MoU talks in the works

Observer senior reporter

Friday, February 22, 2019

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T he Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) and the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports are attempting to resolve issues concerning the music organisation's role in Reggae Month activities.

Two weeks ago, JaRIA called for formal rules of engagement from minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange in the wake of government's decision to increase its presence in events surrounding Reggae Month which is celebrated in February.

In 2018, the government pumped additional funds into the calendar of events which was previously handled by JaRIA.

Speaking to the Jamaica Observer's Splash following the only Reggae Wednesday show this year, JaRIA chairman Ibo Cooper noted that his organisation and the ministry are set to commence talks on the contentious matter.

“The date for the meeting is being finalised. It was a big misunderstanding. The Memorandum of Understanding is going to happen . We are not trying to have any 'cass cas' with anybody, it is about the music,” said Cooper.

Meanwhile, Reggae Wednesdays at Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre was a shadow of previous years.

There were few acts as there were patrons and despite the great technicals — lighting stage and sound, the organisers failed to pull off what the Reggae Wednesday faithful have come to expect.

The night's closing act, One Third, did their best to be entertaining but even they were missing a member. Despite being a man short, Adrian Campbell and Miguel Walters worked the stage and tried to salvage the night.

Their set included Toto's Africa, a favourite since they entered Digicel Rising Stars in 2006. Survivor from their début EP made the way for a tribute to reggae greats including Dennis Brown, Bob Marley and Beres Hammond.

Veteran singer King Sounds gave a rare local performance, dropping Book of Rules, I Shall Sing, Brainwashing and I Shall Be Released. Levy's Heritage brought the gospel side of reggae with their set, which also saw a cameo from their father Lubert Levy.

The opening acts included singer/percussionist Feluke, who is making his way back following cancer diagnosis; past Rising Stars winner Monifa and Serena Constantine.

Cooper also weighed in on the showcase which had four shows in the past.

“We took a conscious decision not to touch the first Wednesday of the month. That was February 6, Bob Marley's birthday, and the Marley Foundation wanted to do their thing as has become traditional and we didn't want to invade their space. The Wednesdays that we were responsible for were February 13 and 20. Unfortunately, the resources were not in place on the 13th and we do apologise to the public. But we hope we made up for it and it came off nicely tonight (Wednesday),” he said.

Next Wednesday, the show makes way again for the Golden Awards, staged by government to honour 50 persons who have contributed to the development of reggae.

The JaRIA Awards are set for March 5 at the Little Theatre in St Andrew.


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