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Reggae Month celebrations under way today

Published:Friday | January 29, 2016 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle
Ken Boothe

The ninth staging of the annual Reggae Month celebrations got under way today with a church service at the Praise City International Centre in Trench Town.

The Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) has announced that the theme for this year's celebrations is Reggae Mekyah, which serves to highlight the country as creators of reggae.

The 2016 Reggae Month calendar of activities has been set, and some of the events that will be featured throughout the month-long celebrations are the Reggae Open University, the JaRIA Honour Awards, and Reggae Wednesdays. The latter will commence on February 3 at Mandela Park in Half-Way Tree and will feature performances by Lloyd Parks and the We The People band, Ken Boothe, U-Roy, Big Youth, BBC 1Extra DJs (Toddla T/ Seani B/ David Rodigan), Akwaaba Drummers, Grace Thrillers, and Stone Love (Wee Pow).

The signature event will take place at the same venue every Wednesday for the entire month of February and will feature some of reggae's biggest entertainers each week.

For 2016, the JaRIA Open University will seek to remain true to its name as a forum to engage the community on topics affecting the creative industry, focusing on music in particular. The sessions will take place every Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., in the Vera Moody Concert Hal, School of Music, at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. The talks open on February 2, with conversations on the implications of the Creative City status for Kingston and the nation at large and will continue on February 4 with a debate on the issue of foreign reggae acts outselling local acts.

The month-long celebration will also include JaRIA-endorsed events such as the Bob Marley celebrations at the Bob Marley Museum on February 6 and the Bob Marley Tribute concert on February 7. The annual Dennis Brown tribute concert will be held at the waterfront, downtown Kingston on Saturday, February 27.

Reggae Month will then officially culminate with the JaRIA Honour Awards on February 28 at the Courtleigh Auditorium. There, 24 individuals from 17 categories in various sectors of the music industry will be honoured for their outstanding contributions to music. Persons interested in viewing the full calendar of events can do so by visiting

The announcement of this year's Reggae Month theme is coupled with news that Kingston was named as one of the 47 creative cities in the world by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. The country was specifically named for music.