Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Gold for Sly and Robbie

Published:Friday | October 30, 2015 | 10:00 AM
Dr Ralph Thompson (left) receives the citation for his Musgrave Silver Medal, awarded for his work in literature, from Lisa Hanna, minister of youth and culture.
Governor General of Jamaica Sir Patrick Allen (centre) laughs as he is flanked by drummer Lowell ‘Sly’ Dunbar (left) and bass guitarist Robbie Shakespeare after they received Musgrave Gold Medals in the field of music at the Institute of Jamaica, East Street, Kingston, on Wednesday.
Lisa Hanna (right), minister of youth and culture, presents silver Musgrave Medal awardee Donnette Zacca, for her work in photography, with a citation at the Musgrave Medals Awards ceremony, held at the Institute of Jamaica, East Street on Wednesday.
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Lowell 'Sly' Dunbar and Robert 'Robbie Shakespeare are not new to receiving prestigious awards. Still, the musical duo was overjoyed after being conferred with the Musgrave Gold Medal at the Institute of Jamaica, downtown Kingston, on Wednesday.

Professor Rupert Lewis, deputy chairman of the Council of the Institute of Jamaica, read a citation describing Sly and Robbie as the most prolific, diverse, and dynamic rhythm and production duo of all time. Playing for popular bands such as The Aggrovators and The Upsetters, among others, between them, Sly and Robbie have produced over 200,000 recordings, making them the Jamaican instrumentalists with the greatest international fan base, recognition, critical acclaim,

commendations, and citations. They are also recipients of two Grammy awards.

One half of the musical twin, Sly Dunbar, indicated to The Gleaner that passion and fans' respect are critical to their success.

"You just go to the studio and work very hard because you love what you do, not really to get awards. And so, it's always a good feeling when we realise that the work is being recognised in this way," said the dynamic drummer.

"When the citation was being read, we felt really good because our love for the music is over the moon. I am really happy that people appreciate and love the music. This success did not happen overnight, and we didn't achieve this by ourselves. It is the love of the people and a hard-working team that continue to push us, and we have to give thanks," Dunbar said.

He also issued a word of advice for persons wanting to become involved in the music industry.

"You have to love it and be dedicated. Success won't happen overnight, and sometimes the long hours that you have to put in can impact your family life, so you have to be committed," Sly declared.

Professor Orlando Patterson, who could not attend the ceremony, was also conferred with a Musgrave Gold Medal for his contribution to literature. Six persons were awarded Musgrave Silver Medals: Patricia 'Patsy' Rickets for her Contribution to Dance, Dr Mryna Hague-Bradshaw for her Contribution to Music, Donnette Ingrid Zacca (photography), Errol Charles Alberga (architecture), Dr Ralph Thompson (literature), and Dr Horace Vendryes (science).

Chairman of the IOJ, Ambassador Burchell Whiteman, noted that Jamaica continued to show to the world its diverse talents. "The citations read for all the awardees should be an inspiration to many people," Whiteman said.

"It is a fact that Jamaicans appreciate artistes who have made their names across the world, and even locally, but I am still not sure if they appreciate all that goes into it. It's a lot of discipline, hard work, the commitment and thinking not just for yourself, but how is it that you impact the world. You really have to be committed to service," Whiteman said.