Music Unites hopes passing of Oswald Russell will be a wake-up call
On behalf of Music Unites Jamaica Foundation, we wish to express sincere condolence to the wife and daughter of Jamaican pianist and composer, Oswald Russell. Since the distance between Kingston and Geneva made it very difficult to be in closer contact and to show our respect for the musical work and achievements of Oswald Russell, we wish to assure the family that we are quite aware of the invaluable contribution of his compositions to the Jamaican classical music genre.
We cannot make this statement without a touch of disappointment and regret that the establishment of our Archive of Jamaican Composers, The Samuel Felsted Institute, was not in operation in time to research the life and work of Oswald Russell during his lifetime, due to the absence of a physical location to use as a base.
May his passing, tragic though it is, be the wake-up call for all interested parties to speed up the process of ensuring the lease for an ideal home for this archive, as we have lost valuable and irreplaceable information by those unsung musical heroes who have passed on in recent times, as they were not interviewed. Awareness of the need to preserve the memorable achievements of composers such as Oswald Russell must be included and instilled into the national pride of the Jamaican population, especially the youth. This can be done only if there is a centre and archive of information, as well as by making those great ambassadors of Jamaican music such as Oswald Russell, Don Shirley and many others into recipients of our highest national awards and honours.
Rosina Christina Moder
Music Unites Jamaica Foundation