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THERE were mixed reactions to the official Jamaica 50 song, On a Mission, which was released at the Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Record Sports Bar and Lounge in St Andrew on Friday afternoon.

The track — which is expected to energise the country going into the Jamaica 50 celebration in August — credits diamond-selling artist Shaggy as producer. He is joined on vocals by multi- Grammy winner Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Marley; deejays Assassin, Tifa and Wayne Marshall; and singers Chevelle Franklin, Beres Hammond, Romain Virgo, Tarrus Riley and Tessanne Chin.

From left: Romain Virgo; Tina Matalon, KFC’s marketing director; Tessanne Chin; Robert Bryan, chairman of the Jamaica 50 Commission; and, Assassin all share a moment for the cameras following the official launch of the Jamaica 50 song at Usain Bolt’s Tracks and RecordSports Bar and Lounge in St Andrew on Friday afternoon. (Photo: Lionel Rookwood)

On a Mission is being released through a partnership with KFC.

Dr Leahcim Semaj, psychologist and radio host, was not impressed with the song.

For Semaj, the song lacked a sense of ‘Jamaicaness’ and does not represent a country celebrating its golden anniversary of Independence.

“This song won’t make it through to August,” he said. “My prediction is that it will not get played at the parties and no sound system will play this in a dance. It just does not sound Jamaican,” he said.

For female deejay Tifa, the track has a universal appeal and that she feels is the strong point.

“Yes, there is a beat that is not dancehall or reggae, but when you hear the artists bringing their individual styles to the track. It’s definitely Jamaican,” she said.

Romain Virgo was also happy with the project. He said he was pleased to be part of this historic recording celebrating Jamaica’s 50th anniversary and the final product was great for him.

Dancehall artist Assassin said the coming together of the different voices and musical styles is what adds to the appeal of the song.

“I used the riddim that they presented and deejay on that riddim, and what you hear from me is very Jamaican,” he said.

Leahcim Semaj

A previous soundtrack for Jamaica’s 50th anniversary — Find the Flag which featured 15 artists — was done by music producer Mikey Bennett during the previous Jamaica Labour Party Administration. He had been approached by the then head of the Jamaica 50 Commission.

Beres Hammond, Freddie McGregor, Tarrus Riley, Konshens, Capleton, Admiral Bailey, Ken Boothe and Marcia Griffiths are some of the artists on Find The Flag.

When contacted by the Jamaica Observer Bennett said, “Nobody has communicated anything to me or to any of the artists dem to say that the song is not the song no more.”

Mikey Bennett


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