Wed | Oct 23, 2019

Sizzla ‘happy’ for Grand Gala honour

Published:Sunday | August 4, 2019 | 12:19 AMShereita Grizzle - Staff Reporter
Sizzla
Sizzla Kalonji
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Miguel Collins, more popularly known as Sizzla Kalonji, is one of two entertainers who will be honoured by the Government at this year’s staging of the Grand Gala on Independence Day, August 6. Kalonji will be recognised, alongside Rita Marley, for his outstanding contribution to music. The Minister of Culture, Entertainment, Gender Affairs and Sport, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, made the announcement during a post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House late last month.

Speaking with The Sunday Gleaner about the recognition, the Dry Cry singer said the honour gives him a feeling of fulfillment. He said that as an artiste, his work is more about the people and the award is testament to the fact that he has reached many over the years. “It gives an awesome feeling knowing that the truth is being recognised and held in high esteem as I’m not working for myself, but for the liberation and redemption of my people and any accolades being given to me was all because of the high discipline of self and the persistence of duty on the cultural path,” he said.

Great meaning

Kalonji also said that any recognition in music is held in high regard but says this one holds a greater meaning as it is one coming from his people. “It means the whole world to me coming from my nation,” he said, pointing out that the occasion also makes the moment extra special. “Coming from a nation with love on such a day, in such a season, means everything. Being acknowledged is being loved and accepted by the people through the blessings of the Most High.

It can’t be any better and it doesn’t get any bigger, than me standing in front of all those who I’ve been singing for and their children, families, and friends over the years of my musical journey. These are my people of African descent who have been following me and supporting me. How can I not be happy about it?”

The entertainer, who has a career spanning more than two decades and a catalogue that includes more than 40 albums, says he believes the honour is fitting based on the message he has been sending through his music.

He explained that as someone who has sought to uphold the country’s cultural standards, the recognition goes hand in hand with his mission as a musician.

Kalonji joins a growing list of artistes who have been honoured at the annual national event. Past honorees include Jimmy Cliff, Freddy McGregor, Marcia Griffiths and Damion ‘Junior Gong’ Marley.

Booked to perform at this year’s event are Marion Hall, Cocoa Tea, and Sister Pat. It is expected to be a huge spectacle with the budget for this year’s event exceeding that of 2018.

Last year’s Grand Gala cost $79 million while this year’s celebrations have a budget of $85 million.