Sun | Feb 23, 2020

Boney M's 'Rivers of Babylon' lights up travel awards

Published:Monday | October 25, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Boney M performing at the World Travel Awards at Sandals Whitehouse European Village and Spa last Friday night. - Photos by Janet Silvera

Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer


THE SONG that placed Boney M into the Guinness Book of World Records, Rivers of Babylon, was the one that tore the dapperly dressed men and the elegantly attired women out of their seats at the World Travel Awards (WTA) last Friday night.

Before the European group touched the Sandals Whitehouse European Village stage in Westmoreland, for what has been tagged 'The Oscars of the Travel Industry', it could easily have passed as another year and yes, another WTA award.

But the large audience that turned out to collect coveted trophies celebrated in style with the legendary Boney M, who headlined the evening's entertainment.

Since forming in 1975, the group has sold more than 800 million records, and notched up no less than 15 number ones on the European charts, including Daddy Cool, Rivers of Babylon, Brown Girl In The Ring, Rasputin and Mary's Boy Child.

Boney M, having not performed in Jamaica since the 1980s, came prepared to give a scintillating performance and that was exactly what they did.

Tribute paid to Bob Marley

Opening an impressive repertoire that speaks volumes, the group - comprising four performers, including one of its original members, Maizie Williams, Samantha Scott and Asha Castillo and male vocalist Glen Goldsmith - paid tribute to the King of Reggae, Bob Markey, by singing one of his popular anthems, No Woman No Cry.

But the real sparks from the group didn't start flying until they pulled for Rivers of Babylon. That's when the floods captivated the Sandals Whitehouse ballroom, opening all the sentiments that the people of 'Zion' have come to love over the years.

Even the woman known as the 'voice of Sangster', the unassuming Elizabeth Scotton, of Sangster International Airport could not stay still.

Scotton stood up and danced as if there was no tomorrow, so did Josef Fortsmayr, Wayne Cummings, Jennifer Griffith and Horace Phillips.

"They literally took the house down," said Exclusive Holiday's Fred Smith.

"It's the song that touches everybody's heart. Whether you are Muslim, Hindu, or Christian, it brings nations and customs together," Maizie Williams told The Gleaner after her powerful performance.

Living the life, airports and hotels, the group that is constantly touring reminisced on 1980 when they came to Jamaica to shoot their album cover in Negril.

A year later, they did a major concert in Kingston with Bob Marley for charity.

Samantha Scott's parents are Jamaicans and Glen Goldsmith's grandmother still resides in St Elizabeth.