Tribute to the Greats grown up at 21 - Awards ceremony, concert, dance for Curphey Place July 28
Kingsley 'King Omar' Goodison, who stages the annual Tribute to the Greats, says that "at 21 you are of age. You can leave your parents' house and be a man or woman. You are mature". Not that the combination of an awards ceremony, concert and dance, which comes of age on July 28, is leaving its domicile if anything, it is keeping close to home, as it will once again be held at Curphey Place, Swallowfield, St Andrew.
This year's awardees are Frankie Campbell, Eric 'Monty' Morris Snr, Mary Isaacs, the Ffolkes Brothers, Garth Whyte, Derek Stewart, Roy Black, Earl 'Bagga' Walker, Lone Ranger and Errol McGowan, with special awards going to John Livingstone McLarty (popularly known as 'John Bird') and Norman Roots of Soul (Roots of Soul being the sound system he operated).
And Goodison has no intentions of putting Tribute to the Greats out, telling The Gleaner about his pride in the impending landmark renewal. "It is 21 years and it is a big thing," said Goodison, noting that there is no other event of its kind in Jamaica with a comparable level of consistency. He continues to emphasise the impact which the awards have on recipients over 200 persons having been honoured so far. "Every year, there is somebody who shed tears of joy and that, for me, is so good," Goodison said.
The recognition is compounded by the fact that many awardees have received little or no accolades otherwise. Goodison is committed to honouring not only the well known, but also the "unsung heroes." His personal connection with the early creators of popular music in Kingston helps in the selection of awardees, as Goodison says, "I grew up in the 1950s. I have a fair idea of the people who have contributed. I lived among them."
Awardees Lone Ranger and Mary Isaacs, along with Monty Morris Jnr (representing his father), Dandy Livingstone and saxophonist Javaughn McLarty will perform in the concert segment, with Merritone providing the music for the dance.
However, there is little external support for the Tribute to the Greats coming-of-age event, as Goodison said there has been scant response to his requests for sponsorship. Conceding that it is "very difficult" to stage the event under financial constraints, Goodison said, "even at this time it is not too late for hoping the good Lord will help us and some organisation will help to make it a reality. But there is no turning back. We have to go through. Everything is in place in terms of production and the awards ceremony and the show."