Jamaica has been elected to the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO, for the first time.
At the elections in Paris on Tuesday, Jamaica received more votes than Angola for a seat on the important Committee which decides whether a property is inscribed on the World Heritage List.
Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna, who led the lobby for support of Jamaica's candidacy for membership of the Committee, described the vote as historic, important and well deserved.
"I am elated that we won our bid for membership of the World Heritage Committee. It was a difficult lobby, but we never relented as a seat at this table has exponential benefits to our country for the future as we are positioning culture as a pillar for growth. So in that respect, we can say mission accomplished.
"But the work to promote and protect our heritage continues. As a member of the World Heritage Committee, Jamaica will represent the interests of small-island developing states that are not very well represented, or in our case, not represented at all, on the list of World Heritage Sites."
The election to the committee for the first time was due to the consistent lobbying efforts of the Jamaican Embassy in Brussels, the Jamaica National Commission for UNESCO, the Ministry of Youth and Culture and Hanna's overtures at the recent UNESCO General Conference.
Jamaica's membership to the Committee will run until 2017. The country will be represented by Vivian Crawford and Dr Janice Lindsay. Other countries represented on the Committee are Croatia, Finland, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Lebanon, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Vietnam and Turkey.
"This is a historic day for our country, as Jamaica has never had a property inscribed as a world heritage site despite our culture and heritage being revered by the globe," said Hanna.
She asked all Jamaicans to keep interested as the progress continues.
Jamaica has applied for the Blue and John Crow Mountains to be inscribed on the World Heritage List and will begin preparing a dossier for Port Royal's nomination to the list. Jamaica will also be putting a case for reggae music to be inscribed on the Intangible Heritage List.
No record deal from a major label? No problem for reggae artiste Jah Jah Yute who sells his CDs at flea markets in the United States (US) and also treats his buyers and prospective buyers to live performances. The sale of reggae and dancehall music has been trending downwards for years with sales tracker, Soundscan, reporting in 2009 that collectively reggae/dancehall music sold just 502,171 units for the first 10 months of the year. Sean Paul's Imperial Blaze album with sales of 70,917 was leading the way at the time. But unlike many reggae and dancehall artistes who wait in earnest for a record deal from a major label in the US to help them make an album and then sell it, New Jersey-based Jah Jah Yute has taken matters into his own hands.
Thirty-six long, long years ago, the U.S. bicentennial was in full swing and swagger. Here in the States, rock and roll was still king, but the ugly, artificial facelessness of disco was looming and blooming on the horizon of dance floors everywhere. No, I simply cannot express in words just how much I absolutely hated disco. Most rockers felt the same way, and, yes, I still do. Sure, disco changed the direction of contemporary music forever, but 1976 was also the year that reggae music was beginning to influence artists as quickly as a six-pack of cold, Jamaican Red Stripe Beer does to a person with an empty stomach.
Zimbabwe in the last two years experienced a flood of reggae and dancehall artistes as promoters rushed to cash in on the popularity of some of these artistes. With the introduction of the United States dollar in Zimbabwe, the foreign artistes found this country an attractive destination to do business.
Foreign artistes who have cashed in on performances in Zimbabwe from the beginning of 2010 include Sizzla Kalonje, Yassus Afari, Sean Paul, Akon, Lutan Fyah, Brick and Lace, Beenie Man, King Sounds, Capleton, Elephant Man, Mavado and lately Zahara to mention only a few.
Before the music, there was football. Haiti’s premier reggae band was born on Haiti’s football fields, where Alain Moraille would play in what he calls the sport’s “school of life.” The same friends with whom Moraille competed on Port-au-Prince’s fields eventually became his collaborators in JahNesta, a reggae band which continues to make its mark on the increasingly global reggae scene.
Prince Charles may have had the Bob Marley song, Lively Up Yourself, on his mind during his last two trips to Jamaica. The heir to the British throne certainly soaked up the reggae culture while visiting in 2000 and 2008.
Charles donned a Rasta tam and attempted some reggae moves while touring sections of Marley's old stomping ground, Trench Town, in February 2000.
International reggae artiste Kwabena Nip plans to feed Africa. The Jamaica-born singer said he left Jamaica at a young age and has been on a spiritual journey, taking up residence in several countries in the process. It was as a result of one of his sojourns that he became passionate about the African continent.
"I was born in Jamaica but I have spent periods of my life in Gambia, Ghana, England, anywhere the music takes me, so I would say I live nowhere, I am an all-rounder," he said.
REGGAE artiste Sizzla remains in a Corporate Area hospital five days after he was involved in a motorcycle accident in St Ann.
The Black Woman and Child singer is said to be resting well after suffering serious injuries including a broken arms and ribs, a fractured collar bone and ruptured liver which caused extensive internal bleeding.
According to his publicist Olimatta Taal, Sizzla, whose real name is Miguel Collins, is progressing well as he is now fully aware, talking and eating following the accident last Wednesday when he was thrown from his motorcycle after it was hit by a bus attempting to overtake the artiste. The bus did not stop.
On August 19, the reggae community remembered venerable roots-reggae singer Joseph 'Culture' Hill on the fifth anniversary of his death. Among the admirers paying homage was American photographer Brian Jahn.Jahn posted photos of Hill on his photo blog (blessingsallover.wordpress.com), complemented by a tribute from Canadian writer Jim Dooley. Hill is just one of thousands of subjects Jahn has shot in more than 20 years of covering the reggae beat.
Almost 150 of those photos have been exhibited on the blog since it was launched in January 2010. Because his catalogue is vast (more than 30,000 mainly black-and-white images), Jahn said regular updates are inevitable.
A new social media campaign hopes to harness the power of celebrities and a Bob Marley song to help bring awareness to the thousands suffering from the famine in the Horn of Africa. The "I'm Gonna Be Your Friend" campaign, which kicks off Tuesday, is named for a line in Marley's 1973 song "High Tide Or Low Tide." It uses the song as the soundtrack to a short film on the East African crisis directed by award-winning director Kevin MacDonald. Among MacDonald's movies is the critically acclaimed "Last King of Scotland."