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LIFETIME AWARD FOR ZIGGY!

Ziggy Marley is the first reggae act to receive the Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement. The presentation took place at the Spring Sing held on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), last Friday.

Established in 1988 and hosted by the UCLA Alumni Association and Student Alumni Association to honor George and Ira Gershwins’ contributions to American music, the annual event is also a showcase for the best student talent on campus.

Ira Gershwin was an American lyricist who collaborated with his younger brother, composer George Gershwin, to create some of the most memorable songs of the 20th century. He died on August 17, 1983 while George pre-deceased him in 1937. Their songs include Rhapsody in Blue, Summertime, and Porgy and Bess.

“We wanted to acknowledge a genre of music that hasn’t been represented before among the Gershwin Award winners,” said Alyson Beckman of Marley’s selection. One of the event’s organizers remarked, “No reggae artiste has ever won it.” The award is intended to honor the creators of all musical genres.

“He brings a different perspective that’s optimistic, positive, and different from the rock-and-roll artistes who have a history of winning this award in the past,” Beckman said of Marley.

Ray Charles, Julie Andrews, MC Hammer, Pete Townsend, Anthony Kiedis, Alanis Morissette, Brian Wilson, and Ella Fitzgerald are all recipients of the award.

With eight Grammy Awards and an Emmy, Marley, 49, has managed to transform the music industry with his progressive agenda during his three-decade career, and build on the rich musical legacy of his father, reggae icon Bob Marley.

Marley, a former member of the sibling group Melody Makers, is known for songs including Fly Rasta, Love Is My Religion, and True To Myself.

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