Caribbean Weekly Entertainment News week of January 5th, 2009

Silver Spring/New York City: The Music Award season is upon us from now until May 2009 the music industry will be celebrating it practitioners by honoring the most outstanding members with awards. On The Youth View Awards is scheduled to take place on February 7 in Kingston, while the Grammy Awards takes place February 8th at the Shrine Auditorium in California. As Jamaican music prepare to celebrate it 50th birthday the future of the Reggae Academy Awards RIA-Jam is in doubt. Acting chairman of the RAA, Frankie Campbell, released a statement explaining that the award will not be held this year and that the decision to postpone the staging of the Reggae Academy Awards show to a later date in 2009 to be announced. The Barbados Music Award took Place on January 4, 2009. (Update next report)

Serani robbed at gunpoint in St. Croix

Serani: Dance hall singjay/producer Serani and his road manager were the victims of a daring near-deadly robbery at gunpoint on the island of St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands according to published report in the dancehall website The two were reportedly set up by the promoter of the show. Serani had just performed at, they were mysteriously dropped outside the hotel and immediately jacked by two gunmen who carried them upstairs to Serani’s room, put them on their faces on the ground and told Serani they were going to kill him. They proceeded to rob him and his road manager of a substantial amount of cash and expensive jewelry before making their escape. (Source OutAroad)

Album sales plunge, digital downloads up

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) – Music sales have continued to slump in 2008 as the increased number of downloads of digital tracks failed to make up for a plunge in the sale of compact discs. Year-end sales figures released Wednesday by The Nielsen Co show total album sales, including album equivalents made up of single digital tracks; fell to 428.4 million units, down 8.5 per cent from 500.5 million in 2007.

Physical album sales fell 20 per cent to 362.6 million from 450.5 million, while digital album sales rose 32 per cent to a record 65.8 million units. Digital track sales, such as those conducted in Apple Inc’s iTunes Music Store, were up 27 per cent from last year, breaking the 1 billion mark for the first time at 1.07 billion. The report continues a troubling trend for the recording industry, which has a harder time maintaining profits when consumers buy single songs instead of albums. The number of transactions rose 10.5 per cent to 1.5 billion, although the figure treats single track and whole album purchases the same.

“You can see the overall unit sales as a positive, but their model is really built on album sales and that just continues to decline,” said Silvio Pietroluongo, director of charts for Billboard magazine. Some record labels are making progress. Craig Kallman, chief executive of Warner Music Group Corp’s Atlantic Records, whose artistes include Kid Rock and TI, said his label passed a milestone in the year to September by having its digital revenue exceed that from physical CD sales. The label, the top-selling in the US in 2008, has had to become more careful in choosing which artistes to promote and more patient in waiting for their songs to break out, he said. Nielsen SoundScan said album sales fell in every genre.

Classical music saw the biggest drop at 26 per cent, followed by country at 24 per cent and Latin at 21.1 per cent. Taylor Swift was the year’s best-selling artiste with more than four million albums sold, followed by AC/DC, Lil Wayne and Cold play. Swift had two albums on Nielsen’s Top 10 sales lists: her self-titled debut at No 6 and her sophomore album Fearless at No 3.

“Taylor Swift is a great artiste development story that started as organically as you can in the digital age,” said Scott Borchetta, president and CEO of her label, Big Machine Records. “It involved online, non-stop radio tours and strategic TV opportunities which led to non-stop touring. But – most importantly – Taylor connected with her fans like no other artiste in 2008.”

Lil Wayne had the year’s top-selling album, Tha Carter III, with 2.87 million units sold, with Coldplay’s Viva La Vida (2.14 million) and Swift’s Fearless (2.11 million) rounding out the top three. The top-selling digital artiste was Rihanna with 9.94 million tracks sold, followed by Swift and Kayne West. Ironically, as digital downloads grew, vinyl album sales also climbed. In 2008, more vinyl albums were purchased (1.88 million) than any other year since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991. Nielsen also reported that music sales exceeded 65 million in the final week of 2008, representing the biggest sales week in the history of Nielsen SoundScan. The previous record was Christmas week of 2007 with 58.4 million music purchases. (Source: Jamaica Observer)

Toots Hibbert

Toots Hibbert of Toots and The Maytals have been a seminal figure in the World of Entertainment for 50 years. He’s recorded classics hits continue and is one of the most successful reggae acts ever. Hibberts whose extensive catalogue of hit songs includes Funky Kingston, Monkey Man, 5446, Bam Bam, Daddy and Pressure Drop has seen his career revived in the last five years. His 2004 album, True Love, featured collaborations with Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Jeff Beck and No Doubt won a Grammy award for Best Reggae Album in 2005.

