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product)."

Former Jamaica Prime Minister, the Most Hon Edward Seaga (Chancellor of UTech and pioneer record producer) who conceived the ceremony, made presentations to the Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes and Affiliates (JAVAA), Jamaica Music Society (JAMMS), Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA), Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers (JACAP), Jamaica Federation of Musicians (JFM), and the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ).

Veteran record producer Edward O'Sullivan 'Bunny' Lee, Ronnie Burke, promoter/cofounder of Reggae Sunsplash and Monte Blake, a member of the legendary Merritone sound system, were also awarded.

Accepting respectively on behalf of JAVAA, JAMMS, JaRIA, JACAP, and the JFM were Frankie Campbell, Tommy Cowan, Mary Isaacs, Steve Golding and Desmond Young (JFM president).

An All Star Band set the musical tone with renditions of The Skatalites' Freedom Sounds, Garden of Love and Confucius while Sarina Constantine literally set the place on fire with Millie Small's My Boy Lollipop. The energetic Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts student not only offered sweet vocal synchronisation of the 1964 ska hit, but expertly executed dance moves from the era.

Percussionist Calvin Mitchell teamed with spoken word trio No-Madzz in tribute to the Ffolkes Brothers and Count Ossie with Oh Carolina. No-Madzz appeared several times, paying homage to dub poet Mutabaruka with Butter Pan Culcha.

Singing Melody went over well with Desmond Dekker's Poor Mi Israelites. One Third, with keyboardist Chis McDonald playing U Roy, rocked the auditorium with Wear You to the Ball. They returned for a salute to The Mighty Diamonds with their rendition of the trio's I Need a Roof.

Bob Andy was present to see singer Natel give a pleasing performance of his classic I've Got to Go Back Home. Mr Vegas was soulful with his take on Alton Ellis' I'm Still in Love, a performance which moved co-compere Hector Wheeler to comment: "Thank you Mr Vegas. We know Alton Ellis is smiling in Zion right now."

Along with Mitchell, violinists Nicholas Larague and Mijan pulsated the venue with Jackie Mittoo's Drum Song. Upcoming singer Keisha Petterson gave a remarkable interpretation of Ken Boothe's Say You and Iba Mahr thrilled with Black Uhuru's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and Bunny Wailer's Ballroom Floor.

Tarrus Riley followed the same vein with Bob Marley's Soul Rebel and Peter's Equal Rights.

The Crown Prince of Reggae was not left out. Duane Stephenson captivated the audience with Dennis Brown's Love and Hate (Here I Come) ahead of a solid spin on Beres Hammond's Rockaway while Michael Sean Harris lived up to his growing reputation on Third World's Try Jah Love.

Ikaya was superb in her tribute to Marcia Griffiths, performing Stepping Outta Babylon.

The function closed when Harris and Patterson were joined by the UTech Choir for a rendition of Jimmy Cliff's Many Rivers to Cross.

Reprinted with permission from Jamaica Observer

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/entertainment/UTech-salutes-music-industry-in-fine-style_13181126#ixzz2Eh37MPdc

Monday, 10 December 2012 17:34

Rave Reviews for Culture Salute

By Marjorie Flash

This year’s Reggae Culture Salute presented by the Coalition to Preserve Reggae (CPR) proved to be as gratifying as it had in prior years. Luciano”s highly-energized performance conveyed a clear message that he was back.
Backed by the multi-talented Anthem Band which included members from Japan, Haiti, Guyana and Trinidad, Luciano dug deep in his treasure chest to deliver some soulful, spiritually uplifting hits to an eager and excited audience hanging on to every note. A riveting dance routine by eight-year-old Douglas Baldeo, on his way to being the next Ben Vereen, got everyone’s attention.

The roots and culture show kicked off with well-received performances by Nyabinghi drummers Ark Angels, Tayazawan from Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica’s Major Daps, Sister Cindy and Major One. Roots reggae artist Ossie Dellimore, who hails from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with his band Soldiers of Justice gave an enjoyable set of conscious roots music reminiscent of Bob Marley’s style.

