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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Last Sunday, Minister of Culture, Gender Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, announced plans for the Reggae Gold Awards. She spoke at the launch of activities for Reggae Month in February, at Ribbiz in downtown Kingston.

The minister did not give details of the awards, but said it will mark the 50th anniversary of reggae's birth.

“We will be honouring 50 icons, or 50 individuals, groups, or whoever has contributed to the development of the music here and overseas, and have helped to take it to the world,” Grange told the function.

Though reggae artistes and musicians have been lauded by politicians and private sector leaders for helping to make Jamaica a household name, they fall short to their counterparts in the arts and commerce in terms of national recognition.

The Jamaica Observer has assembled a list of persons it believes deserve gold awards. Only one of them has received national recognition from the Jamaican government.


The Mighty Diamonds — Celebrating their 50th anniversary this year


Earl “Chinna” Smith — Prolific guitarist; played on countless hit songs


Inner Circle — Celebrate their 51st year in the music business this year


Stanley Beckford — Mento master and multiple Festival Song Contest winner


Eric Donaldson — King of the Festival Song Contest with six wins


Norman “Syd” Bucknor — Pioneer audio engineer with Studio One, Channel One, Dynamic Sounds and Island Records


Dawn Penn — Singer who started her career in 1969 with massive hit song, No, No, No. Still touring


Jackie Mittoo — Musician/arranger extraordinaire; unsung hero behind countless classic songs


Karl Pitterson — Master audio engineer. Credits include Bob Marley's Kaya album and True Democracy by Steel Pulse


Flabba Holt — Influential founder and bass player of the Roots Radics Band


Junjo Lawes — Flamboyant producer and founder of the Volcano label and sound system. Helped develop careers of Barrington Levy and Yellowman


Sugar Minott — Dancehall legend. Singer/producer and owner of Youthman Promotions company that nurtured the careers of Tenor Saw, Yami Bolo and Tristan Palmer.


Black Uhuru — Enduring roots group that won the first reggae Grammy for Anthem in 1985


Osbourne “King Tubby” Ruddock — Genius audio engineer and dub pioneer


Count Ossie — Master drummer, founder and leader of the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari


Aston “Family Man” Barrett — Champion bass player of The Wailers; Bob Marley's right-hand man


Don Drummond — Fabled trombonist for The Skatalites; composer of classic songs like Eastern Standard Time and Confucius


Sister Mary Ignatius — Inspirational nun who mentored numerous outstanding Jamaican musicians at Alpha boys School; awarded a Badge of Honour by Jamaican government in 1996


Joseph Hoo Kim — Founder of Channel One studio


Nadine Sutherland — Singer with over 40 years in the music business to her name


Monty Morris — Pioneer singer who made his name in Ska, rocksteady and reggae


Desmond Dekker — One of reggae's great talents. Among the first to break into overseas charts with songs like Israelites and — 007 Shantytown


Vincent George “Duke Vin” Forbes — Sound system stalwart in the United Kingdom. Co-founder of Notting Hill Carnival


Sonny Roberts — First black man to open recording studio in the United Kingdom; owner of Orbitone and Planetone Records


Lee Gopthal — Co-founder of Trojan Records.