Words and photos by Martei Korley
Among the many activities surrounding the memorial services for Gregory Isaacs, who recently succumbed to lung cancer, perhaps none highlighted the adoration of The Cool Ruler more than the musical send-off held at the Ranny Williams Centre in Kingston this past Thursday (November 18th).
A free concert scheduled there as a nine-night/set-up (local burial tradition in which a large memorial and social gathering often blur the lines) for the fans and family, turned into a wholesale celebration of the man and his catalog. For about two weeks the news media had been brimming with stories and anecdotes about the beloved son of Fletcher’s Land, downtown Kingston, who rose to international stardom singing about the most universal of subjects. Love.
Gregory was quoted saying that he wanted to be remembered as man who sang of love and spread the message of love. And there is plenty of love out there for him, judging by the accolades being doled out from all sides. Even his famous struggle with cocaine addiction hasn’t blighted the public view of Greg’ry, the man who would drive his brethren to school; The family man, the singer.
Kingston’s musical fraternity came out in force tipping their hats to the man in the off-white three-piece suit with a 5-hour concert. From the Gregory Isaacs soundalike contest winners to a host of celebrities, all helped Gregory “cross the border” one last time…