Toots’s tour schedule, like his peer Burning Spear, is year round. His musical guest touring reads like who’s who in the world of music: international acts like the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Buffett, Los Lonely Boys, Dave Matthews, No doubt, Ben Harper, Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Riatt and James Blunt. His tour venue covers the gamut playing the European festival circuit, (playing before 1million fans) touring the United States and performing at a private party for Elvis Presley’s grandson.

Toots, who has developed a new fan base with 90% of his audience, usually white teenagers, consistently attracts 3,000 fans to his solo shows in the US. Toots concert tour in the US is booked by the international booking agent the William Morris Agency.

Although he hasn’t had a hit song in recent years Toots, like The Wailers band, who recorded ‘Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven’ w/country star Kenny Chesney, and have worked with country music icon Willie Nelson and Brazilian Gilberto Gil, The Burning Spear, who recorded with Bernie Worrel and Bootsy Collin, and Culture continues to both record and tour with international music icons hit makers while demonstrating the ability to give sold out performances on both sides of the Atlantic.

Marley Mentor ‘Tata’ dies at 68

Two years after the passing of Bob Marley’s chief mentor, Mortimo Planno, another mentor has joined the list of the dearly departed. Vincent Ford aka Tata’, a sage, who influenced the growth and development of reggae’s most famous icon, Bob Marley and is immortalized in Bob’s son Ziggy Marley & the Melody Maker 1990’s international hit “Look Whose Dancing’ died on December 28 2008.

A slender diminutive Rastafarian, he lived in the ‘government yard’ ghetto yard in Kingston he and Marley shared in Trench Town during the 1960s. That yard is now the Bob Marley Culture Yard. Ford lost both legs to due remained wheelchair-bound throughout his life. Ford was given the writer’s credit by Bob Marley for No Woman Nuh Cry the universal anthem for oppressed women; one for Marley’s most popular re-recorded songs, Ford is also credited as writer of three songs from the 1976 Rastaman Vibration album: Positive Vibration, Roots Rock Reggae and Crazy Baldhead. Since Marley’s death in May 1981, Ford became a popular figure at events honoring the reggae legend. He succumbed to complications of diabetes and hypertension, Kelly said.

Jamaican Film/Entertainment Pioneer “Dickie” Jobson Dies

Richard “Dickie” Jobson, film producer/director, music consultant director died December 25th, Christmas morning, at the University Hospital. Jobson, who is from a entertainment family, is renown in the world of entertainment all his entire life. As close confidante of Island Records’ founder Chris Blackwell, he served a director of both Island Records and Blue Mountain Music at the inception, and played a key role in the historic signing of artistes to the labels as well as their worldwide promotion.

He managed Bob Marley and the Wailers during the defining years, 1973-1975, working with artists such as Joe Higgs, Jimmy Cliff and Toots & the Maytals. However Jobson is best known for his cinematic exploits as the writer/director for the 1982 groundbreaking Jamaican feature film Countryman. A cult classic Countryman is rated among the 10 best in its genre of movies. The movie was premiered at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival and is still in demand.

Jobson, the cousin of former Native Band member Wayne Jobson (Producer/Writer of Peter Tosh’s Biographic DVD ‘Red X’Steppin Razor) create the series Runaway Bay, produced by Canal Plus and Yorkshire Television. The 26 episodes series ran from 1990- 1993. As a director of Blue Mountain Music, he ventured into the food business as the director of The Fat Burger Inc, a popular eatery in Los Angeles. He was also a director for the Jamaican organic farming and livestock company, Allied Farms Limited. Jobson began writing a new feature vehicle for Countryman, the new flick, Curse of the Golden Idol was in its final stages of development when he passed.

Jamaican sprint Usian Bolt’ wins International awards for 2008

PARIS, France (CMC) – Eurosport has named Jamaica’s super sprinter Usain Bolt its 2008 Sports Personality of the Year for his enthralling victories at the Beijing Olympics in August. The Eurosport-Yahoo website conducted a poll among journalists, commentators, and pundits to give their top three sports people based on achievements over the past 12 months, and the 22-year-old Caribbean giant easily topped the votes.

