Celebrating Ja in Dubai
JAMAICANS celebrate the country's 52nd year as a sovereign state on August 6. Three days later, the growing Jamaican community in Dubai will recognise that milestone with the inaugural Jamaica Independence Party.
The event is scheduled for August 9 and showcases a number of sound systems, manned by selectors from Jamaica, the United Kingdom and Africa.
Jamaica Independence Party is the brainchild of Kenya Don, a Kenya-born promoter who has staged dancehall/reggae shows in Dubai since 2002.
"When we have the shows it's not only Jamaicans who support them, it's the whole Caribbean community and expatriates generally," Kenya Don told the Jamaica Observer. "They love Jamaican culture... the music and the food."
Many of the over 2,000 West Indians who live in Dubai work in the airline industry. One of them is former Air Jamaica pilot Rajendra Sahoy, who is known as DJ Raj.
Along with Jason 'DJ Jaysun' Morais and Justin 'DJ Justin' Morin, Sahoy is a fixture at Dubai's dancehall/reggae parties.
The Jamaica Independence Party kicks off a series of shows scheduled for the rest of 2014 in Dubai and countries in the United Arab Emirates.
The first of these live shows is in Qatar in September, followed by Bahrain in October and Dubai in November.
Kenya Don is also the main organiser of the popular Reggae Beachfest event in Dubai.
Since his first trip to Dubai 12 years ago, he has promoted shows featuring a number of Jamaican acts including Cecile, Wayne Wonder, Dawn Penn and Tanto Metro and Devonte.
— Howard Campbell