Luciano, already honored with multiple awards, was presented with a Congressional Proclamation -- the highest honor that the U.S. Congress bestows on an individual, by U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke. Jamaica Consul General Herman LaMont, and the Hon. Dr. Una Clarke.

CPR president Carlyle McKetty also presented Luciano with the organization’s hoghest honor, the Pinnacle Award, for his years of dedication, consistency and commitment to spreading the positive message of roots reggae music.

At the end of the award ceremony, a surprised and speechless Sharon Gordon was also presented with a Congressional Proclamation for the many years of dedicated service and commitment to CPR’s preservation of reggae music.

Reprinted courtesy of Caribbean Life Newspaper


Monday, 10 December 2012 16:48

Luciano Honored

Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter

Reggae Culture Salute to raise money for Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music

Having headlined the first two stagings, singer Luciano will be making his grand return to Reggae Culture Salute in New York next weekend.

The event, which is the main fund-raising activity for the non-profit organisation - Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music (CPR), will be held on November 3 at Nazareth High School, Brooklyn, New York.

CPR's chairperson Sharon Gordon told The Gleaner Luciano was at the first two stagings of the event that began in 2004.

Following several years of absence from the show, Gordon says Luciano will be honoured on his return.

"People would always ask when we would bring him back. I saw him when I came to Jamaica. The time was right, the day was right and he agreed," she said.

"We announced it and started doing early promotion. There are people calling us and saying how excited they are. He (Luciano) personifies Reggae Culture Salute."

Sole honouree

Unlike previous years where more than one artiste was honoured, Gordon says Luciano will be the sole focus this time around. Therefore, he will be the only person receiving the Pinnacle Award.

"This year, Luciano will be honoured. We want it to be centred on him. He deserves that," Gordon told The Gleaner.

In addition to honouring Luciano, Gordon stressed that the aim of the event is to increase understanding of the development and significance of reggae music, which culminates in an event commemorating the November 2 1930 coronation of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia and Empress Mennen. She said the event underscores the unique relationship between reggae, Rasta, Selassie and Jamaica.

However, Gordon explained that one does not need to be Rastafarian to be a member of CPR or attend the event.

In addition to being honoured at the event, Gordon says Luciano is scheduled to do a workshop with students from Nazareth High School on November 2.

Also on the line-up is Mr Vegas, who will be paying tribute to Jamaica for getting to the milestone of 50 years as an independent nation.

"His set is the part of the show that we will be celebrating Jamaica 50 from his album Sweet Jamaica. He is going to show patrons that side," said Gordon, while noting that patrons should not come to the event expecting to hear Bruck It Dung, because Vegas will be performing more positive songs like Sweet Jamaica, I Am Blessed and Rise Again.

But Vegas and Luciano are not the only performers on the show. She said there will be performances from other acts like Ossie Dellimore, Major Daps, Tayazawan, Tony Rankin, Sister Cindy, Major 1, Anthem Band and others.

Now a family event with patrons from various states, Gordon said the event will also be accessible online via a pay-per-view stream.

Going forward, the organiser said she hoped the event would be sold out and that more children and young adults would attend so that knowledge could be passed on. In addition, she said she was hoping to see a more diversified audience.

Monday, 10 December 2012 15:50

Views on the News

By Sharon Gordon

News that the General Assembly at the United Nations voted resoundingly in recognition of Palestine as a non member observer state on Thursday, November 29 was quite symbolic.

It was exactly 65 years ago that the very body voted on the 1947 partition plan. Celebrations around the globe for the Palestinians especially in Ramallah in the West Bank had many seeing this as a step forward.

News of IsrealÕs Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denouncing Mr. Abbas’ speech at the UN as a”litany of libellous charges against Israel” was no surprise. One perspective is that of Prof.

Joseph Olmert who calls it ‘A major success for Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority (PA), an embarrassment to PM Netanyahu and Israel, a potential problem to Hamas and altogether an event whose actual, continuing impact is yet to unfold.’

