Fri | Feb 23, 2018


Published:Friday | November 4, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Monty Alexander standing in front of the famous Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City.
From left: Stephen Marley, Damian Marley, Hans Mullings and Baby Cham at last year staging of BRT Weekend in Florida, USA.


Monty Alexander plays The Pegasus in December


After his successful annual Chesapeake Bay Festival and a concert at the South Miami Dade Cultural Centre tomorrow, Jamaican-American pianist Monty Alexander will make his way to his hometown, Kingston, Jamaica, to do a concert for the Christmas holidays. The event will be held on Sunday, December 11, starting at 7 p.m. in the ballroom of The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston.

The concert is being presented by the University of the West Indies (UWI), under the distinguished patronage of the Most Honourable P.J. Patterson, former prime minister of Jamaica and patron of The UWI's Global Giving Programme, and Sir Hilary Beckles, vice-chancellor of UWI.

Named 'Home for Christmas', the concert will see the silvered-haired musical icon and The Harlem-Kingston Express (named after his award-winning album) breaking his 10-year absence on the Kingston entertainment landscape.

His international success, spanning his five-decade career, has not waned Alexander's love for Jamaica, as he said while being interviewed recently on the Miami-based radio programme, 'Caribbean Riddims', hosted by Eddy Edwards: "Without Jamaica, I would be nothing. It is a heritage and culture that's into my soul and being in a very deep way. I was given a musical gift wrapped up in the whole spirit of mento and ska, which is the cornerstone behind the music of jazz ... This has given me the freedom to explore all types of musical expressions," Alexander said.

Among Alexander's many accolades is Commander of the Order of Distinction for outstanding services to Jamaica as a worldwide music ambassador.

In the Hal Leonard's 2005 book, The Fifty Greatest Jazz Piano Players of All Time, Alexander was listed among the top five jazz pianists. In 2012, he was awarded the prestigious German Jazz Trophy - A Life for Jazz - and in the same year received the Caribbean American Heritage Luminary Award.


No-Maddz represents Kingston in Japan


The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport has announced that popular eclectic reggae band No-Maddz is representing Kingston at the World Music Festival in Hamamatsu, Japan, between November 2 and 6.

No-Maddz's trod to Asia to participate in the festival is endorsed and facilitated by the ministry.

"We are proud to be participating in this cultural exchange programme and delighted that No-Maddz was selected to perform at the festival. Jamaica has a rich and pervasive musical culture, and it's always great when our artistes, are given an opportunity to represent Brand Jamaica and to showcase their talent. We're confident that No-Maddz will fly the Jamaican flag high and represent us well," said Olivia Grange, minister of culture, gender, entertainment and sport.

The World Music Festival will feature artistes from 12 UNESCO creative cities of music, including Kingston, sharing their unique genres globally while promoting cultural diversity and the limitless potential of music to nurture social cohesion and intercultural dialogue.

Lead musician of No-Maddz, Sheldon Shepherd, said, "We are happy and honoured to represent Jamaica as cultural ambassadors and to share the music that unites us. To be selected to participate at the World Music Festival 2016 is indeed another special occasion where we get to share the music of Jamaica to the rest of the world. We hope to represent our musical city, Kingston, well."

No-Maddz's participation in the World Music Festival represents the third cultural exchange of Jamaican artistes this year by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport. Peter Ashbourne, Duane Stephenson and the Ashes Band represented Kingston in Poland and veteran artiste Freddie McGregor represented Kingston in Columbia as part of the cultural exchange programme supported by UNESCO when the Jamaican capital became one of 18 creative cities of music.

The Creative Cities Programme was created in 2004 as an initiative to gather cities of diverse regions, income levels, capacities and populations to work together in the field of creative industries. The designation recognises cities as parts of creative hubs that promote socio-economic and cultural development that connect culturally diverse communities to create healthy urban environments.


BRT weekend on in Florida


The Caribbean-themed BRT Weekend, which is in its fifth year, is on in the Florida Keys this weekend with a series of all-inclusive events between Key Largo and Islamorado.

The beach trip weekend shifts into full gear today with a Hawaiian-themed party and rounds off with an all-white event on Sunday. Organiser and promoter Hans Mullings said "We are really, really excited. For the fifth year, we are going to add a lot of accents. We are adding dancers, flame throwers, drummers, to name a few things."

Mullings said 'Xtreme Wet and Wild', planned for day two, is one of the biggest events of the weekend and is similar to the annual 'Xtreme Wet and Wild' party which he and his business partner, Paul Matthews, started in Jamaica.

Partygoers can expect to enjoy music from selectors such as Chromatic, Jazzy T, Coppershot, Dutty Dexx, Nicco, Private Ryan, to name a few, and guest entertainers such as dancehall artiste Konshens and soca artiste Kes.