Wed | Nov 25, 2020

20 years of Tribute to the Greats - Anniversary staging takes place Aug 5

Published:Tuesday | July 18, 2017 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke
Kingsley Goodison with newspaper reports of previous Tributes to the Greats events at 2A Stratham Avenue, St Andrew, on Monday evening.
Nadine Sutherland
Count Owen (left) and Kingsley 'King Omar' Goodison at Monday evening's launch of Tribute to the Greats 20, held at 2A Stratham Avenue, St Andrew.


Kingsley 'King Omar' Goodison got a first-hand view of Jamaican popular music in the making from his childhood family home on Studley Park Road, St Andrew. He describes it as being a major gateway to a number of communities, among them Craig Town, Jones Town, Trench Town, Hannah Town, and West Kingston in general.

"On a Sunday evening, you could hear the sound systems," Goodison said.

These areas were part of the nucleus of Jamaican music, whether informal or organised into institutions such as Boys Town, Goodison identifying singers Bunny and Scully, Alton Ellis and Delroy Wilson among those associated with the famed youth development programme.

From seeing people go past his home (Goodison speaks about seeing a musician "in him suit, with his saxophone, going out to work" at places like the Baby Grand in Cross Roads), he has organised for many of Jamaican popular music's pivotal figures to take a short walk from their seats to receive awards at the annual Tribute to the Greats event. The 20th staging takes place at Curphey Place, Swallowfield, on Saturday, August 5.

This year's honorees are Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, Dr Omar Davies, Dennis Thompson, Michael Thompson, Jerry Small, Nadine Sutherland, Count Owen, Alphanso Castro, Martin Williams and Calvin 'Bubbles' Cameron.

Goodison, who constantly credits his wife, Rhonda, as his foundation, said "for someone to be doing something for 20 years consistently," there must be a strong sense of purpose. He speaks about seeing people who never thought they would be recognised publicly for their contribution to Jamaican popular music walk upright and firmly with a renewed sense of pride on the night of the awards ceremony.

"It is not a for profit organisation," Goodison said, noting that the persons who are recognised, have made positive contributions to Jamaican popular music. "On that (point) I am happy," he said.

In addition to crediting Tribute to the Greats for the work it has done, guest speaker at the recent launch, Dr Clinton Hutton, noted the absence of a well equipped performance space in Jamaica.

"We can't be so big in music globally and not have a concert hall," Hutton said, "We cannot be so big in music and have a apace recognised globally as the Jamaica Music Museum.," he said, noting the contribution Jamaica popular music has made to the country's identity and international recognition.