On the other hand, Netanyahu’s spokesperson, Mr. Regev told the BBC that, “This is negative political theatre that takes us out of a negotiating process. It’s going to hurt peace.” A sentiment echoed by the Obama Administration.

Then there is Joseph Mossad, writing in the Guardian that, “The UN vote to recognize Palestine legitimizes a racist status quo.” He further states that, “There’s a bitter irony in the UN’s recognition of a much diminished Palestinian state on the anniversary of its 1947 partition plan” when the Palestinian state was much greater than it is today.

Nonetheless, the Palestinians can now take part in UN debates and potentially join bodies like the International Criminal Court. During his presentation, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said it was the “last chance to save the two-state solution” with Israel.


Many New Yorkers are still feeling the impact of super storm Sandy one month since the Hurricane devastated areas of the North East.

In speaking with residents of Breezy Point, Coney Island, Staten Island and the Rockaway’s, the complaint of not being able to return to their homes, many of which have been labeled as uninhabitable due to mildew and mold, is a major point of contention between residents and FEMA authorities.

The Federal Emergency Manage-ment Agency (FEMA) has been overwhelmed with the number of submissions they have received. Recovery is slow and steady and in areas like lower Manhattan, where generators have become ubiquitous along the streets with cables snaking in and around buildings to provide power.

Companies like JP Morgan Chase and the New York Daily News have been forced to operate from satellite offices as their head quarters are still inoperable.

Good news The good news is the various community groups, local churches and schools who have been working assiduously in getting well needed assistance and donated goods, to those most in need, in the affected areas.

kudos Congratulations to Patrick Maitland, the Jamaican-born publisher of Street Hype Newspaper, and Trinidadian born, Colette Cyrus-Brunette, CEO of NY Super Wings on their recognition by the Society for the Advancement of The Caribbean Diaspora (SACD) on Saturday, November 17 at the Brooklyn Campus of the Long Island University at their 4th annual Awards Dinner and Gala under the theme “Celebrating Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago 50th Independence and Progress”.

SACD is a non profit organization with a mission to engage the communities of the Caribbean Diaspora through exploration of common interests and concerns by utilizing collective resources to ensure the welfare and advancement of the Caribbean Diaspora.

Reprinted courtesy of the Jamaican Gleaner Company


Wednesday, 04 July 2012 14:18

Jamaica 50th song controversy rages on

Jamaica 50th song controversy rages on

by Sharon Gordon

Like so many others I too was startled when I first heard the driving technobeat of the Shaggy produced "On a Mission" deemed the "Official Song" for Jamaica 50 at an official launch held in Jamaica on June 15th. The event was sponsored by KFC where the marketing material stated, "Welcome to the nationwide launch of the official Jamaica 50 song presented by KFC. This is a collaboration like never before featuring some of Jamaica's best artists, Shaggy, Beres Hammond, Romain Virgo, Tifa, Tessane, Assassin, Damian Marley, Chevelle Franklyn, Tarrus Riley and Wayne Marshall."

Apparently copies of the single are to be given away free at KFC locations with the purchase of a special “Jamaica 50 meal” island wide, starting July 10. Are we missing something? Didn’t we already have a Jamaica 50th song that was released last October? According to Mickey Bennett, who wrote and produced the song, “Find a Flag In Your Heart,” he was approached by the then government to write a song. The veteran producer says that at first there was some disagreement over the costs until he and the artists decided that they do the song for free. That song features twenty artists, including Bunny Rugs, Ken Boothe, Beres Hammond, Chevelle Franklyn, Coco T, Freddy McGregor, Marcia Griffiths and others. However, after the elections in December, the song was shelved. Of course many of the artistes who had spent hours working with him on the song are now calling asking what was happening. As a result of the intense backlash,
the Secretariat released a statement saying, “it is aware that the “synchronised national airplay” could have created some misunderstanding in the minds of members of the public.” In addition, Minister of Culture, Lisa Hanna went on air to assure the masses her ministry “does not intend to, or designate an official or national Jamaica 50th song.” There seems to be a serious disconnect
as members of the public are rightly asking about the “official launch, the synchronised launch of the song on radio and the KFC campaign”.

