Words by LargeUp Crew
Photos by Martei Korley
This year, Reggae Month, the annual cultural program in Kingston, Jamaica presented by the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (better known as JaRIA) bled into March, connecting Black History Month with Women’s Month. It offered concerts and several helpings of award shows. And, as usual, there was way more talent showcased out there than we can mention here. Which is actually a good thing. However, here is some of what we saw…
Reggae Month got in gear with Bob Marley‘s 74th birthday celebration, held at the Bob Marley Museum at 56 Hope Road on February 6, featured performances from a slate of singers, including rising stars and staple veterans.
Lila Ike didn’t need a “Second Chance,” as she quickly won the crowd over.
Paradise Plum is in season! Naomi Cowan deh ya, in case you neva know…
Koffee fans losing a few beans when she takes the stage.
Everyone drank the Koffee…
Spanish Town’s own Lutan Fyah blazed up the stage.
Iba Mahr catching air, suspended over the stage at Bob Marley Museum.
Nadine Sutherland grew up on stage as a protege of Bob Marley and is definitely not a ‘bag of mouth’ at all. This woman has it, and smiles while everybody else runs around. Seani B, Bulpus, Richie Spice, we see you!
Thousands await showtime for the Dennis Brown tribute show at the Kingston Waterfront. The venue is a busy road during the day, but when it serves as a venue, you get the sense that it’s public space well used.
Jah Youth inna vibes! No remote control!
Lloyd Parks (at far left) and We The People, Dennis Brown’s original band, provided the sound for the performing artists alongside Dessie Jones’ Skool Band and Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith’s Bingistra.
Downtown full of style! Easy nuh, Tinga!
Now on to the Reggae Gold Awards, held at the National Indoor Arena. Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Jamaica’s Minister of Youth Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, and NCB Chairman Michael Lee Chin bestowed honours on awardees.
Ska don Derrick Morgan and Jamaica’s former prime minister Edward Seaga shake hands.
Ken Boothe rocking steady in all-white.
It’s electric! The Queen of Reggae, Marcia Griffiths, performs hit after hit, including her iconic crossover smash, “Electric Boogie” — or, as you might call it, “The Electric Slide.”
Ola, Ola, Ayyy! Beenie Man, Sizzla, Babsy Grange, Capleton and Yellowman do the “Electric Slide.”
Honoree Bunny Wailer with his son, artiste and broadcaster Asadenaki.
Leggo, looking like a King of Style.
Ken Boothe gets ushered off stage after collecting a well-deserved award.
Tarrus Riley aka Singy-Singy blasts across the stage during his performance at the Reggae Gold Awards.
“Fadda Beres” showed his impeccable performing skills for a very excited audience. No signs of the fatigue Mr. Hammond complained about backstage, full hundred!
Beres communicates with the band…
Sax man Dean Fraser heads to the locker room after a long night.
The 30-piece JARIA Orchestra, led by Ibo Ccooper, gets ready behind hostess Colleen Douglas to take off and rock The Little Theatre for the JaRIA Honour Awards. The awards recognized individuals in various areas of reggae music for their extraordinary contributions to the Jamaican music industry.
A jovial Lloyd Parks presents the Sound System Award to DJ Delano of the long-running Renaissance Sound, alongside his son, Delano Thomas III (aka DJ 3D).
Legendary bassist Boris Gardner presents a posthumous award to producer, engineer and studio owner Harry J, accepted by daughter Tara Johnson.
One Third, a vocal trio, sing a Dennis Brown medley at the JARIA Awards.
Tanya Stephens received the JARIA Songwriter Award 2019.
George Nooks received an award in the Gospel Artist category.
Eric Donaldson was recognized as an Iconic Artist for a lifetime of contributions — and his festival song hits in particular.
Earl Chinna Smith, one of Jamaica’s most important guitarists.
Legendary engineer and producer Delroy “Phatta” Pottinger, of Anchor Studios fame.
Donovan Germain of Penthouse Records, a founding JARIA member, was recognized for his tireless efforts in the area of mentorship.
The I-Threes were recognized as an Iconic Group. The crowd was besides itself that all of the original members — Judy Mowatt, Rita Marley, Marcia Griffiths — were in attendance.
Derrick Morgan received a Lifetime Achievement award, which he accepted from the floor
… While Mr. Derrick Harriott was also recognized as an iconic artist.
Ibo Cooper, JaRIA president and Third World legend, advocated for a stronger and more unified recording industry in Jamaica.
… Then it was time for Warrior King to heat up the stage a bit.
Nadine Sutherland presented the award for Breakout Artiste of the Year to Naomi Cowan.
But the song of the year was a no brainer and, without question, belonged to Koffee for “Toast.”
LargeUp family Yakub Grant with JARIA’s 2019 Breakout Artist of The Year, Naomi Cowan. Reggae Month done!