The National Festival Song competition organised by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), is an annual event which is usually showcased during the period when we celebrate Jamaica's Independence. With Jamaica's 50th year of Independence fast approaching, the Saturday Hustle team saw it fit to share songs of the last five winners.
Real Born Jamaican - Abbygaye 'Abby' Dallas
Wi a real born Jamaican/ Love dis ya beautiful island/ Real born Jamaican/ Wi coulda neva be no carbon copy/ Real born Jamaican/ Wi love wi ackee an wi saltfish an wi roast breadfruit/
Abbygaye is the 2012 winner of the National Festival Song competition. She not only holds a diploma in performance but is also a JCDC award-winning performance arts winner. Her winning entry, Real Born Jamaican, was co-written and produced by Leebert Morrison. Dallas is the third woman to win the competition since its inception in 1966. Heather 'Brown Suga' Grant was the first woman to take the top prize in 1992 with her song Mek Wi Put Tings Right, while Cheryl Clarke won in 1999 with Born Inna JA.
Oh If We - Everton Pessoa
Oh if we could love each other/ Oh if we could say we can/ Oh if we could live together/ Your hand is mine/ My hand is yours/ We can change this world, oh yes
Pessoa, who is a trombonist, songwriter and trained performer, utilised all his talents to create the winning song Oh If We in 2011. The catchy lyrics encouraged Jamaicans to love each other and work together so that they could make a difference in the world.
My Jamaica - Delisser McFarlane
Nowhere nuh nice like my Jamaica/ Nowhere nuh sweet like my Jamaica
This St Ann native recorded his first single Watching Me in 1987. He later worked as a cabaret singer and songwriter in resorts along Jamaica's north coast. In his single My Jamaica, which was the winning entry in 2010, he pledged his allegiance to the country by declaring that despite the troubles the island may face, it is still home. He further elaborated on the beauty of his country.
Take Back Jamaica - Winston Hussey
So come wi give the little that wi got/ A fi wi place an wi mus tek it back/ Wi got to give the little that wi have/ Cause wi nuh want nuh more body bag
Hussey first started singing professionally in 1979. His manager Lloyd Grant produced his 2009 up-tempo Take Back Jamaica entry. The song encouraged Jamaicans to come together and take a stand against the growing crime rate.
Rise and Shine - Roy Rayon
Rise and shine my people/ Rise and shine/ This is festival 2000 and love/ Show some love/ This is festival 2000 and great
Rayon won the National Festival Song competition in 1985, 1987 and 1991. He took home the 2008 title with his song Rise and Shine that was written by Rayon Whittingham. The repetitive lyrics, sung to the mento beat, won over the hearts of both judges and audience.
Woman A Di Beauty - Neville 'Gunty' Winters
Gunty, a native of St James, released several songs with producer Walley Frazer of New Visions Records in London before creating his winning song in 2007 — Woman A Di Beauty. This ode to Jamaican women had lyrics such as 'one dozen votes for the ladies' and 'woman a di beauty of di country'. The song did not have the usual mento or ska rhythm but rather an intoxicating dancehall rhythm.