But the Secretariat continues to say, “It does not intend to, ordesignate an official or national Jamaica 50 song, having received several excellent compilations from many of our talented artistes and musicians both locally and in the Diaspora, to support different messages.” “When were they going to tell the public of these plans?” asked a bewildered Janice Cooper, who has plans in place to be on the ground in Jamaica for the big celebration. “We are weeks away and we can’t agree on an official song?” Yes, with weeks to go before the grand celebration on August 6 and many Jamaicans continue to be up in arms about the Shaggy song. “It simply does not represent Jamaica,” said Michelle Anderson, a radio deejay in Mount Vernon, New York. “We are Jamaica, land of Reggae, Ska, Mento, Dub and Dancehall and have a computerised techno song as our official 50th song?” Record Producer, Chris Thomas, adds, “They should have used the Mickey Bennett song; it’s a much better song to represent Jamaica’s 50th. It captures the essence of our struggle and accomplishments.” This controversy continues as many have taken to fa c eb o ok
and Twitter to express their disappointment and outrage over the song. Andrea Seymour tweeted, “Theme song, original song its’ the same thing. Dem tek wi fi eediat!” “It’s time to stop all this talk and put pen to paper, hands and heart together and truly make our country proud. I am positive we can do this.” While Diane Campbell’s tweet said “My contention with the Shaggy song begins and ends with the quality very, very poor.” To make matters worse, Project Director of Jamaica 50 Secretariat, Robert Bryan revealed that they had paid J$1.7 million for the “On A Mission” song, which veteran musician Ashley “Grub” Cooper says is “excessive”. The founding member of the band, Fab 5 says that even if he inflates the prices attached to producing a single, the cost would
be much less than J$450,000. He says the government will have to account for the additional cost. What is most disappointing is that Hanna and Bryan had an opportunity at the outset to admit that they had handled the whole affair poorly. They should have apologised to the nation instead of pointing the finger and employing political machinery, which sent a message that people are
dumb and don’t know what’s good for them. Both of them are now left with egg on their faces. It’s obvious that people are not buying the “official line” and without a doubt, Hanna has suffered a damning blow to her credibility. Attorney Lloyd Stanbury sums it up well on his blog “The vast majority of comments and reactions to what is now being described as the “JA 50 Song Controversy” clearly show that Jamaicans are seriously divided along political party lines.” The industry insider pointed out that, “Instead of celebrating together as a nation that has accomplished a tremendous amount for which we should all be proud, we have been preoccupied with casting blame at each other based on our political party affiliations and preferences.”

What’s your view?

Heartbeats of the World celebrate milestone with Monty Alexander


Many jazz lovers were inside the Merkin Concert Hall on Wednesday, June 6, to pay tribute to Jamaican born pianists Monty Alexander on the occassion of his birthday and his 50th year of being in music. In addition, the Who’s Who among Jamaicans in New York turned out to celebrate the island’s 50th anniversary of Independence and the 10th anniversary of Heartbeats of the World with Monty. Heartbeats of the World, founded by Dr. Karlene ChinQuee to “enrich the lives of women, adolescents and children by providing medical resources as well as educational opportunities” to help address poverty and so much more were the beneficiaries of the evening’s grand affair. Flying in from Jamaica courtesy of VP Records to celebrate with Monty were saxophonist, Dean Fraser and singer, Tarrus Riley known for his uber popular song, She’s Royal. Dean Fraser opened with his rendition of the Ras Michael classic, No n e a Jah Jah Children an especially fitting transition from the Heartbeats of the World documentary chronicling their 10 year journey. In introducing Tarrus Riley, Dean told the audience, “Him love sing so much, them call him, Singy Singy.” Folks from St. Thomas were especially proud as Tarrus walked confidently on stage and greeted his audience saying, “We are confident in the victory of good over evil.” He opened with Lion Paw as he congratulated Heartbeats of the World and Monty Alexander on their milestone achievements. When Dean played the first few bars of Tarrus’s mega hit, She’s Royal the audience erupted. By this time, the house was ready for the maestro to take the stage but before that could happen, there were several awards and acknowledgements that had to be taken care of. Conroy Allison replaced Bob DeSouza as master of ceremonies.