Bolt, who smashed world records in the 100 and 200 meters and 4X100 Meter Relay in Beijing almost, tripled his nearest rival – Michael Phelps – with a tally of 126 points in the poll. The scoring system awarded 10 points if placed first, seven points for second and five for third. Phelps, who won an unprecedented eight Olympic gold medals in Beijing, gathered 46 points, 80 behind Bolt, for the runner-up spot.

Bolt previously won the prestigious IAAF Male Athlete of the Year award in Monaco. The IAAF Male Athlete for 2008, who established world records of 9.69secs and 19.30secs in the 100 and 200 meters before sharing in the new mark of 37.10secs in the 4x100m relay, polled 32.5 per cent of the votes or 1,673 points as against Phelps, who received 30.24 per cent or 1,557 points.

He won the Central America and Caribbean (CAC) Athlete of the Year, Track and Field News’ Male Athlete of the Year, (Track and Field News is considered the Bible of track and field) Jamaica’s Athlete of the Year, the BBC Overseas Sports Personality award, the Champion of Champions 2008 label for the French magazine L’Equipe. Bolt became only the third man in the 50-year history of the highly respected L’Equipe magazine’s Athlete of the Year choices to receive a perfect score from the international panel.

The four-month-long argument over whether Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt or American swimmer Michael Phelps was the sportsman of the 2008 is finally settled. He tied with Isinbayeva, the Russian pole vault star, for International Sports Press Association’s (AIPS) 2008 Athletes of the Year. Voting for (AIPS) was done via an online poll that attracted the votes of 571 journalists, from 96 countries and regions. Bolt tallied 1,673 points in the poll to defeat Phelps (1,557)

Both men starred at last summer’s Olympics in Beijing, China, where Phelps snared eight gold medals in the Aquatic Cube over eight days, before Bolt collected three medals – all in world record times – in the Bird’s Nest Stadium. However, it is the 22-year-old Bolt who came out on top of the International Sports Press Association’s (AIPS) 2008 Athletes of the Year online poll which attracted the votes of 571 journalists from 96 nations. Bolt finished second in the voting for the magazine Sports Illustrated Athlete of the Year behind American swimmer Michael Phelps, who won a record eight gold medals in Beijing. However, Michael Johnson, the man whose record Bolt broke when he won the 200-metre sprint in Beijing in 19.30 seconds, believes Bolt should have won the award.

Ashford and Simpson Added to Jamaica Jazz and Blues

Their musical and marriage could best be described for its longevity and durability as their biggest recorded hit song ‘Solid As A Rock’ duo’ singer songwriting duo Ashford & Simpson are set to grace the stage of the 2009 Jamaica Jazz & Blues festival in January 22-24 2009. They have been added to the opening night line-up of the festival at Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Since its release ‘I’m so Special’ (the original mix) by Mavado the song has had instant success in Jamaica tearing up clubs and parties across the island. This success propelled ‘I’m So Special’ crossed over internationally into the Billboard charts recently entering at #53. The Jam was originally remixed by female rap superstar Foxy Brown, and now, G Unit member Tony Yayo has also remixed for his latest mix-tape – Bloody X- Mass

Sting 25: The After mat: According to published reports the police in Jamaica are planning to charge Adidjah Palmer aka ‘Vybz Kartel’ and David Brooks aka ‘Mavado’ for breaches of the Town and Communities Act following their performances at Sting 2008 last Saturday morning. The entertainers used profanity-laced and threatening lyrics. According to the police they are getting ready to pursue formal charges against Mr. Palmer and Mr. Brooks and any other entertainer who we find in breach of the act.

Di war Nuh Done: the Clash on at Sting 25 on Boxing day in Jamaica was suppose to be the “settlement of all argument” as who is the top Dj in the dancehall, well it wasn’t. Round two; the after mat began in earnest the next day.Katel tied to convince the rest of Jamaica (he wasn’t able to convince the entire jam-world massive he was the winner) that he won by recording a diss Mavado tune the next day. Now DJ Merciless who begged for a clash at Sting but was totally ignored, undaunted he continues his quest. After eight years absence from the dance hall scene he needs to build back his career. He threw out a challenge to Ninja Man “Dis war nuh done, anywhere mi buk him a war.”

Ninja Man yesterday, said he had no intentions of clashing with Merciless whom he says he has killed and buried. Once yuh nuh hear from an artiste for more than five year, dem a Heineken Star time artiste, and mi nuh hear from Merciless in eight years.” Ninja said that he asked Sting Director Isaiah Laing to organize a clash with Bounty Killer, Beenie Man and Vybz Kartel all onstage but his request was denied.

