‘Join music unions’
Junior Lincoln, financial director of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA), is urging artistes to join local music unions and prevent embarrassment should they fall on hard times.
A fuming Lincoln was responding to singer Mikey General’s claim that not enough is being done by the music industry for veteran acts, like percussionist Noel ‘Skully’ Simms, who died February 4 at age 82.
But Lincoln, who knew Simms for over 60 years, countered. He said artistes show little interest in joining JaRIA or the Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes and Affiliates (JAVAA).
"Join di organisations, because sometimes it’s only $2,000 or $2,500 a year. Di senior artistes are not setting the example for younger artistes to come join the organisations to safeguard this sort of embarrassment," said Lincoln.
Mikey General and Lincoln spoke Sunday during a tribute for Simms at the Eastwood Park venue dubbed Kingston 10. A gathering of his family and colleagues turned out to raise funds for the singer/percussionist’s funeral, scheduled for March 26 at Meadowrest in St Catherine.
The Trench Town-born Simms, along with Bunny Robinson, formed the vocal duo Bunny and Skully in the late 1940s. They are considered the first artistes from that community to record.
There were many performances from artistes who knew Simms including singers Stranger Cole and Sangie Davis, but it was Lincoln’s fiery defence that stood out.
He implored Jamaican artistes to "look inna di mirror" and get affiliated with a benevolent society so, "When an artiste like this drop out (dies), money is there for dem so wi can show di country an’ di world that we are responsible."
In recent years, there have been media reports about families of veteran artistes reaching out for assistance with funeral expenses.
Sunday’s event also saw performances by Mikey General, Bagga Case, Junior Sinclair, Chris McDonald, K Vibes, The Heptones, Cutty Ranks and Hawkeye.