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ARTISTS ENCOURAGED TO GET THEIR HOUSE IN ORDER, PREVENT LIVING OR DYING IMPOVERISHED!

By Howard Campbell
Observer senior writer

 

FOUNDER of Tribute To The Greats, Kingsley Goodison, says artists must get their house in order to prevent the indignity of living, or dying, impoverished.

Kingsley Goodison

Kingsley Goodison

His annual event, which celebrates its 20th anniversary on July 28 at Curphey Place in St Andrew, has honored several performers who experienced challenges late in life.

“Some of the artists who fell on hard times and then passed away could maybe have done some better planning and saving. They may have thought that they would always have a hit song in the charts,” Goodison told the Jamaica Observer. “They never thought of the day when they would not be performing or recording…they never thought, ‘what will happen if…’”

Singer/pianist Theophilus “Snapping” Beckford, Alton Ellis and Skully Simms are some of the acts Goodison honored, who struggled in their twilight years.

Stories that families of ‘name’ acts like Frankie Paul struggled to bury them are common. Paul died in May at age 51 and was buried one month later because relatives could not afford funeral expenses.

At his service, culture minister Olivia Grange called on Jamaican artists to be more responsible with their earnings. Goodison, who has followed the music business for over 50 years, agrees.

“Artists should ensure that they collect any payments/royalties due to them. They should resist the urge to spend too much ‘now’ on material things and put some of their earnings away for their pension,” he said.

Olivia 'Babsy' Grange also cautioned artists

Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange also cautioned artists

Grange is among this year’s Tribute To The Greats honorees. A dancer in youth, she managed grassroots bands during the 1970s and was part of the Specs/Shang team that helped steer the international success of Shabba Ranks, Patra and Mad Cobra during the 1990s.

Other honorees are brothers Dennis (audio engineer) and Michael (audio engineer/broadcaster) Thompson; musician Calvin “Bubbles” Cameron; Omar Davies — musicologist , for outstanding support to the music industry for over 20 years; Jerry Small — musicologist, photographer for over 40 years; Nadine Sutherland — singer/songwriter; Count Owen — mento and calypso singer/musician; Alphanso Castro — dancer, percussionist with Carlos Malcolm and The Afro-Jamaican Rhythms, and; pioneer acts Martin and Derrick.

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