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Kingston Music Week focuses on live music, uncovering talent

Published:Sunday | December 3, 2017 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle
Dennis Howard, general manager of radio services at the RJRGLEANER Communications Group.
Sevana (left) and Protoje in performance.

Starting today, music will be celebrated across the Corporate area, as the annual staging of the RJR/Gleaner Communications Group's Kingston Music Week (KMW) gets under way.

The island's capital will open up to visitors and locals alike for one week of musical entertainment as some of the best talent coming out of the local music industry will be on display.

Although there are only five signature marquee events this year, there will be a hub of activities taking place throughout the week, with live events being at the centre.

At a recent Editors' Forum held at the Gleaner's North Street Office, Dr Dennis Howard, general manager, radio services, RJR Group, explained that Kingston Music Week was birthed out of a need for more live-music events, particularly because the latter is one of the key things tourists expect when they visit the island.

"Music weeks are celebrated all over the world, and they are centred around cities that have a strong music history and background," he said. "When people are exposed to Jamaica, they look at culture, and they look to Kingston as the base. Kingston Music Week, is to celebrate live music in a month when we are at the peak of the tourism season," he said.

Damian Crawford, opposition spokesperson on youth, agreed with Howard, pointing out that over the years, visitors have complained about not getting enough one-on-one action as it relates to the music.

"One of the number-one complaints from visitors when they come to Jamaica is that they expect live music and didn't get enough. Once they come to Jamaica, they think every man pan di street have a guitar, and they have not been able to access that," he explained. "What Kingston Music week does is to create an avenue within one of the strongest periods of Jamaica's tourism season for persons to now use music as an attraction."

He also pointed out that in addition to satisfying the thirst for live music, KMW also provides an avenue for new talent to emerge from the abyss of talent that exists in the local music fraternity.

"What it also does is provide an output for new people (especially now that our artistes are not being allowed to travel as they used to) to get some exposure," he said. "KMW allows for these upcoming artistes to get a feel of the business and to get some training. We often talk about entertainers being 'flop' because they can't perform on a stage when there aren't enough opportunities for them to go in front of a live audience and get a feel of what that is like."

Realising that there is a gap to fill when it comes to getting fresh faces on to the music scene, Howard pointed out that KMW has taken a serious step this year to help with bridging that gap. He revealed that this year, KMW would seek to expose new talent through a signature event called Up Next.

"We have an event called Up Next, where we look at about 10 new talents that we think are really good but are not getting sufficient airplay," he said. "They are young artistes in different type of genres who will get the chance to showcase their talent during the course of the week."

Kingston Music week kicks off today (December 3) and runs until Sunday, December 9.

Below are a list of the main events for the week:

Tuesday, December 5: After 5 (Corporate Mingle) Hosted by Power106FM at the The Deck (Trafalgar Road)

Wednesday, December 6: at 3 p.m., Creative Tourism Public Forum at Technology Innovation Centre, Utech, hosted by rjr94fm.

Wednesday, December 6: UP NEXT by fame95fm1 at Triple Century Sports Bar and Lounge (New Kingston).

Thursday, December 7: Hitz At The Mill at Reggae Mill Bar (Opa Greek Restaurant at Devon House) Hosted by hitz92fm.

Friday, December 8: Dance Xpressionz Dance Workshop located at Phoenix Theatre.

Friday, December 8: RETV Unplugged, hosted by RETV

Join us as we invite you to "awake the sleeping giant" that is creative tourism in Kingston.

Some of the other events that will be highlighted throughout the week are Whoppinz Thursdays, Weddy Weddy Wednesdays, and Uptown Mondays.