Mortimer toast of JaRIA Awards

Mortimer toast of JaRIA Awards

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter

Thursday, February 27, 2020

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Reggae-soul singer Mortimer was the big winner at the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) Honour Awards held at the Little Theatre in St Andrew, on Tuesday evening.

The smooth singer-songwriter walked away with the two public vote awards of the evening, in a ceremony which recognises those who have contributed to the growth and development of the indigenous Jamaican musical sound including artistes, musicians and other professionals who have worked behind the scenes.

Mortimer walked away with the trophies for Breakthrough Artiste of the Year as well as the coveted Song of the Year for his tender reggae-infused ballad, Lightning.

The dreadlocked artiste was characteristically a man of few words as he expressed gratitude for the win.

“I just want to thank JaRIA for this award. I give thanks to reggae music for all it's done, all it is doing...all it has been to each and every one of us. I want to give thanks to His Majesty, too, for life and sound faculties. Give thanks to my wife, who has been a constant source of inspiration. For everybody who has supported us thus far, we really appreciate it...Keep loving, keep feeling, keep fighting,” he told the audience.

In the Breakthrough Artiste of the Year category, Mortimer's fellow nominees were Stylo G, Lila Ike, Kemar Highcon, and Govana. For Song of the Year, he outdid Dumpling by Stylo G, Rapture by Koffee, Buju Banton's Trust, and Hillside by Chronic Law.

The JaRIA Honour Awards has become known as a time and place to celebrate those who have given to the music and this year was no different. A total of 27 awards were handed out to recipients in 21 categories.

Among the highlights was the tribute to reggae icon Bunny Wailer, founding member of The Wailers, which included Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.

Bunny Wailer was recognised for his outstanding and invaluable contribution to the reggae genre especially in its burgeoning years.

An exciting musical tribute had patrons inside the Litte Theatre on their feet as present-day artistes Abby Dallas, Abebe Payne, Kabaka Pyramid, Jah Wiz and Wailer's son Asadenaki, shared some of the hits of the icon, including Ballroom Floor, Blackheart Man and the immortal Electric Boogie.

Deejays Shabba Ranks and Lady G, as well as conscious singer the late Garnett Silk were recognised with the Iconic Artiste In the Music Industry award. Israel Vibration received the Iconic Award for duo or group. Reggae band Chalice was recognised for its exceptional contribution to the reggae industry. Eric “Monty” Morris received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The night's 'aaawww' moment came when saxophonist Dean Fraser was bestowed with the award for Mentorship. Fraser is currently overseas on tour with Tarrus Riley and so the award was accepted by his three-year-old daughter Arjana, who proudly told the audience “thank you” on his behalf.

Buju Banton, who was also absent, was among the evening's recipients as he was recognised for his contribution to the music as a songwriter.

In the gospel category, late Pastor David Keane and Chevelle Franklyn were the night's awardees.

Homage was paid to trombonist Vin Gordon and drummer Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace for their contribution as instrumentalists.

Phillip “Fatis” Burrell and Alvin “GG” Ranglin were awarded as producers. British-based producer the late Lee Gopthal of Trojan Record and Wycliffe “Steely” Johnson received awards posthumously for their exceptional contribution to the reggae industry.

Vegetarian caterer Yvonne Hope received a Special Award from JaRIA .

In the category of promoter, it was the team from the oldies party series Good Times, which was the night's recipient.

Dancer Orville Hall of Dance Xpressionz walked away with the Gregory Isaacs Foundation Award for his contribution to the sector.

Colin “Bulby” York and Ernest Hoo Kim were honoured for their contribution as sound engineers, while IRIE FM's Elise Kelly received the Media Award for her support of the music.

Sound systems were not left out of this year's list of honorees as Ray Symbolic and Emperor Fair Sound were recognised.

On a night celebrating music, the efforts of Ibo Cooper — the event's musical director and conductor of the JaRIA Pop Orchestra — cannot go unmentioned. The arrangements of the musical tributes to ska, The Mighty Diamonds, Bunny Wailer was nothing short of first class.


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