Reggae's day mainly outside Ja
Yesterday, July 1, was observed as International Reggae Day (IRD) across the world. And while there were several activities planned to commemorate the day, the celebrations seemed to be far more grand on the international level than it did on the local scene.
In an interview with The Gleaner from IRD 2018 celebrations at Boardwalk Beach, Portmore, Andrea Davis of Jamaica Arts Holdings, which puts on the celebration, is disappointed that the day was not better supported. No live performance event was held in the birth country of reggae for IRD 2018 and Davis says it is because of the lack of support.
"It takes a lot to maintain the excitement surrounding IRD. We sent out our proposals last year for this year and we didn't get much response. And with the little response we did get, we decided this year to scale back on the big celebration in Jamaica while we focused on the international market. Most of the attention this year has been on England, south-east Asia and so on," she said.
Davis said it is unfortunate that the international market seems to have a greater appreciation for reggae music than Jamaica.
"I think to an extent sometimes we can't see the obvious when it's right in from of our faces. It is unfortunate, because there's so much more that could be done with our music and culture. But everything takes a vision, a commitment and investment and we just have not been able to do that," she said.
"Like everything else, resources are available but they are selectively applied. But if Jamaican people want to do something we will do it and the love for the music is still here so all is not lost. We bobsled without snow, so we can make anything happen with the right support. Right now other people are more open to doing the things that need to be done for reggae than we do."
Davis is open to forging new partnerships in a bid to make IRD in Jamaica stronger. However, in light of the current environment, she and her team are focused on building where the climate is open to growth and development.
OPEN TO PARTNERSHIPS
"I have confidence and faith that this generation coming will have the curiosity and the creative instinct to not only look forward but to look where they are coming from. We welcome any company which is open to doing something to contact us. We're always hoping to establish new partnerships and building new relationships," she said. "However, right now we're focused on building something solid where it is being more readily received and that is overseas."
Davis also wants the media to play a more integral role in IRD. "We want media in Jamaica to participate not just as third parties reporting on what we doing, but as content developers who are able to create experiences through the power of media. We want to work on building that media power in Jamaica over the next few years," she said.
With yesterday also marking the anniversary of Dennis Brown's death, the Prince of reggae's work dominated the consoles at Boardwalk Beach and the turntables at IRD celebrations across the globe. Davis said Brown's music always plays an integral role in IRD's festivities. She described him as a reggae legend and said that although Brown has transitioned, his music lives on.