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In The Spotlight: Beauty Queens, Children and Jolly Boys

In The Spotlight: Beauty Queens, Children and Jolly Boys

In The Spotlight: Beauty Queens, Children and Jolly Boys

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This week in Jamaica ... Yendi Phillips, Capleton, Jolly Boys and Reggae Sumfest

YENDI PHILLIPS WINS MISS JAMAICA - AGAIN

Yendi Phillips, former Miss Jamaica World 2007 and one of Jamaica's favourite former beauty queens, was crowned 'Miss Jamaica' again, this time winning the crown of the other global beauty contest, Miss Universe 2010, at a ceremony held last Saturday night. Jamaia was very surprised that Yendi did not place among the finalists in 2007's global contest, as she won two of the special categories, facts that should have entitled her to the Caribbean Queen crown.

Certainly one of Jamaica's great beauties, with a matching personality, Jamaica will be rooting her to to show the world that our country has the world's most beautiful women. Good luck, Yendi.

ST. MARY ME COME FROM' - CAPLETON LAUCH

Summer is definitely here, as Kingston's entertainment calender fills up with parties, launches and shows. Capleton, one of my favourite stars, held a packed launch event to announce the line-up for his annual charity show “St. Mary Me Come From”, being held at the Gray's Inn Complex, St Mary, on Thursday, August 5 to raise funds for needy children in the parish where he was born. The annual event and all day children's treat has raised millions over the years, and the philanthropic “Fireman” has set a trend which other entertainers have followed.

This year the event will feature the 'Sons and Daughters of Legends', with performances by the sons and daughters of an earlier generation of reggae artists. The Big Ship Family will have the first generation of Freddie McGreggor's children – sngers Chino, Yeshemebeth, and Laden, with producer Stephen. Junior Reid's sons Andrew and Wada Blood will be joined by Esco (Errol Thompson's son), Andrew Tosh (Peter Tosh), Abatoir (Tony Rebel's son), Kashief Lindo (Willie Lindo), Fire Passion (Sugar Minott's daughter),and Nicky B (Mickey Bennett) also make the line-up. This is the first time a line-up like this has been gathered on one stage, and should make a historic night.

The superstar line-up features Beenie Man, Mavado, Lady G, Cocoa Tea, Louie Culture, Chuck Fender and Turbulence. But best of all, Capleton promises to perform a full one-hour set this year, saying at the launch that he's always so busy backstage he never gets to perform his full show, but his fans will not be disappointed this time. "This year me a go make sure do a hour and a half,” he announced to cheers.

JOLLY BOYS - TALK OF THE TOWN

The highly-anticipated launch of the Jolly Boys Mento Band at Red Bones Blues Cafe last Saturday night, lived up to the enormous pre-event publicity and entertained a packed, happy house that gave the group a standing ovation at the end of its second set and confirmed that this group is ready for the world.

Starting first in traditional format of the rhumba box, banjo, drum and maracas, the band performed some traditional mento songs, including some of the very risque ones that had the audience smiling indulgently, remembering a music of long ago that –though only worth a smile today – were banned from the ears of young children in their time. The group showed themselves to be true performers with an outgoing stage style. Lead singer Albert Minott endeared himself to the crowd by ending his songs with an arms-wide gesture '...sending out love over THERE, and over THERE ...” to the welcoming audience.

The second set showed the maturity of the group and their metamorphosis into a modern group, as an amplified band had been added with a now-electrified banjo played by a young musician with reggae-styled skills, a guitarist and a full drum kit as well as the congo drumer. The added touch of a costume change from the 'mento band' clothes of the first set into brightly-hued long sleeved silk shirts and smart hats, fitted exactly with the mood now created, as the band launched into a set that showcased its variety and personality.

Singing songs like Rolling Stones classic “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” Steely Dan’s “Do It Again,” and a beautiful version of the Doors’ “Riders on the Storm.” they transcended the narrow confines of their past as a musical curiosity and became something new -- a fusion of mento, reggae and rock that came to a crescendo with their now-popular hit version of Amy Winehouse's “Rehab” which not only caused the crowd to howl for a 'forward', but had them on their feet dancing.

The Jolly Boys success was due in large part to a great viral marketing campaign carried out under the guidance of the group's mentor and producer, Jon Baker, who successfully utilized the friendly spaces of FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube to advertise and promote the group. In the fortnight leading up to the Jolly Boys showcase, an army of workers texted and tweetted their excitement to friends on their pages, who then sent messages around the world, creating an all-around the internet. So visible was the international interest that an online quiz on the JollyBoys Facebook page was won by a competitor in Vienna, Austria! New artists can learn a thing or two from this successful exercise.

The cool, open-air setting of the new Red Bones location, with its comfy stage and tiered patios leading to a restaurant verandah was a perfect setting, and four film cameras and several photographers captured it from every angle. A lovely evening, and good beginning for the Jolly Boys first international tour.

SUNSPLASH UPDATE - HONOURING VOICE MAIL'S O'NEIL

Summerfest Productions, organizers of Reggae Sumfest have dedicated Dancehall Night to the memory of the late O’Neil Edwards, former member of Dancehall group Voicemail. The energetic and colourful O’Neil passed away on Wednesday, May 26, two weeks after falling victim to a vicious assault by gunmen, who shot him at his home. The shooting brought out scores of reggae artists to pay tribute to him and to speak out against the glorification of violence in contemporary Jamaican music.

The Reggae Sumfest team felt honouring O'Neil was a fitting tribute to a man whose music has played a key role in the maintenance of the flair, fun, and finesse of the dancehall culture. “It is appropriate to honour a vibrant personality that was loved in the music business,” explains Johnny Gourzong, Executive Director of Reggae Sumfest. “The Voicemail group has brought the fun factor in the music, and O’Neil was a key element in this regard. He was loved and respected by fans, fellow artistes, promoters and just about everybody in the business, so we will honour his memory with this dedication.” Voicemail will be performing on Dancehall Night Thursday, July 22.

The remaining group members Jerome “Craig” Jackson and Kevin Blair expressed gratitude for the gesture made by Reggae Sumfest and promised a fitting tribute performance. Speaking on their behalf, Craig stated their appreciation. “It’s a very good gesture,” he noted. “We support the move and are pleased. I think O’Neil would be very happy for something like this so I guess he is where he is now smiling and giving us support.”

That's all for this week. SEE YOU IN THE SPOTLIGHT!

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