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By Brian Bonitto—

 (T) Reggae singer AJ Brown, bearing his award was inducted into the IRAWMA Hall of Fame at the Bailey Hall in Broward College in Florida, on Sunday. (PHOTOS: GAIL ZUCKER) (R) Gospel singer Carlene Davis.
(B) Tarrus Riley & Etana posed for the camera—

SINGER AJ Brown and Third World received top honors at the 34th annual International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) at the Bailey Hall in Broward College, Fort Lauderdale, Sunday evening.

Brown, lead singer of Third World, was inducted into IRAWMA Hall of Fame along with singer/producer singer Ed Robinson.

Brown was pleased with the acknowledgement.

“It’s a milestone for me. This is the first award that I’ve been given outside of Jamaica. It shows my appeal is expanding, and the fact that I’m now the lead singer for Third World is bearing fruit,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

Third World walked away with the Best Caribbean Entertainment Group award.

Brown, who had a successful solo career, has been touring with the band since August 2013. He said filling the shoes of longtime vocalist Bunny Rugs was a challenge he was willing to undertake. Rugs died in February 2014 of cancer.

“I listened to the songs and played them in my sleep. Third World has a big catalogue, so I had to buckle down. My mission is to reproduce the sound that was recorded on these albums…I feel I’m doing a good job maintaining the integrity and essence of Third World,” said Brown.

“Third World has incorporated some of my originals in their set and that’s a nice way to create a newness and freshness,” he added.


Those originals include My Father My Friend, All Fall Down, When You Love and Love People.

Co-founded by guitarist Stephen ‘Cat’ Coore and keyboardist Ibo Cooper 42 years ago, Third World is one of reggae’s great bands. They are known for hits such as Now That We Found Love, 96 Degrees in the Shade, Try Jah Love, and Reggae Ambassador.

Other IRAWMA winners included: Tarrus Riley (Best Male Vocalist); Inner Circle (most outstanding show band); Latin musician Tito Puente Jr and broadcaster John T Hodgson (Award of Honor); Ploomie Lewis, Desmond Patterson and Osbourne Elliot (South Florida Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Music Industry for Over 40 years).

Established in 1982, IRAWMA acknowledges the accomplishments and contributions of reggae and world music artistes, songwriters, performers and promoters.

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