Reggae museum comingTuesday, January 22, 2019
BY BALFORD HENRY
THE Ministry of Tourism will create an international reggae music museum in Kingston, as one of the projects planned for Reggae Month in February.
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, made the announcement at Sunday night's media launch for the annual event at Ribbiz, Victoria Pier, Kingston waterfront. He said the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) will provide the initial funding of $25 million.
According to Bartlett, the funds will be utilised in the scoping, design and development of the museum, after which a location will be found and a budget allocated for its completion.
“We need to collect all the artefacts from across the island and the world, and to bring them here, to repatriate that key part of our cultural patrimony that now resides in different places across the world and bring it to Jamaica,” Bartlett said.
He added that the museum would be one of two “wonderful things” which have happened to Jamaican music recently, the other being the designation of the music as a world intangible asset by UNESCO.
Bartlett also announced the development of Somerset, in St James, as one of five iconic locations to be included on the Reggae Trail concept, this year. The trail will recognise other iconic locations which have produced reggae music stars, including Chocomo Lawn in west Kingston, Trench Town, Nine Miles in St Ann, and Belmont in Westmoreland, hometown of reggae great, Peter Tosh.
He noted that Somerset, being the hometown of superstar Jimmy Cliff, will have a boulevard named after him as a main tourism attraction. As well as other projects to expose its other creative, artistic and political talents, including former Prime Minister P J Patterson and film-maker Lennie Little-White.
“We have to invest in reggae. We have to build out the capacity of reggae to drive 24/7 experiences in different locations across Jamaica,” Bartlett said.
Minister of Culture, Gender Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, the other guest speaker at the crowded event, urged the audience to attend as many Reggae Month events as possible.
She also announced plans for the Reggae Gold Awards, which is being staged this year in celebration of reggae's 50th anniversary.
“We will be honouring 50 icons, or 50 individuals, groups, or whoever has contributed to the development of the music here and overseas, and have helped to take it to the world,” the minister said.
She said there are plans to bring home the “Jamaica, Jamaica” exhibition on reggae music, which unfolded in France and Brazil last year. It features artefacts from around the world, including the Bob Marley Museum and Institute of Jamaica.
“It is a major achievement for us and it depicts the history of our music and how it has developed, and will be mind-blowing for all of you,” Grange added.
Other speakers at the launch included Mayor of Kingston Delroy Williams; Michael “Ibo” Cooper, chairnan of JARIA; Dr Myrna Hague Bradshaw, executive member of the Jamaica Federation of Musicians Union (JFMU); Dr Carey Wallace, executive director of the TEF; and Zachary Harding, representing the tourism ministry's Sports and Entertainment Network.
Specials guests included Reggae Sumfest's Joe Bogdanovich and minister of state in the ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and sport, Alando Terrelonge.
Reggae Month commences with Reggae in the Village in Ocho Rios and Linstead's Reggae In the Park on February 1, but officially opens two days later with a church service and a grounation. Other highlights include – Reggae Celebrates at the Bob Marley Museum on February 6, Marley's birthday; Reggae on the Waterfront at Ribbiz on February 10; and the Reggae Gold reception and awards ceremony on February 27.
Singers George Nooks and Richie Stephens brought the curtains down on the evening.