Saturday, March 08, 2014

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REGGAE held centrestage during last weekend's Florianopolis Carnival in Brazil which involved a number of Jamaican personalities.

Singers Bunny Wailer and Andrew Tosh, music industry veteran Maxine Stowe and former Miss World Cindy Breakspeare were joined by former Jamaica football coach Rene Simoes, and Brazilian music promoter Chritiano Andrade, on a float saluting
Jamaican music.

The experience made an impression on the 65-year-old Wailer.

"Being my first time in Brazil, to see and feel the love of reggae and the Wailers there, in their National Carnival, is an indication of the impact that reggae, Rastafari and Jamaica has there," Wailer said in an interview with the Sunday Observer. "The float touched on all aspects of our music and culture."

With Brazil hosting the World Cup in a matter of weeks and the Olympics in 2016, Wailer believes Jamaica should strengthen ties with the South American country, one of reggae's biggest markets.

"The Brazilian people are seeking more tangible connections with Jamaica and we need to respond in a manner that is mutually beneficial to our music and culture," he said.

Stowe, Wailer's publicist, told the Observer that he is strongly considering doing a series of dates in Brazil.

"There is a lot of planning to get a tour going and in the right manner. We are exploring now what Jamaica will be doing as even though the Reggae Boyz didn't make it (to the World Cup) reggae lives there, so we are now focused and speaking with the JTB (Jamaica Tourist Board), to see what their plans are,"
she said.

Jamaican music has a massive following in Brazilian cities such as Rio de Janiero and Sao Paulo, which has populations of 20 million and 12 million, respectively.

Salvador de Bahia, which has the largest population of blacks in the Western Hemisphere, is another major reggae centre.

Jimmy Cliff was the first reggae artiste to make a mark in Brazil, during the mid-1970s. Bob Marley, Jacob Miller, Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs also performed there in the 1980s.

The Congos, Eric Donaldson and The Gladiators are also popular in Brazil.

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