Jimmy Tucker, Warrior King receive Marcus Garvey Music Awards

BY BASIL WALTERS Observer staff reporter

Friday, August 20, 2010    

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IT was fitting that on the 123rd anniversary of the birth of Jamaica's first national hero, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, two singers -- a generation apart -- Jimmy Tucker and Warrior King, were recognised for their musical work.

No less fitting was that both entertainers were recipients of this year's Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) Marcus Garvey Awards. They were among seven other awardees in various fields of activities commended by Marcus Garvey.

These were Desmond Skyers (owner of the Mountain View Apiary), I-wara Mamher-Tafari (CEO of Mi Hungry Whol' somefood), Andrea Dempster (director of Bookophilia), Senator Hyacinth Bennett (Principal of the Hydel Group of Schools and University), Raul Haynes (of Jamaica Recycling Company), Jesse Golding (of Talk TV) and The Mustard Seed Community, who were recognised for their contribution to agriculture, culinary arts, business, education, industry, journalism and social advocacy.

In a garden setting at the East Lawns of Devon House on Tuesday, the elegantly dressed audience was informed that Garvey was the first Jamaican to have a hit song while behind bars.

"In 1925, he (Garvey) wrote the lyrics to Keep Cool which topped the local charts making Garvey certainly the first Jamaican to have a number one song while behind bars, not Jah Cure," stated popular reggae artiste Tony Rebel as he read from Garvey's biography as a prelude to Warrior King's award.

It was further revealed that in 1927 while still behind bars Garvey penned these lines in reference to his music; "This music is my soul today. I spread in truth with love unfurled; On waves of cheer it goes, I pray to reach around the belted world."

Then declared Tony Rebel: "Tonight we can proudly say Garvey's music has reached around the world and the waves of cheer can be heard in artistes such as the Marleys, Burning Spear, Big Youth, Tony Rebel, Queen Ifrica, Etana, Tarrus Riley, Hezron and many other artistes who have been influenced by the teachings of Marcus Garvey.

"And so for his contribution to keeping the music conscious and for recording and performing the poetry of Marcus Garvey; this year's Marcus Garvey Award for Music goes to Mark Dyer, aka Warrior King.

Quoting the late Guyanese-born Jamaican composer Clyde Hoyte, the UNIA lady president, Enid Courtney noted, "Jimmy Tucker is the world's only recorded boy soprano and tenor to span a period of more than 55 years of vocal excellence."

With that the Marcus Garvey Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Jimmy Tucker who was considered one of Jamaica's best ever sopranos as a child and one of the country's best tenors as an adult.

"I am deeply honoured to be with you this evening and to be the recipient of this award.

The awards ceremony delightfully guided by its two charming hosts, Empress and Denise Hunt, was opened by M' Bassikolo Jam African Ensemble with its highly entertaining brand of drumming and dancing.

The presentation of awards was interspersed with performances by Jimmy Tucker's niece Sharon Tucker (sister Junior Tucker), Hezron, Protojé, Warrior King, Etana and Tony Rebel, who made his appearance on crutches as a result of a fall on stage at Sumfest. Recorded musical selections were ably provide by DJ Afifa.




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