JUDY Mowatt and Bob Andy, two members of the local music industry, were honoured at the launch of the 24th staging of Western Consciousness at Knutsford Court Hotel on Wednesday.
Under the theme 'Impacting Reggae's New Generation', the 2012 renewal of the music fest will take place on Saturday, April 14, at Paradise Park in Smithfield, Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland.
"Every generation thinks its pop music is the best. And it follows that one generation's pop music is the next generation oldies. But quality reggae music should never be treated as oldies irrespective of its place in time.
"Our indigenous music is too valuable to have a shelf life and therefore, must be treated with respect and regard perennially. In that regard, the two persons being honoured tonight, should not, should never in Jamaica be in need of, or require to seek or request airplay on any radio stations at any time of day by any radio announcer," said Cordel Green, executive director of Jamaica Broadcasting Commission to the audience.
Mowatt -- former member of I-Three, Bob Marley's backing vocal -- and expressed her heartfelt gratitude to King of Kings Promotions, promoters of Western Consciousness for which she performed at the first staging in 1988.
In expressing her appreciation to promoter Worrell King, Mowatt said: "Mr King, I admired you for many years for what you stood for. Sounds against negative expression. And we know whatever negative expression that is sent out in the universe or in the atmosphere, it is going to come back to us. If it is positive, it's going to be positive because the Bible says, life and death is in the power of the tongue. So, whatever we sent out, is what we are reaping today. So when we talk about murderous lyrics, that is what is creating the murders and mayhem in Jamaica today. So we have to watch what we are sending out."
Bob Andy acknowledged the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) as the vehicle that is moving Jamaican music to the "industrial level". He made special mention of Ibo Cooper's work at the Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts. "I want to make special mention to Ibo Cooper for making Jamaican music a must, coming through Edna Manley's Tertiary institution. I am so proud because I see Jamaica's music in great hands with a very great future," he said while graciously accepting the award.
The impressive line-up for Western Consciousness included among the new generation of artistes, Romaine Virgo, Jah Vinci, Iba Mahr, Khago, Droop Lion, Stream, Jah 9, Prophecy, Duane Stephenson, I Noah, Iyahblazze while from the ranks of the veteran will come Beres Hammond, Capleton, Freddie McGregor, Luciano, Marcia Griffiths, Charlie Chaplin as well as the UK-based Levi Roots and King Sounds.
The media, members of the entertainment fraternity and specially invited guests, among whom were recently elected councillor Angella Brown-Burke (who was often addressed as the mayor in waiting) and the junior minister for entertainment and tourism Damion Crewford, were given a sneak preview of what to come on Western Consciousness.
Doing the honours were Yahsha, the vocalist of SANE Band that back all the acts such as Droop Lion, Jah 9, Iba Mahr, I Noah, Stream and Iyahblazze.