Gregory Isaacs Foundation continues singer’s charity work
By Mel Cooke——-
Gregory Isaacs performing without a hat was about as inconceivable as Ity delivering wisecracks without Fancy Cat and a 100-metre Olympic finals without at least two Jamaicans facing the starter.
Appropriately, then, the Sunday, July 15 observation of the late singer’s 62nd birthday is subtitled ‘It’s a Hat Affair’. Isaacs died on Monday, October 25, 2010 in England. Among his hit songs are Night Nurse, Tune In and Front Door. In a presentation at last year’s International Reggae Day symposium at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Evah Gordon said that Isaacs has more than 500 albums, including compilations.
June Isaacs, Gregory’s widow and chair of the Gregory Isaacs Foundation, which is staging the event, said “we ask for persons to wear a hat. The hat was Gregory’s signature.”
The concert and party at Studio 38, Trafalgar Road, New Kingston, is free, but persons are encouraged to make a donation in cash or kind (including foodstuff) towards the three charities Gregory supported during his lifetime.
Those three entities are the Black Harmony and St Barnabas basic schools in Central Village and Fletcher’s Land, respectively.
However, Isaacs said, “if you don’t have a hat or something to drop in (the contribution container) still come.”
The list of performers includes The Mighty Diamonds, Tarrus Riley, John Holt, Big Youth, U Roy, George Nooks, Strangejah Cole, Bongo Herman, Cocoa Tea, Tinga Stewart, Mikey General, Edi Fitzroy, Tristan Palma, Hezron, Prophecy, Noddy Virtue and Lukani. Live Wyya, Roots Radics and Lloyd Parkes and We the People bands will be on the stand and Mikey Barnett from KOOL FM will play recorded music.
For those who cannot make it, the birthday celebration will be streamed live on juicetvjamaica.com.
QQ, No-Maddz and Denise ‘Isis’ Miller are the event’s hosts.
June said this is the only event the foundation has planned “right now” for Gregory’s birthday.
In terms of recordings, she said TADS Records is about to put out a four-CD box set of Gregory Isaacs’ recordings for the second anniversary of his passing, on October 25. “People still show interest. The sales are there,” Isaacs said.
She said that while managing the Cool Ruler’s musical affairs is “challenging, we just have to take it up, take the reins of the horse and ride on. Protect the legacy, build on it and carry on”.
Holding those reins of the Gregory Isaacs Foundation along with June Isaacs are Yvonne Chang, Colin Leslie, lance Cowan, Myrtle Shepherd, Copeland Forbes and Junior Sinclair.
“Presently, we are concentrating on fund-raising events, first to build the foundation and then support more charities, especially ones to do with children. Gregory started out kind-hearted to children and we want to keep it like that.”
June said with this concert as the beginning, “I would say I am a promoter. This is just the start of things to come”. This one has been easy, what with the enduring love for the Cool Ruler.
In addition to donations to the charities, including a sick bay for Black Harmony and refurbishing the toilets at St Barnabas last year, Isaacs said “We go there in our spare time, read to them and so on. We chat with them, let them see someone from outside their community, so they feel more wanted.”