Pioneers in the development of reggae and dancehall music in Jamaica and across the world, John holt and Yellow Man, are set to be bestowed with Lifetime Achievement Awards by organizers of the 2006 Red Stripe Reggae Sumfest.
Holt and Yellowman will be honored for their respective contributions to the growth of the music. Both were instrumental in carving out a niche on the world stage and solidifying reggae and dancehall as a separate genre of music.
Holt, known as one of the most superb musical composers of modern time, will receive his award at the July 21st ‘Ignition’ show. He is also set to perform along with Leroy Sibbles on the final night of the show. Yellowman, who is slated to headline the ‘Top Ranking’ night Wednesday July 19 at Pier One, will be honored prior to his performance on that night.
More popularly known as Jamaica’s very first dancehall superstar, Yellowman ushered in a new era in reggae music following Bob Marley’s death. He was one of the most vocally dexterous performers of his time with a loose easy flow and definite wit in his wordplay. Born Winston Foster in Negril Jamaica in 1959, Yellowman recorded prolifically in the early 1980’s and came to fame when he won the Tastee Talent Contest in 1979.
During the 1980’s, Yellowman flooded the Jamaican market with more than 40 singles. His first full length album, ‘Mad Over Me’ was recorded for Channel One in 1981 but he didn’t truly hit his stride on record until he partnered with dancehall producer Henry ‘Junjo’ Lawes.
The 1982 album ‘Mister Yellowman,’ was released internationally by Greensleeves and is still to date, acclaimed as his best album. After 1983’s ‘Zungguzunguguzungguzeng’ album, Yellowman signed a major deal with CBS records. His lone album for the label ‘King Yellowman’ boasted ‘Take Me Home’ and ‘Sea Cruise’. He subsequently released ‘Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt.’ After a bout with throat cancer, he returned to action with the hit ‘Blueberry Hill’ and recorded the ‘Yellow Like Cheese’ album with Philip ‘Fatis’ Burrell. Since then Yellowman has recorded over 6 albums but with a spiritual and inspirational flair.
Holt also got his first steps in the music business through the talent show circuit. At the age of 12, he entered his first contest and over the next four years he became a staple at these shows, snatching 28 titles in the process. His final victory in 1962, prompted producer Leslie Kong to sign him.
Holt’s career began to take shape in 1964, when he joined the group the Paragons. The song ‘The Tide Is High’ which was a huge hit for Blondie in the 1970’s and was actually a cover of the 1960’s hit from the Paragons. This and several other hits like ‘Good Luck And Goodbye’ made the Paragons, Jamaica’s premier vocal group, with virtually every one of their releases a hit.
By 1968, Holt set off on a solo career for producers Bunny Lee and Harry J. From here, there was no stopping Holt whose career catapulted him to stardom with hits like ‘Son Of The Wise’, ‘Ali Baba’, ‘A Love I Can Feel’, ‘Help Me Make It Through’, and ‘If I Were A Carpenter.’
Jomo Cato, director of marketing of Summerfest Productions, producers of the show, say that it was only natural to honor these two pioneers.
“Red Stripe Reggae Sumfest chose to recognize the efforts of Yellowman and John Holt, who played a legendary role in the development of our music. Reggae and dancehall are intrinsic to the festival and this tribute is a testimony of our appreciation for their contribution to the music industry in Jamaica and indeed recognition of their impact on the sound of music around the world,” Cato said.
Carlo Redwood, group marketing manager at Red Stripe, endorsed the sentiments, adding that these two performers are legends in their own right and has made a significant impact on reggae music.
Red Stripe Reggae Sumfest gets underway on Sunday, July 16th with the all new free Vibe Island Beach Party, featuring Jamaica’s hottest selectors and the “Reggae on the Runway’ fashion segment.
‘Mad Monday’s Mobay’ follows on Monday July 17th. Staged in partnership with the Hip Strip community, this event will feature an arts and craft street fair, cuisine sampling from hip strip restaurants and music from Jamaica’s biggest sound systems.
Sumfest continues on Wednesday, July 19, with the staging of the “Top Ranking” show that will highlight some of the best years of dancehall music, with dancehall’s Yellow Man set to receive a lifetime achievement awards along with and reggae’s John Holt. Holt will perform at the Summit, the show’s final night, along with Leroy Sibles. ‘Stormfront – the explosive dancehall night,’ featuring the likes of Beenie Man and Bounti Killa, follows on Thursday night, July 20 while the ‘Ignition’ concert with 50 Cent among others, is set for Friday July 21.
Sumfest 2006 will climax with ‘The Summit’ on July 22, with Jr. Gong and Rihanna among those helping to bring the curtains down on what is destined to be another incredible show.
Key sponsors this year include Red Stripe, the Jamaica Tourist Board, Air Jamaica, Digicel and Ocean Spray as well as media partners, the Jamaica Observer, CVM TV and Fame FM. For travel packages and more information, log on to www.reggaesumfest.com. Fans will be able to get tickets across the island and at the airport from July 3rd.
The 2006 line-up is follows:
Sunday July 16th – Vibes Island – Tropical Beach – Kurt Riley, Coppershot, DJ Liquid, Pure Playas, 3rd Degree, Pieces – US$9 (J$600)
Monday July 17th – Mad Monday Mobay – Hip Strip – featuring Swatch International, Fire Links, Pieces and Pure Playas – Free
Wednesday July 19th – Top Ranking – Pier 1 – with John Holt, Gregory Isaacs, Yellowman, Admiral Bailey, General Trees, Pinchers, Frankie Paul, Charlie Chaplin, Josey Wales, Peter Metro, Courtney Melody, Flourgon and Pam Hall with Lloyd Parkes & The We The People Band. – – US$16-19 (J$1,000 Presold / $1,200 at Gate)
Thursday July 20th – Stormfront – The Explosive Dancehall Night – Main Venue – featuring: Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Capleton, Elephant Man, Cham, Chuck Fenda, Macka Diamond, Wayne Marshall, Busy Signal, Leftside & Esco, Voice Mail, Spice, Gyptian, Fantan Mojah, Natural Black, Little Hero, Black-er, Conrad, Crystal & Suga Roy and Aidonia – US$27 – 30 (J$1,800 Presold / $2,000 at Gate)
Friday July 21st – Ignition – Main Venue – With 50 Cent & G-Unit, featuring Lloyd Banks & Tony A-yo, Sizzla, Lady SawMase, Mr. Vegas, Richie Spice, Noddy Virtue, Andy Vernon and Jovi Rockwell – US$43- 45 (J$2,800Presold / $3,000 at Gate)
Saturday July 22nd – The Summit – Main Venue – featuring Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Beres Hammond, Rihanna, Buju Banton, Gentleman, Tarrus Riley and Leroy Sibles & John Holt – US$43- 45 (J$2,800/presold/J$3,000 at Gate)
ABOUT SUMMERFEST PRODUCTIONS
Summerfest Productions Limited is a privately held company owned by a group of shareholders including Johnny Gourzong, its executive director; Geoffrey Dwyer, immediate past chairman and Robert Russell, current chair. The group has been staging Jamaica’s biggest music event Reggae Sumfest for the past 14 years.
Through its events, Summerfest productions provide a significant contribution to Jamaica’s music industry, the tourism business in western Jamaica and by extension, the economy of Jamaica.