Awardswere bestowed on Jamaica’s former Consul General to New York, Dr. Basil K. Bryan who receivedhis award from Vincent HoSang, founder and CEO of Caribbean Food Delights and a member ofthe Honorary Committee; Monty Alexander received an award from Pat Chin, founder of VP Records and Co-Chair of HOW; Miss Pat, (Pat Chin) was surprised when she was presented with an award by Dr. Karlene ChinQuee, President and CEO of HOW; Stephney Kirkpatrick, executive Director of Bridging the Gap/Seeds of Hope, HOW’s education program in Jamaica, received an award from Thelma Johnson, mother of Dr. ChinQuee and a member of the Benefit Committee; The Consul General of Barbados, Lennox O. Price and Haiti’s former Consul General to New York Harry Fouche who now heads up the Haitian Empowerment organization also received awards. Also receiving awards were Lehman College Student, Philip Lewis who received the Karlene ChinQuee Future Leaders Scholarship Award. Philip who was referred by Canon McIntyre was pleased to see that Canon McIntyre was himself a recipient of a check for his “Carpenter’s Kids” in Africa. It was now time for the man of the moment. The energy inside the Merkin Concert Hall was positively radiating. Monty walked out on stage to thunderous applause and modestly thanked everyone for coming out. He shared that he “discovered Swing as a youth visiting Carib Theatre,” and spoke of meeting and playing with “the greats like Louis Armstrong and many others.” In the middle of his presentation, the audience broke out in a spontaneous chorus of “Happy Birthday to you.” Monty smiled, sat down at the Steinway Grand Piano and began to play a few bars of “happy birthday.” This soon moved into an up tempo mento piece. Monty was accompanied by upright bass and drums. The perennial Rookumbine was followed by a slow moving piece then a medley where Monty gave us Chopsticks, Young At Heart and Fly Me To The Moon. At this point Monty invited the other musicians back to the stage. This included Courtney Panton on Congas, Andy Bassford on Bass, a drummer and a keyboardist as well as Dean. They delved into a Monty original, Strawberry Hill then incorporated the reggae beat into the movement; it was magical. This was followed by the ska classic, Gu n s o f Na v a r o n e where the audience was treated to a syncopation, alternating between the reggae infused Drum and Bass and the traditional jazzy vibes of the upright bass, drums and piano. When Monty took up his Melodica and broke out into thepopular folk song, Linstead Market the audience squealed with delight. Swaying out on stage was Miss Mattie Lou from Portland, dressed like a market woman in Jamaica’s national colors of black, green and yellow and carrying a basket of goodies on her head. The audience enjoyed the banter with Miss Mattie Lou and joined her in singing the classic Jamaican folk song, Day Oh. Monty then closed out with another original composition, The Ri v e r. He eased into Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On and then invited his wife Caterina Zapponi on stage to sing the words of The River. It was a beautiful way to close out an exquisite evening. Among the many dignitaries in the audience were Jamaica’s new Consul General to New York, Herman LaMont; Jamaica’s State Minister in the Ministry of Tourism, Damion Crawford; Caribbean Food Delights’ Sabrina HoSang; VP Records’ Chris Chin; Christopher Roberts of the Door; Dolly Williams of Williams Construction; Bishop Sylveta Hamilton-Gonzales founder of MACADEMY School of Science and Technology; Karlene Largie, President of UJAA; Lance Clarke, CFO of Team Jamaica Bickle; Lady English owner of Fountain Pimento Oil; Claudette Powell, President of Jamaica’s Nurses Association; Dr. Karl and Faye Rodney of Carib News and Robert Longman, Esq.

