Jamaica's finest on showTuesday, October 19, 2021
BY RICHARD JOHNSON
JAMAICA'S rich and diverse cultural offerings were on show during yesterday's national honours and awards presentation.
The annual event, which was again forced into a virtual staging due to the restrictions on mass gatherings brought on by the current novel coronavirus pandemic, saw the award and investiture of over 200 Jamaicans interspersed with delightful performances.
The performers comprised the University Singers, whose soloist Amba Chevannes, soprano, delivered on I Pledge — arranger Franklin Halliburton's take on the popular Jamaican patriotic song for schools. An ensemble from this popular choir later performed Noel Dexter's folk favourite One Ting Lead to Another.
The music of the legendary Jimmy Cliff formed the set for saxophonist Dean Fraser. He blew away his virtual audience with the stirring Many Rivers to Cross before raising spirits with the optimistic I Can See Clearly Now.
The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's Gospel Star for 2021 Erica Lumsden showed why she was the winner of this year's competition and she shared Jamaica, You Are My Love. Her take on Whitney Houston's One Moment In Time was very well done, even if it seemed somewhat out of place amidst the Jamaican fare on a national holiday.
Popular music was not to be left out of the programme. Veteran performer Ken Boothe was at his usual high standard with his smooth vocals on Speak Softly Love, which he effortlessly delivered seated in the gardens of King's House. Contemporary reggae act Sevana injected her brand of Jamaican music opening with the popular spiritual Hear My Cry, which segued into her track Blessed.
The multi-award-winning Tivoli Dance Troupe lit up the lawns of the official residence of the governor general with their piece titled Dance Fusion.
Members of the arts and entertainment fraternity were among the recipients of honours and awards. They included guitarist and arranger Ernie Ranglin, who was invested with the Order of Jamaica; legendary bass player Aston “Family Man” Barrett, who was bestowed with the Order of Distinction (Commander Class); Lloyd “Judge” Ferguson, Donald “Tabby” Shaw, and Fitzroy “Bunny” Simpson of The Mighty Diamonds; gospel deejay Cleve “Stitchie” Laing as well as film coordinator Michael “Boysie” London, who were inducted to the Order of Distinction (Officer Class).
Mercedes “Sadie” Soas, a pioneer in Jamaican fashion, was honoured with the Order of Distinction (Commander Class).