Manager extraordinaire passes
Howard Campbell, Gleaner Writer
Zola Burse, who worked as a tour manager with several reggae artistes, died Tuesday morning in a Fort Lauderdale, Florida hospital at age 69.
Mervis Walsh, manager to singer Beres Hammond, told The Sunday Gleaner that Burse died from a diabetes-related illness. She said ill-health had forced him to leave his duties as Hammond's tour manager in July.
Walsh described Burse as a "special man".
"He loved to work, once you met Zola you would not forget him," she added.
Burse was born in Memphis, Tennessee and worked in the music industry since the early 1970s. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, he worked on major American events such as the Grammy Awards, Soul Train Awards and American Music Awards.
The last 30 years saw Burse heading his Zola Burse Productions company which was based in Florida. It focused on reggae events and artistes.
He worked as a production man with the Reggae Sunsplash USA and the Spirit of Unity tours, but was best known as tour manager for various reggae acts including Hammond, Maxi Priest, Big Mountain and Buju Banton.
Burse is the latest reggae personality to die this year. Singers Sugar Minott, Gregory Isaacs and Keith Stewart, and producer Sonia Pottinger, also died.
Zola Burse is survived by four children.