Court Order Keeps South African Reggae Festival Alive

Cape Town’s Rastafarian community won its case in the Cape High Court against the City of Cape Town and the Metro Police tried to stop the Rastafarian community from holding their 10th annual Sunny Ocean Reggae Festival. The Cape High Court judge declared the city’s refusal to permit the event null and void and restrained the city and Metro Police from preventing Patterson from hosting the event.

After winning an urgent interdict order the Rasta’s staged the 10th Sunny Ocean Reggae Festival was held at Soetwater near Kommetjie. They applied to host the event at the end of October and all departments in the city approved the event but one. They have held this event every year for the past 10 years on this site without any trouble. Festival goers enjoyed live reggae music and stalls where they could get Rastafarian merchandise and food. Some people danced while others sat chatting in a haze of smoke, listening to the music of Beanie Man, Sean Paul and Bob Marley. (Full story: The Reggae News Agency)

The Universal Cure- Jah Cure

A joint venture between Miami-based So- Be Entertainment and Jamaica’s Danger Zone Records presented ‘The Universal Cure,’’Jah Cure’s first album of new music since his release from prison last year. The Universal Cure was released on Jan 7, 2009.

The Universal Cure includes Reflections, Cure’s seminal penitentiary recording significant for roots reggae tracks like Sufferation, Freedom and U Believe in Me, the latter being his heart felt expression of gratitude to his supporters. His hot hit-making streak which brought him to the attention of audiences around the world has noticeably cooled since his release. His management is hoping that with The Universal Cure Jah Cure will be able to reignite his hit making streak, with the single Mr. Jailer. The track was a hit for its writer, Nigerian singer Asa.

During his incarceration Cure’s rehabilitation was an integral part of the Jamaican correctional system’s Music Rehabilitation Program. It was during this time he released the deeply emotional singles Love Is and Longing For.

As his international stature grew and details emerged of reported irregularities in his legal trail and his conviction defending Cure’s innocence became a cause celebe throughout the reggae world. Jamaican rights groups were outrage at Cure’s newfound celebrity and the sympathy his hits generated.

Road Tour 2009:
The Wailers had two US tours in 2008, they begins a month long tour in San Diego.
KyMani Marley hits Brazil for an eight-date beginning- January 6 in Fortaleza city.
Ziggy Marley, Shaggy, Inner Circle and Arrested Development, headlines
Ragamuffin Festival, on January 24 in Fremantle, Western Australia.
Pato Banton & the Mystic Roots band hits House of Blues (Anaheim and Sunset Strip)
for two shows: January 3 & 4
Eddy Grant Kicks Off World Tour in February 09
Morgan Heritage Heads For Africa in 2009

Raspy alto Neo-Reggae Star Keishera

Keishera “I’m most happy when I’m singing,”

25-year-old Singer/songwriter Keishera was born in Kingston Jamaica. Her family exposed to music at a very early age, taking her along to concerts and stage shows to see some of Jamaica’s finest performers. She also listened to Whitney Houston, and I thought everybody sang high. She had a flair for the performance arts whether it was modeling, acting or singing. “I always knew I could sing but was afraid of how husky the texture of my voice I was… afraid of my raspy alto.”

Exposure to female singers Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Tracy Chapman, Anita Baker, and Sade changed her mind about singing. Keishera later moved to Brooklyn, New York to live with her mother at the age of 10 and knew she wanted to be an entertainer. Keishera became a successful model; her confidence grew “but still felt like that wasn’t my calling.” Despite being constantly encouraged by friends to pursue music, she wasn’t truly convinced until her run-ins with legendary icons Maya Angelou, Patti LaBelle and the late Ahmet Ertegun, Atlantic records boss —who encouraged her to focus on her dreams which further convinced the rising star that she was on the right path.

With her infusion of the sounds of her Jamaican culture, her raspy smooth tones, and sultry soul Keishera has developed her own unmistakable sound. Keishera is collaborating with reggae superstar, Shaggy to produce the hit single in Europe and Jamaica, “Feels Right.” This was followed by the single “Cry No More,” an anti- domestic abuse tribute Keishera wrote with Jamaican hit-maker Christopher Birch. Keishera is becoming a force to be reckoned with and has risen to every occasion sharing her talent with the world. Currently, Keishera is hard at work on her as-yet-untitled debut album with hit young hit- maker, producer GoldenChyl aka GC. She is also a songwriter for Royalty Network. And while this star in-the-making will open minds with her unique vocals and reggae-soul fusion, ultimately, she just wants to make good music. (Full Story: reggae Agency)

Pamputtae Continues to Shock at Sting 25

As promised, Pamputtae delivered her best at Sting. The jam-word massive cheered for dancehall’s fastest rising female artiste Pamputtae who according to published report gave one of the best performances of the night.

