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International reggae star, Gregory Isaacs was honoured for his more than 30 years musical career, at the launch of a special set of his love songs distributed by Jet Star, at the Jamaican High Commission in London on November 30.
Mr. Isaacs, who is known as the ‘Cool Ruler’ was hailed for his commitment to quality reggae music and for his role in placing the music on the international scene.
Acting High Commissioner, Sharon Saunders said the High Commission was proud to be the venue for the launch, as Jamaican music has converted the country into a cultural superpower. “Few countries in the world have such a presence in music, regardless of size. While Bob Marley has had the greatest acclamation, let us not believe that the range of talent is limited to this one giant. When we consider longevity, unique styling, and impact in the particular sound of ‘Lovers Rock’, the name of Gregory Isaacs stands supreme,” she said.
Mrs. Saunders also noted that much of his music has been a tribute to love and to women, adding that Mr. Isaacs has never been derogatory and his lyrics are always “clean”.
“He is a Jamaican man with a distinctive voice, with a wide appeal that makes him one of reggae’s greatest legends. His body of work is timeless and has endured and is now enjoyed by successive generations, with many of his songs being covered by other successful musicians,” she said.
Mrs. Saunders also commended Jet Star for organizing the special tribute and launch.
“Jet Star, soon to celebrate its 40th anniversary, has also been a powerful driving force in the promotion of quality music in the United Kingdom and wider Europe. Not only has Jet Star been a pioneer in advancing the careers of many of reggae music’s exceptional talents, the company has also been a good corporate citizen, supporting many worthy causes within the community,” she added.
Chief Executive Officer of Jet Star, Carl Palmer said he first heard of Mr. Isaacs more than 30 years ago, and described him as one of the great personalities of Jamaican music.
“We think that the time has come when we need a major artiste to maintain and champion reggae music and when we talk to everyone in the music industry about the person that could do this, it had to be Gregory, so let everyone join hands and hearts together to support Gregory. He has got the ability and the intelligence to do this. He is a person who can support and maintain this Jamaican culture, ” Mr. Palmer said. Other tributes to Mr. Isaacs were paid by Journalists and presenters, Herdle White, Evadney Campbell and Mandingo; singer, Winston Francis; Mr. Isaacs’ agent and tour manager, Copeland Forbes and legendary producer, Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee. There was a surprise brief appearance by DJ Yellowman.