Silver Musgrave Medallist, Emmanuel ‘Rico’ Rodriquez’ was among 19 United Kingdom based ‘Reggae Ambassadors’ honoured by the Jamaican High Commission in London, at a special ceremony to mark the end of Reggae Month on Thursday, February 28.
Mr. Rodriquez was officially presented with the Silver Musgrave Medal awarded to him last October by the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ). The medalsare awarded to select persons for achievements in the fields of literature, the arts and science and they date back to 1897.
“We were asked by the Jamaican government to make a presentation of the Silver Musgrave medal to Rico Rodriquez, and we thought that it would be fitting for us to wrap that presentation around a significant event. We thought that in this February 2013, which is celebrated as Reggae Month, it would be good for us to recognise the stalwarts of the Jamaican music industry here in the United Kingdom,” High Commissioner, Her Excellency Aloun N’dombet Assamba said.
She told the honourees that they had helped to bring Jamaica and Jamaican music to the world.
“We are honouring you because of your contributions to what has now become known as brand Jamaica. The music that you created, the music that you helped to bring to the world, you were taking Jamaica to the world… We want to say to you as a community, we recognise what you have done to put Jamaica on the map,” the High Commissioner said.
The IOJ citation to Mr. Rodriquez noted that his contribution to developing Jamaican music warranted the gratitude of the nation.
“Along with a select few of his contemporaries, Rico Rodriquez’s inventive fusion of jazz techniques, pop accessibility and his Rastafarian affinity with the African soul, imagined a popular music form that Jamaicans could claim as their own. Both his solo efforts and his extensive contribution to many of Jamaica’s formative music groups, warranted the gratitude and recognition of his homeland,” the citation read in part.
Mr. Rodriquez expressed his gratitude for the award and thanked the High Commission for organising the special presentation, as he was unable to travel to Jamaica for the ceremony last year. He was also the recipient of an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in 2007, for services to music.
Singer, Count Prince Miller who spoke on behalf of the honourees, acknowledged the High Commissioner for paying special tribute to the music pioneers.
He noted that the recognition was significant, coming so soon after the celebration of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of Independence. He said that many of the musicians, singers, promoters and sound system operators, have been based in the UK prior to Independence and are happy to be recognised.
There was also special praise for the Alpha Boy’s School in Kingston and its former head, Sister Ignatius. The school was the early training ground for many of the honourees.
Also honoured on Thursday evening were Owen Grey, Little Roy, King Sounds, Winston Francis, BB Seaton, AJ Franklyn, Mandingo, Edward ‘Tan Tan’ Thornton, Lloyd Coxson , Dennis Alcapone ,Tony Washington, JC Lodge, Dimples, Daddy Ernie, Phillip Chen, Jimmy James and David Rodigan.