**Reprinted with kind permission from the Weekly Gleaner***

Monday, 25 June 2012 17:53

02 Arena line-up earns Dancehall's ire

02 Arena line-up earns Dancehall's ire

Published: Sunday | June 24, 2012

Artistes claim Respect Jamaica 50 concert doesn't truly represent Jamaican music history

Davina Henry, Staff Reporter

The celebration on everybody's lips are those surrounding Jamaica's 50th anniversary.

One event in the Golden Jubilee celebrations that has been getting attention is the 'Respect Jamaica 50' concert series to be held in London's O2 Arena between July 25 and August 6.

The concert will be put on by AEG Live and will feature some 50 Jamaican artistes, dub poets and bands.

Noticeably absent from the 'Respect Jamaica 50' line-up are dancehall artistes.

In a recent interview with a television station, Rob Hallett, president of AEG Live stated that dancehall music did not work everywhere.

"I'm very pleased to see reggae coming back with the reaffirmation of Morgan Heritage, young bands like Raging Fyah. I think it's a good thing for the music globally because dancehall doesn't really work everywhere. I, personally, love it, but it's not the kind of music that is consumer-friendly as a Raging Fyah who, to me, follow in the footsteps of Bob Marley," Hallett said.

Dancehall and reggae artistes alike, are, however, not pleased with the concert line-up.

Veteran dancehall artiste Bounty Killer told The Sunday Gleaner that the absence of dancehall acts was disrespectful.

"God go wid dem. Jamaica land we love same way, big disrespect that still," Killer told The Sunday Gleaner.

Artiste Konshens, also echoed this sentiment.

"I think that's a slap in the face to all dancehall artistes. Whoever a organise dat nuh appreciate wha dancehall do over the years. Dem nuh respect dancehall artistes fi wha dem do over the 50 years since Jamaica got Independence," Konshens said.

Artiste Mr Vegas stated that although reggae music is the umbrella from which much of our music is derived, dancehall has still played a vital role in Jamaica's culture.

"Reggae music is the umbrella. Sean Paul, Beenie Man and others go out in the world and promote dancehall artistes worldwide, it is ridiculous not to have dancehall artistes on the show. It is ok for the organiser to have a preference, but for him to do that is just ridiculous. Dancehall is a part of Jamaica's culture," Vegas said.

Also noticeably absent from the line-up was the presence of women, an issue pointed to by reggae singer Queen Ifrica.

According to Queen Ifrica, she, along with Tony Rebel were booked for the show but were later dropped from the line-up.

"We were supposed to be on that show and they took us off. Copeland Forbes was the one who consulted with us, and then we didn't hear anything after that. Jamaica is celebrating 50 years so there must be stages to the line-up. Queen Ifrica fi deh pon a show like that. Etana, Tanya Stephens and Lady Saw should also be on that show. Where are the artistes like Everton Blender, Anthony B, Capleton, Sister Nancy, Brigadier Jerry? Where is I-Octane and Assassin?"

Queen Ifrica went on to say that even artistes such as Potential Kidd should be represented on the line-up.

"In 2012, you should even have Potential Kidd representing this stage of the business. You can't leave anything out. Dem need fi stop trick the Jamaican people into denying themselves," Queen Ifrica said.

Artiste Tony Rebel told The Sunday Gleaner that dancehall should have been included in the line-up to enforce the point that dancehall music does not have to be negative.

"Dancehall is a product of Jamaican music. Those who exclude dancehall are very wrong. There are positive aspects of dancehall and it should be represented in the show. It looks like the era of the 1980s-2000s are missing from the line up. I would have loved to see Cocoa Tea, Lt Stichie, Admiral Bailey and Tony Rebel on that show."

"I don't see why I'm not on that line-up. I think those who made the choice could have done better consultations. Mi deh London right now and me did a look forward fi deh pon the show. We deh ya a represent Jamaica right now, so why we can't represent Jamaica 50?," Tony Rebel inquired.

Spice thinks the line-up showcased that Jamaica does not support dancehall music.

"It's a depressing feeling. This country does not support dancehall music, so when other countries don't support it, what is left for me to say? We don't celebrate or support dancehall music and it is a part of our culture," she said.

