Soon I will be dancing again, vows Merritone’s Monte Blake
Friends plan birthday bash and fundraiser to assist recovery process
Currently recovering from the effects of a stroke which he suffered last year, Merritone owner Monte Blake is keeping his spirits high and vows to put on his dancing shoes soon.
“I am getting better day by day. I am practising how to walk again. Soon I will be dancing again,” the sound system veteran said.
Friends and associates of Merritone, the oldest continuously playing sound system on the planet, have arranged two events – one in Florida and the other in Jamaica – to celebrate Blake’s upcoming 78th birthday and also to raise funds for his healing process.
The Florida event, themed ‘Monte Blake’s Birthday Celebration’, is scheduled for Friday, March 24 at the Captain’s Cafe in Tamarac and will feature popular DJs Fernando and Norman Lake.
The following day, the celebration/fundraiser, dubbed Merritone on the Beach, gets under way at Plantation Cove in Priory, St Ann. It will be a blend of music from Merritone’s DJs, with live performances by Gem Myers, Benjy Myaz, the Silver Bird Steel Band and the Whole Note Mento Band. Entertainers will be backed by The Skool Band.
Monte, who was in a positive mood, thanked everyone for their continued support and love, and noted that, despite his health challenges, “the party and ‘Merri’ making must go on”.
He has been very active on social media, posting videos and giving updates.
In a video on March 1, Monte shared with his followers: “It’s a beautiful night in Kingston town 27 degrees celsius when work it out in farenheit let me know. Anyway, I just want to tell you that I’m on the road to recovery and so far so good .... just have avoid the pot holes and bumps in the road. We all know from here it’s a long way and we’re not in any rush. Just want to say thanks for all the prayers, all the blessings, all the donations, verbally and otherwise ... well received. Thanks to you so much, Monte Blake coming to you live from Kingston town.”
From their Red Hills home base, his daughter Monique, managing director, Merritone Music, shared that her father, although making some progress, will still need round-the-clock care and therapy for quite a while to regain his strength and independence.
“We thank everyone for the outpouring of love and continued support during my dad’s challenging times,” said Monique.
Monte and the Blake family have dedicated all of 73 years of helping to shape Jamaica’s music and culture and bringing to the fore some of the island’s best-known singers and musicians and continues its work to support music in educational institutions.
“Merritone is just getting started ... this phenomenal legacy must continue, so look out for our new branding and activities,” said Monique.
The March month celebrations will conclude with a collaboration between Kingston Creative and Merritone bringing oldies and goodies to the popular downtown Kingston monthly Art Walk on Sunday, March 26.
The name Merritone Music identifies the famous Merritone Sound System, which originated in Morant Bay more than 55 years ago. The late Val Blake the founding father of Merritone Music, was also the father of the famous Blake brothers, Trevor, Winston, Tyrone and Monte.