Gregory Isaacs’ ‘Night Nurse’ to aid in COVID-19 fight
Legendary reggae singer Gregory Isaacs has left a legacy of songs that perfectly fit into the compartment dedicated to classics. It is one of these anthems that is being celebrated as colleagues of the artiste known as the ‘Cool Ruler’ – quite likely because the fedora-loving Isaacs invented swag – lend their voices to a timely project. This international collective, featuring artistes from Jamaica, Ghana, Kenya, Suriname, Nigeria, Brazil, Cape Verde, Poland, Japan, the UK, Germany, and the USA, has come together to contribute to a special single and video project showcasing Isaacs’ biggest hit, Night Nurse.
Spearheaded by Linda Isaacs (the UK) and Kirsten Uhl (Germany), proceeds from the project are earmarked to assist COVID-19 workers worldwide and entertainers whose livelihoods have been affected by the pandemic. “It is agreed that the benefit of sales, whether by video monetisation or by sales of the single release, will be reserved for funding for musicians and artistes in need through COVID-19 times globally,” Uhl, publicist for the project, said in a release.
In an interview with The Gleaner, she disclosed that all the artistes, namely Papa Michigan, Mr Vegas, Dotta Coppa, Darrio, Kenny Smyth, Rocky Dawuni, Wyre, Megumi Mesaku, Glenny, Afrikan Simba, IZA, Kayafyahouse, and Adonai, had already voiced their parts of the song. The mastering has been done, and the video shoot was completed “under coronavirus guidelines”.
The official release date on African Museum Record Label & Media is June 15.
Isaacs’ family overseas is quite excited about this Night Nurse unity video, and Gregory’s UK-based son, Junior, in a voice note, thanked a slew of persons, including Linda Isaacs, for their contribution to making it a reality. “To all the incredibly talented musicians and artistes who have created a musical masterpiece, I might be biased, but you have created something special. I mean, oonu tek a timeless classic, gave it new life, but oonu still keep the Cool Ruler swag. I tip my fedora to you, every one of you who made this possible,” he said. “To Mama June in Jamaica holding it down, we love and miss you.”
Linda Isaacs, who introduced herself to The Sunday Gleaner as Gregory Isaacs’ manager, was overcome with emotion and gave an impassioned thank-you speech praising Flabba Holt, who did the rhythm for the first Night Nurse track; Tony Owens, a company director; persons in Africa, where Isaacs has a huge fan base; companies in Europe, “which have taken the project and run with it”; and, of course, the artistes.
“No words can express the thanks I have to you for coming on board and honouring the Cool Ruler, Gregory Isaacs. This is a wonderful project, and it is such a pleasure to have all young people come on board to honour Gregory,” she said.
Gregory Isaacs would have celebrated his 70th birthday this year, and this was acknowledged at the successful Red Rose for Gregory concert staged by his widow, June Isaacs, in February. The overseas group also had plans, which included an entire year of celebration with different projects, events, and festivals globally, but the pandemic brought things to a halt.
“To cancel all was not an easy road as some projects, such as Essen’s Original Jamaican Jerk Fest 2020, took us a whole year of preparation.
We know that it is good to make plans, but sometimes, we get evil setbacks. COVID-19 entered the world and forced us on our knees, but it can’t prevent us from getting up,” Uhl stated.
The unity video for charity is their way of fighting back.
During his 40-year career, Gregory Isaacs recorded over 500 albums.
He died of lung cancer on October 25, 2010, at his home in Harrow Weald, London. The Jamaican Government accorded him an official funeral on November 20 at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston.