Artistes hail the Crown Prince

Observer writer

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

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REGGAE'S crown prince Dennis Brown became the first artiste to be celebrated at the inaugural Reggae Icons Concert held at Kingston's Waterfront last Sunday.

The event — which was orchestrated by the Dennis Brown Trust, the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) and the Reggae Month board — is part of the Reggae Month calendar.

Fans gathered for a star-studded lineup that included Luciano, King Sounds, Mighty Mystic, Dillinger, Alaine, Iba Mahr, Ken Boothe, Tristan Palmer, Dean Fraser, Carlene Davis, Earl “Chinna” Davis and the Inna Di Yard crew, Richie Stephens, George Nooks, and Freddie McGregor.

Junior Lincoln, chairman of the Dennis Brown Trust and show producer, said he wished more patrons attended.

“The vibe is good. We have much more artistes and musicians who are not playing who are here, and that's what happens when there is a Dennis Brown celebration. I would have liked to see more people, 'cause we've had more people from other Dennis Brown celebrations,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

Entertainment Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange shared similar sentiments.

“We should have penetrated communities downtown (Kingston) more, but next year will be better in terms of promotion,” she said.

The low turnout was not enough to stop patrons from singing along to their favourite Dennis Brown songs performed by the night's acts.

Among the guests were members of Brown's family: Mary Brown (sister), Melody Brown (aunt), and Prynce David Royal (cousin). The last spoke on the family's behalf.

“We know that Jamaicans love Dennis Brown. He's probably Jamaica's favourite act based on what I've been told. It's good that they have been able to recognise what Dennis has done for reggae music on a whole and Jamaica. I hope they continue to do so, not just for him but for reggae music,” Royal told the Observer.

Anecdotes of the late singer were told by some performers, including Richie Stephens and percussionist Bongo Herman. Tony Rebel recalled listening to Brown as a child and described him as friendly.

“He was always encouraging me. If I was on a show with him, I'd be thinking: 'He is so great' and he thought the same of me too. He was truly humble and would talk to anyone who was coming up,” Rebel said.

Memories of Brown were also recalled by his former manager, Copeland Forbes, who first met Brown when he was nine years old.

“It's an artiste yuh cyaan vex with, even if him give you trouble. It was a great experience working with him. It was just a pity things ended when it ended. When artistes start going in different directions, you can't handle it — but we remained good friends up until his passing. I really miss him... I'm glad that they brought this back to remember him. When he passed, I knew what happened and I knew certain things could have been done to save him,” Forbes expressed.

Brown recorded 75 albums during his career. His many hits include Wolves and Leopards, No Man Is An Island, Here I Come, Money In My Pocket, Silhouette and Love Has Found Its Way.

Brown, who died from respiratory failure in 1999, would have turned 61 on February 1. He was invested with the Order of Distinction (Commander class) by the Jamaican Government in 2011.




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