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Gleaner Honour Awards - MARCIA GRIFFITHS, CD: LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FOR ENTERTAINMENT

Published:Thursday | January 22, 2015 | 1:00 AM

A solid pillar on which Jamaican music stands

Like fine wine, Marcia Linneth Griffiths does not age, she simply mellows into a rich, savoury delicacy. And so does her voice.

For
more than 50 years, Griffiths has wooed, captivated and mesmerised her
audience in and out of Jamaica. It was, therefore, fitting and
appropriate that the distinguished beauty would stand on a ceremonial
stage to soak up national accolades in 2014 - the appropriate recipient
of the Jamaican Order of Distinction (Commander class).

To many of
her people on the rock, the international songbird - who was born in
humble settings on November 23, 1949, to emerge as the indisputable
'Queen of Reggae' - was a heroine.

Griffiths, regaled for her
silky tone, smooth-as-mousse love songs and captivating live
performances, has been rising to new heights from the day she was
discovered as a resident in West Kingston.

Starting her
professional career in 1964, the extraordinary singer soon crooned her
way to stardom. Her superlative performance, even as a young girl,
fascinated her audiences to the extent that she was offered recording
contracts from more than one of the top producers of the day.

Matured
and mellow over an extraordinary half a century, in January last year,
Griffiths, the mother of two, announced that as part of her 50th year in
the music business, she would be releasing an album of cover versions -
a fittingly crowning moment in the momentous career of the queen.

For
her remarkable, consistent, professional and excellent contribution to
the development of Jamaican music over the years and being a solid
pillar on which reggae music continues to stand internationally, The
Gleaner Company is honoured to present Marcia Linneth Griffiths, CD,
with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Entertainment.


Singing Marcia's Praises

FREDDIE McGREGOR - veteran singer/chief executive officer, Big Ship Records

Having collaborated on songs like Give Me Your Heart and United We Stand, Freddie McGregor says the only word to describe Marcia Griffiths is 'excellent'.

"Me
and Sister Marcia work a lot. She is the finest female left in our
music industry. We are very protective of her and we always try to look
out for her," said the veteran singer and producer.

"When we look back at the work of Marcia, we can't say anything but excellent. We applaud Sister Marcia in every way."

McGregor
said he has toured with Griffiths extensively and truly admires her as a
musician for her ability to remain consistent for decades.

"She
has made one of the greatest marks as a female. She remains steadfast
with us and, when it comes to longevity, she stands the test of time.
She is consistently working and touring, and that is a rare feat for an
artiste of her calibre and age group," he said.

And like most of her colleagues, McGregor believes she deserves all the recognition she has received.

CHARLES CAMPBELL - executive director, Jamaica Reggae Industry Association

With Marcia Griffiths' career spanning more than 50 years, Charles Campbell, executive director of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA), believes she has made a huge mark internationally.

"I think her mark is even broader than the reggae industry. Female artistes all over the world look up to Marcia as a standard to work towards in terms of stage craft, her immaculate appearance and her professionalism," said Campbell, who has worked with Griffiths for numerous events.

"She is one of those pillars on which reggae went international. I can't think of any other act - male or female - which has done duets with every succeeding generation of artistes. What is unique about Marcia is that she has always kept herself current."

He added: "Marcia is richly deserving of all the awards and honours she has received over the years. I am very proud of her. She has been a goodwill ambassador for Jamaica for the past five decades and JaRIA is proud to have her as a lifelong member."


DONOVAN GERMAIN - chief executive officer, Penthouse Records

When
Marcia Griffiths walked into his recording studio 28 years ago,
Penthouse Records chief executive officer Donovan Germain had no idea
that he would still be working with her today or that they would become
such close friends.

In 1986, Germain recorded Everywhere
with Griffiths. By this time, she had already had much success as a solo
act and had been a member of the I-Three, backing singers for Bob
Marley and the Wailers.

"It was the first time we did a song
together. It was a dream working with an icon like that. As a producer,
you saw that you were lucky to work with Marcia. I cherish the
relationship we have together. She brought a lot of attention and
credibility to Penthouse," he said, adding that she has made an
immeasurable and indelible mark on the music industry.

Since that first encounter, they recorded numerous songs, including Fire Burning, I Shall Sing and Land of Love. He has also produced five albums for her and is currently working on a new one.

Having
worked together for decades, Germain said it was a joy producing her
songs because she is a beautiful singer and they share common beliefs.

"She believes in the things that I bring to the table. In music, once there is a certain chemistry, you stay with it," he said.


Between 1974 and 1981, Marcia Griffiths was a member of the I-Three - a
trio of backing singers which supported the formidable Jamaican group -
Bob Marley and The Wailers.

So revered is Griffiths
internationally that a Brazilian documentary film about Griffiths,
'Reggae Meets Samba', started production in December 2013.

In 1968, Marcia Griffiths recorded her first success as a solo artiste,
'Feel Like Jumping', that, like many of her other early Studio One solo
hits, including 'Truly' and 'Melody Life', was written by Bob Andy.