Men saluted Pamputtae with firecrackers graced the stage the, while females scream their head off. Pamputtae had full command of the audience having almost everyman whining up pon a katty while others watched her jiggle up har body pon stage. After teaching the ladies how to ride it, sit down pon it back way and balance pon it – Pamputtae had to return for a second encore to finish what she had started.

Pamputtae then close her set with her mega hit tunes Good Good (Pat Yuh P*ssy) and Call Yuh Man Name. The moment she set foot off stage Pamputtae was swarmed by both local and international media houses. If Pamputtae can continue giving this kind of performance and keep on creating more hit tunes, she will definitely become the new mumma of dancehall for 2009. (Full story Yard Flex)

Bar-Be, the American base dancehall/Reggae

singer has started 2009 with one of the hottest tunes. Her latest single ‘Love You Anyway has set a high musical standard and is a great follow up to her hits collaboration ‘Missing You’ with Junior Kelly and her club banger with Beenie Man – ‘Give It Up’

Dr. Dizzle works with D’Angel on hot new Dreams single

Dale “Dr. Dizzle” Virgo produced D’Angel recent sultry single, “Dreams.” The track is a heavy-hitter among fans and on the charts. He’s worked with dancehall riddim maker Cordell “Skatta” Burrell. The 23-year-old is no newcomer, who started producing music more than 9 years ago. He prefers to remain the mysterious figure behind the scenes to focus on the artistes with whom he works and allows his finished products to speak for themselves. and throughout that time he has worked with R&B’s chart-topper and Jay-Z’s protégé, Rihanna, on her multi-platinum album, “A Girl Like Me”; he also produced Gyptian’s mega-hit, “Serious Times”, QQ’s “Poverty”, Baby Tash’s “Mix Up”, Singer Jah’s “Register” – the latter two, both winners in this year’s Magnum Kings and Queens of the Dancehall competition – and the list goes on.

D’Angel The multi-platinum producer has also produced a plethora of songs and albums for Gospel acts including, Moses, Goddy Goddy, Prodigal Son, Ryan Mark, St. Matthew, Craig C, among others. More recently, Virgo worked with British singer, Estelle, who is known for the songs “American Boy” with Kanye West, “Come Over” featuring Sean Paul and is signed to John Legend’s label, Home School Records. She recently visited the island where the two put the finishing touches on a reggae/rap-fused track at the G-Jam studios, where Virgo is now based. In addition to that, Virgo also worked on the Jamaican movie, “Glory to Glorianna”.

With all that said, it was impossible to second guess the young genius when he spoke in reference to D’Angel’s new single “Dreams”, saying, “It’s a good cross-over tune for her and it will most-likely be a hit. It came together really well.” (Source:

Dancehall newcomer

Tifa who topped Pat McKay, Program Director of Reggae and Gospel at Sirius Satellite Radio list of Female new artist of the Year copped Youth View Award nomination for Young, Hot & Hype Female 2009 Youth View Awards.

Macka Diamond begins 2009 busy.

Macka Diamond race out of Jamaica after Sting and did two shows in North and South America. First she was Guyana where she performed Baby Cham and drew over 15,000 fans, she then headed for Florida.

Macka Diamond song Robbery is #1 on the RE TV dancehall chart in Jamaica and #1 in Antigua. Her previous single Laptop also hit the top ten of the Jamaica Music Countdown. Macka Diamond performed at the Sav Impact show at the Llandilo Cultural Centre on New Year’s Day.

The lawn of Jamaica House according to published was jam-packed in support of a worthy cause, the Bustamante Hospital for Children. Spearheaded by diamond-selling artiste Shaggy, Robert Livingston and his Big Yard family assembled peers in the music industry, most of whom were only too eager to give their services for free, for this fund- raiser. The line included Barrington Levy, Marcia Griffiths, Freddie McGregor, Morgan Heritage, Buju Banton, Allison Hinds, Tessanne Chin, Tarrus Riley, Tony Rebel, Etana, Elephant Man, Lady Saw, Macy Grey, Da’Ville, Rik Rok, Rayvon and Brian and Tony Gold.