**Reprinted with Permission from The Gleaner Company**


Portia and Quao

Charles HE Campbell

Sunday, June 17, 2012

FROM the early 1930s through the 70s, disparate strands of the national decolonisation movement including elements of the Jamaica Progressive League, Marcus Garvey's United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), and People's Political Party (PPP) along with many creative workers, such as thespians, actors, writers, visual artists, novelist and musicians — helped to develop the People's National Party and its programme and were later subsumed by it.

Through institutions like Jamaica Welfare and the hard work and perseverance of people like, Tom Girvan, Louise Bennett, Ranny Williams and a host of others, whom may not wish, at this time, to have their affiliation made publicly known, because our politics have become so tribal, the PNP played a pivotal role in facilitating Jamaica's cultural/artistic indigenisation, evolution and development.

Both Norman and his son Michael Manley, certainly understood the role and potential of popular culture, and the latter used it to his maximum benefit. His 1971 musical bandwagon was the most extensive island wide tour of Reggae artistes and musicians up to then. It was during the younger Manley's first term in office, when People's freedom of speech was given more latitude, that Reggae music and other popular cultural forms really synthesised, blossomed, gained the attention of the world and began to flourish internationally. The nucleus of our modern, creative-cultural industries went through its initial birth pangs, taking distinct shape and form.

Inexplicably, during their second stint in office, the PNP seemed befuddled by the increasing commercial success that the industry had achieved during the 80s. Its failure to register the Jamaica Reggae brand and protect our intellectual property as well as establish an Entertainment Encouragement Act, squandered the potential that the music industry created for the country to encourage and facilitate major investments, and the repatriation of considerable foreign exchange, generated in the international market place. In fact, although I was disappointed with how much they achieved, if one objectively compares the JLP's 2007 and 2011 manifestos with the PNP's, in both instances, one would have to concede, that the JLP's showed a better grasp of the status quo, and what was required to "tun up d ting".

Knowing that there are senior people in her party that are sceptical about the industry's real potential, I was taken by complete but pleasant surprise therefore, to hear the Prime Minister's announcement of the proposed National Commission on Cultural and Creative Industries, and the excellent rationale and terms of reference given for its establishment. To quote her, "whether it is our music, our cuisine, our dance and other forms of our artistic expression, they all represent significant value with tremendous economic potential". She went on, "this Commission will assist the government in establishing the enabling policy and legislative frameworks to maximise the benefits of the Cultural and Creative Industries".

Although di harse dun gawn tru d gate, betta late dan neva, this would be a quantum leap forward. The Prime Minister, however, needs to know that, given the PNP's recent history of inaction in this area, there are many naysayers within the creative sector. This is evidenced, for instance, by the almost total lack of public discussions on this potentially game-changing announcement. The industry is taking a wait and see attitude; action speaks louder than words... and please keep the charlatans and dilettantes off the commission.

On a more imminent matter, the Charles Town Maroon Council will be staging their 4th Annual International Conference from Thursday June 21st to Saturday June 23rd in Charles Town, Portland. Nineteen scholars from around the world will present papers on issues including Maroon history, identity, politics, culture and gender studies. On Quao day, June 23, the Nanny Quao Abeng Award will be presented to the granddaughter of the late Paul Robeson, on his behalf. This is an annual celebration of the Maroon Warriors' victory over the British troops in the final battle of the 1st Maroon war at Spanish River, which led to the signing of the 2nd peace treaty with the Maroons in 1739.

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Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/entertainment/Portia-and-Quao_11721819#ixzz1yqJB8mUa

**Reprinted with kind permission from the Jamaica Observer**

Tuesday, 19 June 2012 09:07

Negative Reactions to Jamaica 50 Song

Negative reactions to Jamaica 50 song
Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter

Not only has there been a controversy from a political standpoint but many Jamaicans have expressed displeasure, at the Orville ‘Shaggy’ Burrell-produced ‘On A Mission’ song that is being used by the Jamaica 50 Secretariat, as part of their new marketing campaign.

