IRAWMA comes home for good

By Aaliyah Cunningham
Observer writer

Thursday, March 21, 2019

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Jamaica is the new home of the International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA), according to event conceptualiser Ephraim Martin.

He made this known during the official announcement of 2018 nominees at the Jamaica Pegasus in New Kingston Tuesday evening. The event takes place at that venue on May 11.

“We were going to Trinidad but Olivia 'Babsy' Grange (Minister of Culture and Entertainment) called me and said bring it to Jamaica. As Jamaica celebrates 50 years of reggae music, there could be no better time to take the show home,” Martin told the Jamaica Observer. “The show is not about the money or anything like that, it's about the people, so it was important that we take it here.”

The IRAWMA was last held in Jamaica in 2002. Martin believes that staging the ceremony on the island can help boost tourism.

“Thousands of people fly in to the show when it's held at other locations overseas and we expect Jamaica to be no different. We are also marketing it like the perfect time for a vacation where you can just come out, chill and relax then come to show. Maybe it won't be a grand boost this year, but as the years go by, it will pick up,” said Martin.

He disclosed that for the IRAWMA's 37th anniversary, more than the location has changed.

“We will also be honouring those persons in the music fraternity like the foundation artistes and the musicians who are still making a difference in the world of reggae music today," he said.

Shaggy, Sean Paul and Koffee lead the nominations. There are 40 categories.

Bob Marley will receive the Special Emperor of Reggae and World Music Honour Award which was created specifically for him; American Civil Rights activist Jesse Jackson snagged the award for Special Freedom Fighter while Grange will receive the Martin's International Person of The Year 2018 award.

Nominees for Bob Marley Entertainer of the Year include Busy Signal, Chronixx, Damian Marley, Popcaan and Shaggy. Chronixx, Romain Virgo, Tarrus Riley, Protoje and Beres Hammond are nominees for Best Male Vocalist.

In the category of Best Female Vocalist, Etana, Estelle, Jah9, Koffee and Queen Ifrica are nominated.

Best Male Dancehall Artiste nominees are Aidonia, Govana, Masicka, Popcaan and Vybz Kartel. D'Angel, Dovey Magnum, Jada Kingdom, Spice and Shenseea are nominees for Best Female Dancehall Artiste.

In the Best New Entertainer category, Dalton Harris, Hood Celebrity, Jada Kingdom, Koffee and Rygin King are the nominees.

Established in 1982, IRAWMA acknowledges the accomplishments and contributions of reggae and World Music artistes, songwriters, performers, and promoters. It was first held in Jamaica in 1991 in Montego Bay. Voting is open to the public on the IRAWMA's official website.

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