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Honours to greatness at 52nd Jamaica Independence Ball

Published:Saturday | August 16, 2014 | 8:00 AM
The Skatalites in earlier years. - Contributed
Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph (left), her mother, Ivy Ralph (centre), and Christine Steele, CEO, Fly Jamaica Airways, at the 51st Jamaica Independence Anniversary Ball at the Hilton Hotel, New York City, on August 17, 2013. - Contributed
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Davina Henry, Staff Reporter

Tomorrow, legendary ska band the Skatalites will be honoured by the Jamaica Independence Celebration Foundation Inc in New York, USA, at a concert which features Fab Five Band and Etana. The event is scheduled for 8 p.m. until 3 am. at the New York Marriot Marquis, 1535 Broadway, New York, under the theme, 'Honouring Greatness'.

Special guest and presenter of awards for the evening will be the Most Hon. P. J. Patterson, former prime minister of Jamaica, who once managed the Skatalites.

Saxophonist Lester Sterling, the only surviving original Skatalites member, will accept the award on behalf of the band. Posthumous awards will go to Don Drummond, who played trombone, Lloyd Knibb (drums), Jerome 'Jah Jerry' Haynes (guitar), Jackie Mittoo (piano), Lloyd Brevett (bass and drum), Tommy McCook (saxophone), Roland Alphonso (saxophone) and Johnny 'Dizzy' Moore (trumpet).

Singer Doreen Schaffer, who joined the group after it was founded, will also be in attendance to receive an award.

The Skatalites began their storied journey in 1964. Among their recordings are Guns of Navarone, Phoenix City, Addis Ababa, Silver Dollar, Corner Stone and Blackberry Brandy.

"The Skatalites started the ska movement in the earlier years and we thought of them while discussing the Alpha Boys School and all the famous musicians that graduated from that institution. The Most Hon. P.J. Patterson also managed The Skatalites at one point, so we felt it was fitting to honour them and have him attend the ball to do the presentation. The Skatalites continue to be good brand ambassadors of music," Paulette Willoughby, chair of the Jamaica Independence Celebration Foundation, told The Gleaner.

Noted actress and singer Sheryl Lee Ralph and publishers of Carib News, Dr Karl and Faye Rodney, will also be honoured.

"Sheryl Lee has also been a very good ambassador, and we just want to honour her for her music, artistic and, most importantly, philanthropic endeavours. Dr Karl and Faye Rodney have been in the publishing for over 30 years, not just in the Diaspora but worldwide," Willoughby said.

It will be the 52nd staging of the Jamaica Independence Ball. Part proceeds will be donated to charity