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NO REGGAE AT THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MUSIC MERCHANTS!

 Guitatist Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith—

RESPECTED guitarist Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith says Jamaican administrators missed a golden opportunity by not showcasing the country’s music at the recent National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) in Anaheim, California.

Smith attended the January 21-24 show at Anaheim Convention Center. The annual event, a must-go for musicians, attracted 100,000 persons over four days.

It was the second visit at NAMM for the veteran session musician. He said one of its most popular attractions was a John Lennon booth where the former Beatle’s legacy was honored by musicians who performed his songs.

In addition, organizers of the booth donated US$14,000 of equipment daily, including four Epiphone Casino guitars which Lennon consistently used throughout his career.

John Lennon

John Lennon

“With an artist like Bob Marley wid such a strong message, there should have been a presence. The Lennon people were spreading his message with song like Imagine an’Give Peace a Chance,” said Smith. “As Rasta, our message of One Love, Africa Unite…none of dat was there.”Smith, who played on three of Marley’s albums, believes because the reggae king is identified as a musician with the Gibson guitar, that company could have been approached to manufacture a Marley brand.

“Yuh could come up wid a guitar dat’s affordable fi some likkle youth who put together a band. Dem woulda want a Bob Marley guitar,” he said.

Bob Marley

Bob Marley

This year’s NAMM was attended by high-profile artists such as Stevie Wonder and Grammy-winning rock band Toto.

First held in 1901, the NAMM is the world’s largest music trade show. The top manufacturers of instruments are represented at the show, which is also held annually in Frankfurt, Germany.

—By Howard Campbell

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