Muta makes case for music venue

Muta makes case for music venue

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

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WHILE acknowledging sports and music have put Jamaica on the world stage, broadcaster/dub poet Mutabaruka says the latter seems less appreciated at home. He cited the lack of a state-of-the-art music venue to support his argument.

Mutabaruka was guest speaker at the launch of Put Your Loving On Me, the sixth studio album of veteran singjay Papa Michigan, held at Footprints Cafe in New Kingston on Tuesday night.

“Di music is vital and important to be presented in the way that we know it fi present. There is nowhere in Jamaica that you can have 5,000 people a siddung ...yuh haffi walk wid chair over yuh back an' yuh haffi find somewhere go if rain a fall,” he said.

“When wi go a farin, wi see place where di sound an' equipment is stationed. Di seat dem, all yuh can do sometime is move dem dat you can have a dance floor. There is nowhere in Jamaica like dat,” he continued.

Muta, who hosts the Cutting Edge programme on Irie FM, made the case that islandwide sports facilities are being converted into music venues.

“Look at Trelawny [Multipurpose Stadium]! Ah one time sports keep in deh. Dem have [Jamaica] Jazz an' Blues in deh,” he said.

“Wi si dem mek one up a Sligoville [Stadium] an' trust mi, di things dem rotten out now. A one sports thing keep up deh an' a pure session used to keep up deh wid all Bounty Killer an' all dem man deh,” he continued.

Constructed in 2007 with a US$30-million loan from China, the Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium hosted that year's ICC Cricket World Cup warm-up matches and the opening ceremony.

The stadium hosted a handful of competitive cricket matches and Trelawny Major League football championship games. In 2015 it was the venue of Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, which drew thousands of fans. It currently lays idle.

The Sligoville Stadium was constructed in 2007 to the tune of US$3 million from China. The complex comprises a 600-seat basketball and netball court, lighting and fencing; a 1,200-seat cricket oval; a 1,500-seat football field with a six-lane, 400-metre track circling the football field. It also lays in waste.

Mutabaruka also shone his spotlight on Corporate Area sports complexes.

“Up a di [National Indoor] Sports Centre a stadium... di amount a shows weh keep up deh. All foreign, white people come keep show in deh. It suppose to be a sports centre.

“Right now, Sabina Park, a Rae Town gone up deh. A little after dat... people put session in deh an' a just music again,” he said.

Rae Town is a weekly old-hits session that started in the central Kingston area of the same name, before moving to the car park of the famous cricket ground.

“My problem wid dat, all di different sports centre a mek, dem eventually turn music [centre]. Why is it so difficult for something as important as Jamaican music get such a thump down all the while?” Muta argued.

Meanwhile, Put Your Loving On Me's launch had entertainers, government representatives, and well-wishers in attendance. Singers Christopher Martin and Lukie D; deejay Black-er; comedian Boasy Boy Floyd; producer-cum-singer Garfield “Sampalue” Phillips; sports commentator Oral Tracey; former national footballer-cum-coach Lenworth Hyde; and special advisor to Sports Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Ali McNab comprised the guest list.

The event saw Papa Michigan performing a mixture of old favourites and several tracks from his new album, much to the delight of the guests who sang along.

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