Reggae Month 2009 got off to a “blessed” start today (February 1) at the Fellowship Tabernacle Church in Kingston with Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports Olivia Grange urging Jamaicans and members of the music industry to take care of the precious gift that God has given the country.
Bringing greetings on behalf of the Government and the music industry Minister Grange emphasized that “it is important that as a nation we nurture this special gift of music that God has afforded us and pray that it continues to bring love and economic prosperity”.
Continuing she affirmed that “Reggae has always been a conscious music, tackling issues such as religion, political, social and economic topics. Bob Marley one of our greatest songwriters and poets, Jimmy Cliff and others, they have used the music well and they have conveyed music that have touched the heart, conscience and our consciousness”.
The service, which was presided over by host pastor Rev. Al Miller was kept lively with performances by gospel artistes Stitchie, DJ Nicholas, Chosen Vessel, and finalist at the 2008 Jamaica Gospel Song competition, Deneese Wright.
Rev. Miller began his sermon to Bob Marley’s ‘One Love’ and cited Buju Banton’s ‘Untold Stories’ for which a large percentage of the congregation sang the first few verses, to emphasize a point about the power of reggae music.
Making the connection between reggae music and the church, Minister Grange cited the fact that with Jamaica being the country with the most churches per square mile and reggae music being the creation of Jamaica, they were bound to cross paths.
Minister of Information, Culture Youth and Sports, Hon. Olivia Grange (left) performs an item with gospel artiste Stitchie at the church service to launch Reggae Month 2009, which was held this morning (Feb. 1) at Faith Tabernacle on Fairfield Avenue in Kingston.
“There is no denying that Jamaica is largely a Christian country and [given that] reggae is Jamaica and Jamaica is reggae, it is of no surprise that there is Gospel reggae, from the early days of Claudia Clarke, reggae has always been incorporated in worship. We have also seen Dancehall and reggae artist bring their talents to the church and actively minister through their music like Stitchie, Papa San and Carlene Davis,” she said.
Minister Grange also used the Church service as an opportunity to encourage Jamaicans to pray for reggae music, especially the aspects that need cleaning up.
“I encourage everyone to also pray for the areas in the industry that we are not very proud of and lend support to the many talented persons who make up this industry…this group of industry people (Reggae Month Committee) and Reggae Month is the start of the cleaning up of the music,” she declared.
“Let us pray that the international community will recognize our music and give us our worth, that Reggae Month which is designed in honour of the music helps to continue its promotion, that Jamaica’s Reggae Month will set the trend for Reggae Months elsewhere in the world. that our Jamaicans, our young people in particular will recognize and appreciate the value of this genre of music and keep it clean, so that we will all feel proud of the achievements of the music industry,” she continued.
Reggae Month is being celebrated for the second year after being declared officially by the governor general in 2008. Throughout the Month of February the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, which is spearheading the Month will collaborate with a number of partners to provide a wide array of events and activities to celebrate reggae music.
These will include the staging of reggae villages in Kingston, Negril and Ocho Rios, cultural festivals, a number of Bob Marley Symposia being staged by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, the Reggae Industry Awards and Dinner at Jamaica House, and a music concert titled Tribute to the Icons.