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BY Jarmila Jackson Observer writer

Sunday, December 18, 2011:

THE 2012 Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival will usher in a series of events commemorating Jamaica’s 50th year as an independent nation.

Thursday, January 26, the event’s opening night, is an evening for the history books. It is dedicated solely to the country’s Golden Jubilee through music.

Bunny Wailer (bottom)   Leroy Sibbles (top)

At its recent launch at the Wyndham Kingston Hotel, the festival’s associate producer, Junior Taylor, disclosed that a special committee of music historians were assigned to select which artistes would best represent the evolution of Jamaican popular music.

“We’re going back to the origins of ska, rocksteady and mento, into the origins of reggae, the birth of dancehall, modern reggae and modern dancehall,” Taylor told The Observer. “It will be a musical expose to encompass that entire 50 years, with artistes to represent significant periods,” he continued.

The performers billed for that night include Shaggy, Half Pint, Luciano, Marcia Griffiths, Yellowman, George Nooks, Freddie McGregor, John Holt, Pluto Shervington, Michael Rose, AJ Brown, Etana, Christopher Martin, The Dragonnaires, and Marcia Barrett of Boney M.

Notable absentees are artistes who played a significant role in the early years of the country’s music, including ska legends Derrick Morgan, Prince Buster and the Skatalites; rocksteady icons Leroy Sibbles and Ken Boothe; and roots-reggae greats The Wailers, the Mighty Diamonds and Bunny Wailer.

All are still active on the international live circuit.

Taylor said some of these acts proved difficult to find.

“The reality of the matter is that a lot of the classic, veteran artistes whom we would want for an event of this magnitude are no longer with us,” Taylor explained. “The panel went through a long list of names which we narrowed down based on the availability of the artiste as well as how well they would work with the flow of the festival. Those we have selected will speak to different eras of music and as a bonus will narrate their performances with stories about those eras as well. “

We have tried several times to contact a number of other popular legendary acts but have thus far been unsuccessful,” he continued.

The Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival will take place from January 26-28 at the Multi-purpose Stadium in Trelawny.


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