With the theme, “One ticket = one life” the pricey $20,000 tickets which were snatched up first, quickly followed by the $10,000. The organizers had to eventually offer more tickets in both sections to keep apace with the demand.

Performances were astounding – hardcore dancehall act Lady Saw, in an emotional performance sang and teared up, even as the audience shed a few tears with her; Ele took voice lessons just so he could sing We Are The World. He burned the place up with an electric performance that took patrons through a range of emotions. Dancing the Gully Creepa and the Nuh Linga dance moves that Usain Bolt made internationally famous during last year’s Olympic Games, Elephant Man showed just why they call him the Energy God and represented well. If Elephant Man is the god of energy, Alison Hinds is the goddess. On the night, she was all energy. Dressed in a black, deep halter-back jumpsuit, Hinds started out with her hit Roll It Gal and lit up the massive crowd like Christmas lights. Before long, it was like carnival. When she sang Togetherness, it was as if the audience was under her spell. Rags and waving implements suddenly appeared. And at her behest, they swung left like blades of grass in a stiff crosswind, then right, then left, right, left right again.

Tessanne Chin:Buju and Gramps from Morgan Heritage teamed up for their hit version of the 23rd Psalm; Tarrus Riley sang about his baby and Shaggy was the thread that connected it all as he appeared at various times during the evening, sometimes by himself and at other times in combination with various acts. It was the show of shows and a wonderful, selfless way to start the New Year. Like all the acts declared, “Nuff respect to Shaggy.” A capacity crowd turned out to support Shaggy and Big Yard’s project to raise much-needed funds for the Bustamante Hospital for Children. The music fraternity was eager to assist Shaggy and the artistes turned in memorable performances. (Complied Gleaner@Observer)

Usian Bolt & his Girlfriend

The show was divided into three segments and Shaggy performed in all three, each time bringing his own unique style of great entertainment. He first appeared at the start of the first segment that was hosted by Milk and triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt, a slightly awkward relationship for the few minutes they were onstage together. However, that was soon forgotten as Shaggy, who followed a few incredible minutes from Dean Fraser, got into Boombastic. He was then joined onstage by Rik Rok and together they performed Bona fide Girl and perhaps their biggest hit It Wasn’t Me. Both songs were crowd pleasers.

Shaggy & Lady Saw. He returned shortly before 10 p.m. with Church Heathen before performing Summertime with Rayvon and then Oh Carolina. And then just like that he was gone again. He showed up again for engaging duets with Macy Gray – Thank You Lord – and Lady Saw with whom he performed his latest single Bad Man Don’t Cry and the reply that he wrote for Lady Saw.

Macy Gray delivered but at first it seemed as if she was going to have some trouble connecting with the audience. As she began her set, she had their attention but not their hearts. But then she reached for her trusty old hit I Try which had everyone singing along. Some patrons closed their eyes as they sang the lyrics to Gray’s 10-year-old anthem. There were really no poor performances on the night but the best of the others came from Morgan Heritage, Tarrus Riley, Marcia Griffiths, Luciano, Buju Banton, Tony Rebel, Freddie McGregor and a sweet ‘brawta’ from Barrington Levy. He closed out with Strength of a Woman and a short set with Tony Gold with whom he performed Sexy Lady. Sean Kingston and J Holiday were no shows.

Those who left us in 2008

Joe Gibbs, best known for producing a string of hit records by Dennis Brown and Culture during the 1970s, died from a heart attack in February. He was 65. Bandleader Byron Lee also died from cancer, in November. He led The Dragonnaires band for 50 years, making hit records and kept the calypso and soca sound alive in Jamaica

Cedella Booker, mother of reggae legend Bob Marley, died of natural causes in April at her South Florida home. She was 81 years old.

Singer Roy Shirley, the ‘High Priest’ of Reggae, died in July in London. He was 64. Sculptor/artist Christopher Gonzalez died from cancer in August at age 65.His provocative body of work included the bronze statue of Bob Marley, which was rejected by the Jamaican government.

Trumpeter Johnny ‘Dizzy’ Moore, founding member of The Skatalites, succumbed to cancer in August at age 69.

Shirley Campbell, a founding member of the National Dance Theatre Company, passed away in Miami in August.

Ermine Bramwell, better known in music circles as Cherry Green, who was a member of the original Wailers, along with Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, died in September in Miami, Florida.

Alton Ellis, the soulful singer largely responsible for making the rock steady beat famous, died in October in London at age 70 after a year-long battle with cancer. Girl I’ve Got a Date and Dance crasher are just two of his many hit songs.

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