The song, which premiered on Friday at 4:15 p.m. on most radio station, has spurred numerous comments from Jamaicans, some of whom believe the song isn’t representative of the Jamaican culture.

On A Mission features acts like Chevelle Franklin, Damian Marley, Beres Hammond, Romain Virgo, Tarrus Riley, Wayne Marshall, Tessanne Chin, Assassin, Tifa and Shaggy.

While aspect of dancehall can be heard in the song, techno and soca beats are also present.

Since its premiere, there have been discussions on the Internet.

“This JA 50 song is gonna have to grow on meh! I know a hit when I hear one, and this doesn’t sound like one #justsaying,” one person said on social networking website, Twitter.

Another person, who was more receptive of the song said, “Ja 50 song have a vibes still, mi like it, from wha mi hear so far Jr Gong and Tifa tek it still.”

There were even some persons who liked the song but not as an official Jamaica 50 song.

“Every time I listen that I’m on a Mission song, I think it’s great for clubs and sporting events for Ja50 but not a classic song,” the comment said.

On YouTube, persons were a lot more vocal and even angry about the song in some cases.

“Please don't try to brand Jamaica with Techno music. I thought Jamaica was all about reggae music…smh,” one person said.

Another comment was, “production doesn’t fit its purpose nor reflects the unlimited available musical talents, if you ask me.”

“Is this a joke? This is wicked prank. It's a scandal!!!! The cultural superstate of the world and this is what we produce? Sly n Robbie, Bobby Digital, Coxsone Dodd, please do something about this. Not even a live Reggae rhythm? Shame shame. Me can't believe. Techno mix? Get the hell outa here,” another person who viewed the video added.

While there were a few who liked the song, most persons said it doesn’t fit the roots and culture of Jamaica especially due to the absence of a reggae beat.

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**Reprinted with permission from the Gleaner Company**

Plans are in high gear in United States for the biennial conference of the Jamaica Diaspora Northeast Region from June 15 to 16 in Boston. Under the theme: ‘Jamaica: The Pursuit of Fellowship and Prosperity – The Next 50 Years’, the event will address some key areas of concern for Jamaicans in the region as well as those at home.  Topics for discussion include education, human rights, tourism and trade and investment.

Chairman of the Northeast Diaspora Board, Patrick Beckford, said that as Jamaica celebrates its 50th year of Independence this year, “the region is committed to galvanizing the community to utilise the vast skill sets that the Diaspora possesses in the continued development of Jamaica”. He is calling on every Jamaican to attend the conference to discuss how best to channel their resources for nation building.

The two-day conference kicks off on Friday, June 15 at 6:30 p.m., with a free reception and community event at Island Pride Function Hall, 986 Blue Hill Ave, Dorchester.  Keynote speakers for the evening will be the New York Consul General, Herman LaMont and the newly appointed Honorary Consul in Boston, Desmond McKenzie, Esq. Mr. Lamont will be accompanied by staff members to address passport issues and other consular activities.

On Saturday, June 16, which will be celebrated as Jamaica Diaspora Day, a plenary session is scheduled to take place at the Reggie Lewis Center. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. A.J. Nicholson, is expected to deliver an address, and attendees can expect to be updated on the Jamaica Diaspora Bond. Conference organisers are hoping that the Minister will use the opportunity to underline the government’s commitment to the growth, involvement and engagement of the Diaspora. A senior representative of the US State Department will be part of a discussion panel on human rights issues.

Advisory Board Member for the region, Irwin Clare, Sr., stated that “both from a government and community stand point, it is critical that at this juncture of our golden jubilee, we as a people stop the habit of finding excuses as to why we cannot be engaged and become more active, because it is only when we stand together as a community, that much will be achieved”. The conference is open to all Jamaicans in the US and information on the conference and registration details can be accessed at www.jamaicadiaspora.org or by calling 610-940-1716. Cost is $35 per person and $20 for students with identification.
By Derrick Scott (Washington, DC)

*Reprinted with permission from JIS (Jamaica Information Services)

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