To cap off the month-long celebration of Reggae Month, the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) will be hosting its annual Honor Awards and has already announced this year’s recipients.
The list of honorees represents a wide cross-section of players in the local Jamaican music fraternity including emerging and established performers, musicians and sound system operators, also media personalities, and behind the scenes personnel like engineers and songwriters.
This year’s lifetime achievement award will go to Owen Gray, the singer and songwriter who is referred to by many as Jamaica’s first home-grown star. The 81-year-old, who currently lives in London, was one of the first artists to record for Sir Clement “Coxsone” Dodd’s Downbeat label in 1959 and the first act to be produced by Chris Blackwell in 1960. His single “Patricia” was the first record ever released by Island Records, owned by Blackwell.
Celebrated musician and songwriter Harold Butler will be honored with the award for his exceptional contribution to the reggae industry as a songwriter. He has written hits for several entertainers including Beres Hammond and Cynthia Schloss.
This year, three artists “Luciano” (Jepther McClymoth), U-Roy (Ewart Beckford) and Phyllis Dillon have been selected for Icon awards. While the male duo the Blues Busters are to receive the Icon award for iconic duo/group
In the area of gospel music, the awards go to George Banton and Change.
British reggae outfit Aswad is this year’s honoree for its contribution to the industry as a band.
Stephen “Cat” Coore, a founding member of renowned reggae band Third World, and a respected cellist and guitarist, will be awarded for his contribution to the reggae industry as an instrumentalist.
Engineers Shane Brown and Orville “Rorey” Baker will be recognized for their work in their particular field, and in the category of producer, Leroy and Dave Heywood, also known as Mafia and Fluxy, and Handel Tucker will be recognized.
Count Shelly Lloyd and the Coxsone Sound System will awarded as the top sound systems having a significant impact on the music.
Media awards go to popular radio personality and dub poet Mutabaruka, along with the music website Reggaeville.
The organizers of the popular and long-running street dance Rae Town Sundays will be honored in the category of promoter.
Posthumous awards for their contribution to the development of reggae music will go to Hornsman Ronald “Nambo” Robinson, who died in 2017, for his mentorship; Edward O’Sullivan Lee (Bunny Lee), and Winston “Bopee” Bowen, guitarist and vocalist Dalton Browne, who passed away late last year, and radio personality Tony Young.
The Gregory Isaacs Foundation award will go to Orville “Bagga” Case for his work in album cover designs.
The awards for Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Song of the Year are being put to a public vote. The results will be announced at the awards show, which will be a virtual showcase.