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Reggae exchange programme launched - Jamaican, Canadian companies ink deal

Published:Sunday | January 8, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Fabian Hanson (right) of Vibes Entertainment in Canada and Isaiah Laing, head of Supreme Promotions, shake hands on a deal to begin a reggae exchange programme between Canada and Jamaica at The Wyndham Kingston hotel recently.- Photo by Errol Crosby
Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter

After several years of working together, Supreme Promotions' Isaiah Laing and Fabian Hanson from Vibes Entertainment in Canada have formalised a partnership that will include an exchange programme between the two countries.

Speaking with The Sunday Gleaner recently, both parties explained that they had been working together since 2005 but had only now signed a five-year partnership to help develop young acts in both countries.

"We were chit-chatting but I didn't know he had this up his sleeve long ago," Laing said.

Hanson said the entertainers they will target will not be limited to deejays and singers only, but will include disc jocks, dub poets, and actors.

"There is talent there that needs to be developed and exposed on an international level," said Hanson, who has done shows in Canada like Platinum Party, All Black Affair, Grown and Sexy, and Shabba in Concert.

He noted that many of the reggae and dancehall acts in Canada did not necessarily come from Jamaica, but were influenced by Jamaican parentage. He added that some of these acts open reggae shows in Canada but they are not as hard-core as those based in Jamaica. Hence, he wants to bring them to Jamaica, where the reggae hub is.

As part of the development process, Laing, who also promotes Sting that was held on December 26 at Jamworld in Portmore, said they would be grooming the talent and marketing it on the international stage. This will involve the acts doing performances in both countries, as well as recordings. The first of these shows with the acts in the exchange programme will take place in Toronto in a few months.


Still early days, but Laing is optimistic.

"We would want to develop and then over another two years, we would see something major coming out of it. Once we are getting the backing from both governments, it should work," he told The Sunday Gleaner.

Laing said that more inspiration for the cultural exchange programme came after seeing some strong performances from the young acts at the recent staging of Sting.

"The young acts took Sting this year. There was never a boring act," he said.

Hanson added: "It's for the development of every and any artiste. It's for any aspect of entertainment."

Some of the acts they will be working with are Cush Hunter, Food Kartel, Blaze, Attaru and Ray-Tay from Jamaica. Acts in Canada include Isus, Esco Levi, Terminal, Grizzly Cat, and Major P.