Coral King

Machel scoops 3 @ Int’l Reggae and World Music Awards

Story by Coral King, Photos by Roland Hyde

Machel humbly accepts the Bob Marley award at The 2010 International Reggae and World Music Award. (Roland Hyde photo)

QUEENS, New York – Glitz and Glam was in full effect at the 29th International Reggae & World Music Awards (IRAWMA).  Julian Marley, Machel Montano, Tarrus Riley, Gramps Morgan, Peetah Morgan, Queen Ifrika, The Mighty Sparrow, Calypso Rose, Barbee, Awilo Longmomba, and other entertainers, all stopped to talk to the media intermittently as they walked a very long red carpet after exiting their limos to enter York College Performing Arts Center.   

Noticeably missing was King of Dancehall, Beenie Man, who has consistently been a part of the awards show in previous years. Both his US work permit and his visitor’s visa were revoked by the United States Embassy, apparently, due to the rift which has formed between the US and Jamaica. He is among five dancehall artists who have had their visas annulled. 

The Award show was hosted by the very spontaneous Tony Rebel, Queen of Soca, Allison Hinds, and Saran Dunmore.  Trinidadian actress/comedian, Hazelle Goodman hosted the VIP reception. Ephraim Martin, Founder and Chairman of IRAWMA said, “My mission of this award ceremony is to acknowledge and honor the accomplishments and contributions of reggae and world music artists, including songwriters, performers, promoters and musicians …I dedicate the 29th IRAWMA to Haiti and Health Awareness.”  

Machel Montano is undeniably having one of the biggest years of his career.  He walked away with three awards, including the Bob Marley Entertainer of the Year Award. This puts him in league with top reggae winners Gramps Morgan with three and Queen Ifrika with four awards.  With his usually energetic self he brought the crowd to their feet as they sang and danced along with him. He was also the exclusive soca act at this year’s ‘Best of the Best’ concert, hosted by P Diddy on Memorial Day weekend in Miami. 

Tony Rebel’s comedic talent keeps his co-host, Allison Hinds, laughing throughout the evening. (Roland Hyde Photo)

Poet Mutabaruka used his lyrical vibrato as only Muta can and Brigadier Jerry combined past and present hits in one thrilling performance in which he pleaded with everyone singing ‘Don’t Let Them Tell You to Turn Away From Jah.’ Alison Hinds, Queen Ifrica, Barbee and Winsome Benjamin commanded the stage with feminine swagger and grace. IRAWMA Musical Director Dean Fraser and Gramps Morgan, who recently performed in Trinidad, dedicated a song to Buju Banton.

Sparrow breaks out into an extempo after being interviewed on the red carpet by Coral of Zync TV. They are joined by Darlene Cameron of Yawd Talk. (Roland Hyde Photo)

Music, Entertainment and Cricket in St. Lucia

Coral King gives us her take on St. Lucia’s busy month of May.

CASTRIES, St. Lucia – Nationals and travelers from across the region and around the globe invaded St Lucia to participate in the many fun-filled and action-packed activities during the month of May. 

St. Lucia hosted the World Twenty20, most notably the cricket game where West Indies played against Australia; the big finale scene of reality show “The Bachelor” was held at the open air Celestial Terrace at the Jade Mountain Resort. Jade Mountation has a spectacular view of the Pitons, two volcanoes which are the most famous landmark of St. Lucia. 

The 19th edition of the St. Lucia Jazz Festival, the premiere Caribbean musical and cultural experience started the month off and featured artists such as NeYo, Maxi Priest, Jean Luc Monty, Teddyson John, and Laura Izbor to name a few.   The St. Lucia Jazz has become one of the most anticipated events.  The 2010 program delivered a mix of high caliber homegrown talent and international performers.

Echoing sweet songs of love in a large dome structure at Pigeon Island National Landmark, a few feet away from the shorelines of St. Lucia, a small Caribbean gem, was R&B singer, song writer, Ne-Yo, who completed The Year of The Gentleman tour, and his third album.  He had the young ladies screaming, crying, and going crazy as he took the stage at festival to perform 20 of his hits including ‘So Sick’, ‘Sexy Love’, ‘Miss Independent’, and ‘Closer.’ Sporadically NeYo used hand towels to wipe his sweat drenched face, and then threw it into the audience, causing his young female audience to tug at it to see who would end up with the prized possession.  

British Reggae Legend Maxi Priest had the older crowd swaying with hits like ‘Close To You’, and ‘Just a Little Bit Longer’.  He brought on his son Marvin Priest, and Beniton the Menace to mix up the vibes. Grammy award winning recording artist Shaggy could not deal with the crowd sitting down.  He said, “I was in the audience last night and I thought this was an opera. After striking a few poses, he appealed to the audience, people, get up and dance!”  The audience immediately jumped to their feet as he sang, ‘Mr. Bombastic’ and ‘In the Summertime.’ An all star cast of crooners made up of Freddie Jackson, Jeffery Osborne, Phil Perry and Howard Hewett were delightful.  Freddie gave all the women roses as he romanced them with his chart topping songs ‘Hey Lover’, ‘Nice and Slow’ and ‘Crazy’.   

The multiple Grammy winning reggae band Steel Pulse from the UK, was phenomenal.  Everyone in the band from the base man, the guitarist, to the lead singer, had great energy and grooved to the beat. ‘Roller Skates’ was a hit for the audience as they sang the lyrics. With an exquisite voice and commanding stage presence, the lead singer David ‘Dread’ Hinds, dressed in red, yellow and green, screamed to the crowd. “Are you irie!” Then he proceeded to big up all Rastaman, people from Barbados, Martinique, and exclaimed, “Jamaican’s are everywhere!” The crowd screamed as they began singing ‘Stepping Out’ He said, “Haiti needs to stay in our minds” Even though the mass media will forget them we can’t forget them.” David gave thanks for President Obama.  He sang a song dedicated to Barack Obama which was written while Barack was seeking Presidency.  As they exited the stage the audience, screamed, and whistled for a few minutes until they returned for a finale to sing ‘Taxi Driver’ wrapping up a day of unique adventures, delectable cuisine, and fun filled entertainment.

Esperana Spalding performing at the 19th St. Lucia Jazz Festival. Coral King Photo







NeYo Fans grab for his towel at the St. Lucia Jazz Festival. Coral King Photo.