'Great' to be lauded

Howard Campbell

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

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FOR over 30 years, Ronnie Nasralla was one of the movers and shakers in Jamaica's music industry. On July 28, he will be honoured for his contribution as artiste manager and music producer at the annual Tribute To The Greats show at Curphey Place in St Andrew.

Speaking to the Jamaica Observer from his home in Atlanta, Georgia, the 81-year-old Nasralla described the award as a "great thing". He believes it is overdue.

"I feel I have done a lot for entertainment in Jamaica but have little recognition to show for it," he said.

Nasralla played a big role in the early years of the country's music business. He was part of the successful Byron Lee setup that included Lee's band, The Dragonaires, and his record company Dynamic Sounds.

Born to a Lebanese father and Jamaican mother, Nasralla represented Jamaica in four sports (fencing, badminton, squash and football). He was brought into the music business in the early 1960s by Edward Seaga, a former music producer and Lee, who was making a name with the Dragonaires.

Lee and Nasralla attended the same school, St George's College. Nasralla, a few years older, eventually managed the Dragonaires and Blues Busters, one of the acts who recorded for Dynamic.

He also worked with Toots and The Maytals during their stint with Lee. He is credited as co-producer of two of that group's big hits, It's You and Daddy.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Nasralla went into public relations but maintained ties with the music scene as manager of the Blues Busters. He received a medal (at the National Honours and Awards) for services to the entertainment industry during the 1980s but believes his contribution has been overlooked.

"I look forward to coming home and accepting this award. I feel happy about the recognition," he said.

The other members of the Tribute To The Greats Class of 2012 includes Thom Bell, the Jamaica-born songwriter/producer/arranger who worked with American soul groups like the Delfonics, Spinners and Stylistics; Australian Graeme Goodall, sound engineer at Federal Records for several years; deejay Big Youth; keyboardist Gladstone Anderson; Beverley Kelso, an original member of the Wailers; singer Jackie Estick; sound system operator Dexter 'Ska Professor' Campbell; dance promoter Ronald Dougal; The Caribs band and videographer Jose Walton.

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