JAVAA celebrates 20
The Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes and Affiliates (JAVAA) celebrated its 20th anniversary on November 19 at the Springvale Avenue headquarters of the Fabulous Five Band.
Chairman Frankie Campbell admits it has been “relatively successful”, but declared that the organisation is lagging in a critical area.
He told the Jamaica Observer that many of JAVAA’s membership are not paid up in terms of life insurance dues.
The welfare of veteran artistes was one of the concerns for its founders in 2003.
“Over 100 members are currently enroled in JAVAA and it is proving very hard to maintain our life insurance policy, but with the help of JAMMS (Jamaica Music Society), we are trying to keep this important element alive. After been active for 20 years, most of our members are a part of Jamaica’s aging population, and so life and health insurance is at this time absolutely vital in maintaining good health for our members,” said Campbell.
Approximately two years ago, he announced that JAVAA’s life insurance policy needed $250,000 to remain active. Within one week of his call, Burger King donated that amount to Campbell and his team.
There was a renaissance of ‘vintage’ Jamaican music when musicologist Winston Blake, show promoters Michael Barnett and Keith Brown, impresarios Tommy Cowan and Teddy Laidley, and singer Bunny Brown initiated JAVAA.
While it was received with enthusiasm, Campbell has noted a high level of delinquency when it comes to paying dues.
A number of artistes and musicians from the rocksteady and roots-reggae eras fell on hard times and their families struggled with funeral expenses when they died.
“JAVAA is only relatively successful as, being a dues-driven organisation, it is very difficult to stay afloat, as many members find it difficult to pay their dues. The music industy is not generally kind to organisations like JAVAA, and so it is a constant struggle to make ends meet,” said Campbell, who joined the group shortly after it was formed.
Campbell described the mood at the well-attended event as “very celebratory”, with Lenford Salmon delivering a speech on behalf of entertainment minister, Olivia Grange.
Guest speaker was psycologist Aggrey Irons.
Ewan Simpson, chairman of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association, and Evon Mullings, general manager of JAMMS, were present.
There were also performances from singers Gem Myers and Orville “Bagga” Case.