Triple treat at IRAWMAMonday, May 17, 2021
BY RICHARD JOHNSON
THERE were no runaway winners at last night's staging of the 36th annual International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA). In fact, three acts — Buju Banton, Koffee, and Popcaan — were the night's big winners, taking three trophies each.
Buju Banton, who went into the event with the most nominations, a total of 10, went home with the awards for Emperor of Reggae & World Music — Hon Bob Marley Award for Entertainer of the Year; Toots Hibbert Award for Best Album for his project UpsideDown 2020; and the Marcus Garvey Humanitarian Award.
Koffee took the awards for Best Female Vocalist; as well as the Peter Tosh Award for Recording Artist of the Year; and the Gregory Isaacs Award for Best Song for her track Lockdown.
Popcaan's trove of trophies comprised the awards for Best R & B/Hip Hop Collaboration Reggae Song Twist featuring Drake; the U-Roy Award for Best Male Deejay; and Best Crossover Song Party Next Door — featuring Drake.
All the night's other local winners walked a way with one trophy each.
Chronixx and Tarrus Riley tied for the Jacob Miller Best Male Vocalist award. Gramps Morgan received the award for Best Gospel Song. Best Female Deejay went to Shenseea; while the award for Best Dancehall Stage Craft Entertainer was shared by veteran deejays Beenie Man and Bounty Killer in recognition for their May 2020 appearance on the virtual performance series Verzuz.
Best Reggae Rock Entertainer went to German artiste Gentleman. The Dennis Brown Award for Most Promising Entertainer was won by Sevana, and Sean Paul was named Best Caribbean Entertainer, with Chimney Records— which is operated by Jordan McClure and David Hayle — named Record Producers of the Year.
Christopher “Johnny” Daley earned the trophy for Comedian of the Year. Poet Ras Takura won the award for The Most Cultural and Educational Entertainer.
Sunday's virtual event also saw three special awards being presented to persons who have contributed to the entertainment industry over the years. Head of DownSound Records Josef Bogdanovich was recognised for philanthropy; Ziggy Marley was inducted into the IRAWMA Hall of Fame and received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his more than 40 years as a performing and recording artiste. Veteran artiste Papa Michigan was presented with the Special Martins International/ IRAWMA Award of Honour.
A number of other awards were also presented in the world music categories. These included The Mutabaruka Award for Best Poet and Spoken Word, which went to Zimbabwe's Vachi Kepwe Di Poet; Best Latin – Reggae Oriented Entertainer – Daddy Yankee; Best Latin – Reggae Oriented Entertainer – Winky D from Zimbabwe; Best Afrobeat Entertainer – Master KG, featuring Nomcebo Zikode for the hit song Jerusalema, which also won the award for Best Music Video and Best Sound System went to Dynamq from South Sudan.
IRAWMA was established in 1982 to acknowledge and honour the accomplishments and contributions of reggae and world music artistes, including songwriters, performers, promoters and musicians. Produced by Martin's International, the event has been staged in many major cities including: Atlanta, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, New Orleans, New York as well as Port of Spain, Trinidad and both Montego Bay and Ocho Rios in Jamaica. The impetus behind the IRAWMA is its commitment to promoting greater participation and acceptance of reggae, Caribbean and world music internationally.
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