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A full slate of activities have been rostered for this year's Reggae Month throughout February.
The activities, organised and endorsed by Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA), officially kick-starts today with the Dennis Brown Symposium and tribute concert in downtown Kingston.
However, the month-long celebrations of all things reggae gets going this Wednesday, February 1, with the first of the weekly concerts at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. This week's concert is a tribute to classical, jazz, mento and ska. Week two will feature reggae bands, while the third week will feature the famous rhythm twins -- Sly and Robbie -- as well as dub poetry in a night dubbed Reggae Gone Global. The fourth Wednesday in February will see singers and deejays taking the spotlight with the likes of Romain Virgo, Chris Martin, Ken Boothe and Johnny Clarke set to take to the stage. The series will climax on February 29 with a tribute to dancehall and alternative reggae music.
The three-day Trench Town Festival also forms part of the celebrations and is scheduled for February 3-5 in that community.
JaRIA notes that in keeping with its mandate to educate and inform, a number of seminars and symposiums will be held throughout the month. The range of topics includes: Sustaining Live Events, Preserve the Music, International Spotlight on Reggae. There will also be a number of public lectures organised by various affiliated organisations. This includes the Groundation series which will be held at the Institute of Jamaica. One of these lectures will focus on the life and work of singer and songwriter Bob Andy. The annual Bob Marley Lecture on February 16 will also form part of the activities for Reggae Month, as well as the Edna Manley Conference on February 2, which will have as its theme: The Relevance of Popular Music Education in Jamaica.
A number of open air concerts are also planned, this includes the Bob Marley birthday concert at Emancipation Park on February 5; a gospel concert at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre on February 12 and the salute to sound systems at the National Stadium car park on February 18.
The link between reggae music and fashion will also be highlighted through a fashion event dubbed Rip the Runways.
The highlight of Reggae Month will be JaRIA's honour awards ceremony to be held at Emancipation Park. At this prestigious event, a total of 21 awards will be presented in 16 categories including the specially commissioned Golden Jubilee Commemorative Award, designed to coincide with Jamaica's 50th anniversary of independence. This will be presented to the Jamaica Federation of Musicians and Affiliated artistes.
— Richard Johnson
Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna (left), and Sydney Bartley, director of culture, speak with
Donisha Prendergast — granddaughter of Bob and Rita Marley — at last Tuesday’s launch of Reggae
Month at the Bob Marley Museum in St Andrew. (Photo: Jermaine Barnaby)
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