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The Voice

Heineken Startime at century mark
published: Friday | November 26, 2004

Mel Cooke, Freelance Writer



WHEN KEITH Brown of MKB Productions opened Wednesday night's pre-Heineken Startime 16 Celebration Party gathering at the Asylum Night-Club in New Kingston, he put the occasion in historic perspective right away.

"We are here to mark a special time in the history of MKB and Startime. We have reached the landmark of 100 shows," he said.

And indeed, the magical figure, treasured by cricketers and people alike, was replicated in tinsel all over the just reopened Asylum.


That 100th celebratory show, dubbed 'Feel Like Jumping ­ It's Party Time' is in the making for the Mas Camp Village on Oxford Road in New Kingston next week Saturday, December 4, with Marcia Griffiths, Bob Andy, Leroy Sibbles, Owen Gray, U-Roy, Nicky OJ, Half Pint and the Mighty Diamonds, supported by Lloyd Parkes and We The People band, who have done over 90 per cent of the Heineken Startime shows.

Never one to rest on its laurels, the following Saturday, December 11, Heineken Startime 101 goes to the Caledonia Court Plaza in Mandeville, Manchester ­ which is in keeping with the concert series' development, as Mandeville was the first place that the good cheer was spread to when MKB took Heineken Startime out of Kingston in 1999.

While the start of Heineken Startime out of an after-work jam at the Oceana Hotel in downtown Kingston on June 30, 1988, has been well chronicled, Brown told the story of how Gregory Isaacs became the first performer on the series ­ almost by accident. "John Holt should have opened Startime, but he missed his flight coming from England.

We got in touch with Lloyd Parkes and he said he and Gregory were going to do a show in Portland, so we asked him to drop by," Brown said.

There have been no accidents since, on a series which grew from Oceana to the Mirage Night-Club in Liguanea, then to Peppers on Upper Waterloo Road, then over to the Countryside Club in Half-Way Tree, then to its present home at the Mas Camp Village.


There was, however, a historic year in 1999, when Monty Morris was brought back for his first performance in 30 years, Culture appeared on Startime for the first time, Dennis Brown did his final major concert appearance on Startime's first 'road trip', to Mandeville, Dennis Walks' son joined his father on stage and did the first strictly dancehall performance on the concert series and there was the first rain stoppage, when the second half of one show at the Countryside had to be cancelled.

Jamaica Federation of Musicians president (JFM), Desmond Young, addressed the matter of what will or will not be considered vintage music in the future. "We have to be mindful that every generation has its likes ­ There are those who argue that of the current music we listen to there will not be much to celebrate as oldies, but I disagree.


Every generation gravitates to what they listened to when they were young," he said. In light of recent developments, Young said "We at the JFM are at one with the position of the government in being against violence in music ­ We have joined recently with the Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of Health to have this matter addressed" Minister of Industry and Tourism, Aloun Assamba, also addressed the matter of lyrical violence.

"This launch comes at a time when concern is being voiced about some of the lyrics in our popular music. I want us to look at ourselves and ask what roles we have paid by omission or commission to make violence and profanity such a revered topic for some of our entertainers," she said.

She said that harmonious relationships in business, politics and homes will be reflected in our popular music.

"We must make the decision to reject these aspects of violence, as they are not helping us to lift ourselves from the quagmire of poverty and ignorance," Assamba said.

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