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.
"On the Move" is the 2nd full-length album by Jersey City-based group Kiwi, a masterful and joyful celebration of reggae rhythms, soulful vocals, and Latin jazz-inflected harmonies. The band's expansive, brass-heavy arrangements echo the classic reggae and R&B grooves of the late 60s/early 70s.
Kiwi's music is welcoming and eminently danceable, radiating an infectious energy that belies the oft-introspective content of singer-songwriter Alex Tea's lyrics. Tea, the grandson of a classical violinist, playfully sets melodies inspired by the classical music he grew up hearing against Brazilian jazz chords and an insistent reggae rhythm.
Initially founded as an acoustic duo, Kiwi has grown into an 8-piece juggernaut with a stable core comprised of the New York area's best jazz and funk players. "On the Move" features the talents of Ramsey Norman (drums), Matt Quinones (bass), Ben Guadalupe (percussion), Dave Stolarz (keys), Barami Waspe (tenor sax), Curtis Taylor (trumpet), and Rob Edwards (trombone).
As a singer, Tea is a gentle crooner one moment and a raw-throated proselytizer the next. A lyrical ferocity undercuts the percolating rhythms of many Kiwi songs; a conscious lyrical vision of a world full of injustice as well as possibility. "My poetry leaned left as I was leaning to the right," Tea sings on the Wailers-evoking album track "Sun Never Set."
The inspiration for Kiwi's sound has its origins in Tea's multiple extended stays in Brazil, beginning with a trip to the ocean-side city of Fortaleza over a decade ago. It was in Fortaleza that Tea first fell in love with the Portuguese language and capoeira, the Brazilian martial art that combines exuberant dancing with powerful strikes and take-down maneuvers. Capoiera was developed in colonial Brazil by enslaved Africans and their descendants, who wanted to keep their battle training a secret from their Portuguese overseers.
"What drew me most into capoiera was the sense of community among everyone involved," says Tea. "Each roda [capoeira exhibition/match] also had a live soundtrack that featured instruments, melodies, and cadences that I had never heard before." The new album features an original love song sung entirely in Portuguese called "Aprendiz".
Brazilian instruments also play a large role in shaping the sound of the record; Brazilian jazz aficionados may recognize the sounds of the cuica and agogo, as well as the fishing-pole shaped berimbau. "On the Move" was produced by the band and mixed in upstate New York by Jocko (moresound).
After honing their sound at clubs, parties, and dancehalls in New York City's Greenwich Village, Philadelphia, and Boston, Kiwi is currently booking its first national tour and seeking label/management representation.
For everyone that wants to hear some incredible tunes, head to Jaco this weekend for a great taste of reggae Saturday night, starting at 10 pm. There is no cover charge and Monkey Bar will have DJ Who-lio playing before and after the show. WATUSI is the original, “REGGAE / WORLDBEAT” band in Texas and one of the top reggae / worldbeat groups in the USA, with 10 players from around the world and based in Dallas,Texas. WATUSI is the premier artist on World Beatnik Records, for 28 years a Texas reggae legend, a “worldbeat” pioneer and are respected and played worldwide. Winners of numerous Reggae and World Music Awards including 2011 Dallas Music Award for Reggae and.. nominated for the Roots Music Association “Reggae Artist of the Year” . Watusi is a charter member of Reggae Ambassadors Worldwide (R.A.W.)
REGGAE beats will usher in a new chapter at the relaunched Afro Caribbean Centre, when it holds its first party this weekend after being shut for a year. The building is taking on a new lease of life after a revamp and will once again offer a focal point for a community which does not have a base in the town. Since a quiet opening two months ago, teething problems have been ironed out and the management is ready to welcome members old and new. Swindon 105.5 DJ MC Ranks will mark the centre’s return to full health by entertaining the crowd. Colin Cole, the acting secretary of Swindon’s West Indian Community Association, said: “We have carried out a facelift as the place needed freshening up.
By special request and popular demand, the Annual International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA), by Martin's International, returns to South Florida for its 32nd Anniversary, for the fifth time in 26years. On Saturday, May 4th, 2013, the prestigious Coral Springs Center for the Arts, 2855 Coral Springs Drive, in Coral Springs/Fort Lauderdale, Florida will be the site for the staging of the star-studded 32nd Annual IRAWMA. The red carpet arrival with the glitz, glamour and interviews, kicks off at 6:00pm. Special early-bird tickets go on sale Friday, October 5th, 2012 at www.coralspringscenterforthearts.com or www.irawma.com. For information call 877-9-REGGAE (734-423) or 312-427-0266.
Stephen Marley, the eight-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, producer and son of legendary reggae artist Bob Marley, has proven time and time again that his blood runs pure with naturally gifted musical ability. After many years of helping produce/write songs for other Marley family projects, Stephen released his first solo album “Mind Control” in 2007 to widespread critical acclaim. It was quickly honored with a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album. Last year, Stephen released the album, entitled “Revelation Part 1: The Root Of Life,” which also won a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album.
Singer Alpha Blondy was in Israel this week for the Zion Reggae Festival. Arutz Sheva met Blondy in Tel Aviv where talked about his deep connection with the land. "My family and I, we are so excited to be in Israel. It's a high spiritual level," he said. Blondy was born in the Ivory Coast as Seydou Koné to a Muslim mother and Christian father. Among his popular songs are Jerusalem and Masada, in which he sings in Hebrew. He has also composed such songs as Apartheid Is Nazism, Black Men Tears and other tracks that deal with various religions and world conflict. "There is no rational explanation that I can give you for why I love Israel," Blondy commented. "Why did I come to Israel the first time [in the 1980s]?
On the fifth day of the ROTOTOM's Reggae University term, the elder statesmen of reggae - the Congos and Wailing Souls - took to the stage, as the youth of Raging Fyah from the previous day's session moved on. In some ways it was akin to the 'passing of the baton' at College, as the weighty topic of 'Rastafari, Jamaican Music and Cultural Affinity' was tackled. Once more, this University session was very well attended, featuring special guests: movie maker Monica Haim and the musicians from the Congos (Cedric Myton, Congo Ashanti Roy, Kenroy Fyffe and Watty Burnett) and Wailing Souls (Winston 'Pipe' Matthews and Lloyd 'Bread' McDonald), together with the University's popular panel comprised of David Katz, Ellen Koehlings, Pete Lilly and Pier Tosi.
OLD time people used to say: "Cow don't know di use a him tail till him loose it." Outside of formal sessions, I have been having a series of discussions with delegates attending the University of the West Indies' Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) 50/50 conference. The most popular issue that these delegates have raised with me time and again is the current raging debate about whether Jamaica is the headquarters of reggae. Using any objective measuring stick, be it size, and frequency of festivals and shows, volume of music products sold, or successful artists/musicians, sadly we are no longer in pole position. Those readers that follow my columns already know that as painful as it is for me, personally, to admit, on the issue of whether Jamaica is still the headquarters of reggae, I stand squarely with Lloyd Stanbury.
With Jamaica celebrating 50 years of Independence, there has been, quite understandably, a look at what has happened in the country's history. That is no less true of the country's music. This year, The Gleaner has published, on a number of occasions, different aspects of that history. In one 'Story of the Song', a weekly feature produced by Mel Cooke, Toots Hibbert spoke of first coming up with the term 'reggae'. More recently, Edward Seaga spoke about The Heptones being responsible for the first real reggae track. The views are uncountable, but as Jamaica looks at 50 more years of Independence, we continue to look with much curiosity at our past.