Reggae Month's focus being expanded
Olivia Grange said "from my vantage point as Minister of Culture and the minister with responsibility for entertainment, I believe that the month was not as celebratory as last year's observance. The main focus seemed to have been educational and retrospective. Resource availability seemed to have been a major constraint, as sponsorship was very hard to secure. Even that which was committed came very late in the day".
She added, "Reggae Month requires greater planning, collaboration and promotion. Nonetheless, JARIA's efforts this year, along with other industry stakeholders, must be applauded, given limited resources. I hope that, eventually, all reggae music lovers worldwide recognise that 'the Mecca' for Reggae is celebrating reggae every year, and that the world will plan to be here for it".
Despite the less celebratory atmosphere, Grange did acknowledge some of the events that were a stand-out for the month including the EME Awards, Fi Wi Sinting Festival, JAAVA tribute to the King and Crown Prince of Reggae (Bob Marley and Dennis Brown, respectively), the JCDC/Bob Marley Foundation lecture series, the Reggae Film Festival - which has attracted entries from a number of countries - and last night's Jamaica Recording Industry Association (JARIA) Honour Awards.
JARIA head Charles Campbell pointed out that a lot of the popular Jamaican songs have been scored and even some of the creators are hearing them for the first time with an orchestra.
Reggae Month's scope is also being expanded, as reflected in its slogan. So the first year's was 'To The World' and this year's is 'To The Root'. Next year's will be a fusion of the previous two, 'From The Root To The World'. "We will be focusing on the international dimension, yet maintain our focus on places like Edna Manley and Alpha to show the linkages that make the music as popular as it is," Campbell said.
For this year, though, Campbell is satisfied "we have now started to repatriate our musical birthright".
- KH and MC