At noon EST on Tuesday September 17, 2013, fans of reggae and ska all over the world will be able to tune into www.alphaboysschoolradio.com, an on-line radio station featuring the tracks and catalogues of some of the most Jamaican musicians of the past 50 years.
Many of the greatest musicians to come out of Jamaica in the past century owe much of their success to a nun. Sister Mary Ignatius Davies (1921-2003), for 64 years served in the Order of the Sisters of Mercy at the Alpha Boys School in Kingston, Jamaica. Here she nurtured some of the island’s musical innovators in their formative years, providing the training and Jamaican sensibilities that ultimately would bring Jamaica’s unique styles of ska, reggae and jazz to every corner of the world. The school opened its doors in 1880.
www.alphaboysschoolradio.com will celebrate this history by broadcasting music from the incomparable alumni of the Alpha Boys School including members of The Skatalites; trombonist Don Drummond, trumpeter Johnnie “Dizzy” Moore, tenor saxophonist Tommy McCook, alto sax Lester Sterling, and trombonist Rico Rodriguez, who studied under Drummond and later became an essential component of the U.K. group The Specials. Other alum include Cedric ‘Im’ Brooks, reggae veterans Leroy Smart and Leroy ‘Horsemouth’ Wallace, rock steady’s Vin Gordon and Winston ‘Yellowman’ Foster, the original King of the Dancehall. Jazz giants Jo Harriott, Dizzy Reece also attended Alpha Boys School and their catalogues will join with their musical brethren in this fun, innovative platform that any on-line listener in the world can access around the clock.
Sister Susan Frazier, the Alpha Boys School Director, is thrilled about the launch, saying recently, “Alpha’s graduates have played a part in so many genres of Jamaican music that we can safely say Alpha Boys School Radio is a go-to source for the best of Jamaica’s music and culture. And since we are a small school in a small city on a small island, the radio will be a powerful platform to share Jamaican culture with the world.”
She continued, “Alpha Boys School Radio emphasizes the fact that Alpha’s legacy is about more than one person, more than one or even a handful of big names. The big names help, of course, but this is a tribute to hundreds, if not thousands of Alpha boys, staff and supporters over the years, at home and abroad, who have built the Alpha Boys School sound from the ground up.
The equipment and expertise for www.alphaboysschoolradio.com have been donated by Michael Wadleigh, Academy Award winning director of the documentary film “Woodstock.”
Wadleigh’s US non-profit Gritty and its radio station WXGR will provide broadcast studio equipment, social media platforms, online distribution and training for the students. Citing “maximum respect for Alpha’s musical legacy and current mission,” Wadleigh said, “the donation will establish an important worldwide promotional and fundraising platform for the school. The students will provide on-air talent as well as learn skills in engineering and production, and the station will help sustain and improve the educational services of the Alpha Boys School.”
Please tune in and join us in celebrating this musical partnership.
What: launch of Alpha Boys School Radio on-line
When: Tuesday September 17, 2013