KINGSTON,Jamaica- The Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) says it will be hosting a special ‘Reggae Wednesdays’ tribute concert to celebrate the life and works of the late Michael ‘Ibo’ Cooper. The event which is scheduled for Wednesday, October 25 will be held at the Karl Hendrickson auditorium at Jamaica College and will feature a myriad of special guests.
Speaking with Observer Online, chairman of JaRIA, Ewan Simpson said the organisation wanted to do something special to honour a man whose love for Reggae burnt bright.
“He was somebody who, despite his humble status and operation, believed that we should always see ourselves as Kings in the world of music and see Jamaica as a most important geographical space because of what we give to the world in philosophy and music and culture,” Simpson said. “I believe that Ibo would want in celebration of him, for us to remember Jamaica’s music as our greatest asset. He would want us to give regard to Reggae as something that is on par with European classical music. On par in its complexity, on par in its quality and its place in the pantheon of music genres.”
With that in mind, Simpson revealed that when Cooper passed, JaRIA thought it fitting to transform this Reggae Wednesdays installation into a celebration of his life.
“We have a monthly series called Reggae Wednesdays that he was very much in support of that we started in August and he was one of the biggest supporters of that live music series. We would use it as an opportunity to have the industry and corporate come together and mingle and we were in the middle of planning for Wednesday’s show when we thought to ourselves ‘let’s just transform these plans into a celebration of Ibo,” he said. “We pivoted and decided that this would be our celebration of him so we kind of altered the line-up a little bit in collaboration with his family and invited some of his collegaues we knew would want to participate in this kind of celebration. We have a line-up that really reflects him and that will make for a great celebration for Wednesday.”
The tribute concert will see the likes of Inner Circle, Third World, Warrior King, Tony Rebel and others, make an appearance.
“We will be having Inner Circle, which was one of the first bands that he (Ibo) played with. They are based in Florida but they are all coming for the celebration. We will have the Third World family and by family I mean all the members of Third World that have been part of his Third World journey over the years. We will also have Nadine Sutherland, Tony Rebel, Khumar Fyah, Miguel from One Third, Levy’s Heritage, Warrior King, just some of the persons whom he has impacted and facilitated over the years,” Simpson revealed. “We didn’t have any resistance to being part of the event. Everybody who said yes were happy to be a part of the tribute.”
The event is set to start at 6:00pm and will go until 10:00pm. People who wish to attend are being asked to register via link on JaRIA’s website. Attendees are being asked to wear black, green and gold as requested by Cooper’s family.
Cooper passed away on October 12, after a brief illness.