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TT in Spotlight

By Joan Rampersad Saturday, November 20 2010

click on pic to zoom in
Soca star Machel Montano accepting the 2009 IRAWMA for 'Most Outstanding Stage Personality.'...
Soca star Machel Montano accepting the 2009 IRAWMA for 'Most Outstanding Stage Personality.'...

Ephraim Martin, president and founder of the International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) announced that a Chutney category will be introduced at next year’s awards which will be held in Trinidad on May 28.

Martin made the announcement at the IRAWMA launch, held in TSTT’s Corporate Box at the Queen’s Park Oval last Wednesday.

He said government officials and/or event promoters in some 30 countries had asked to host the prestigious and coveted 30th anniversary of IRAWMA. Among them, the United Kingdom, France, Nigeria, Jamaica, Guadeloupe, New York, Ghana, Ethiopia, South Africa, Gambia, St Maarten, Hawaii, Canada and Belize. However it was decided Trinidad and Tobago was the ideal choice given the inclusion of the new Chutney category.

Martin also cited other reasons for this country’s selection as the host country. One reason was the fact that soca star Machel Montano has walked away with three IRAWMA awards each year for the last three years. He added: “And he (Montano) started making that kind of impression, giving that kind of international branding and promotion for TT, and at a time when music like chutney has been making waves internationally, we thought there can be no better time to be in TT than for the 30th IRAWMA.”

Another deciding factor, stated Martin, was when world renowned TT-born US designer Bruce Williams devised a plan to transform the car park area of the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) for event, which will cater to come 5,000 guests.

IRAWMA, which is dedicated to health awareness, will be a weekend event. Branding is scheduled to commence very soon. Martin said: “We need to get our music out there. There are 2.2 billion people associated with world music so we intend to do that.”

Reggae and world music industry experts select the top entertainers in more than 40 categories. Music fans across the globe are then given the opportunity to vote for their favourites, and the nominee with the most votes takes home the coveted trophy.

Over the years, pioneers of reggae and Caribbean music such as Bob Marley, Clement “Sir Coxonne” Dodd, Toots Hibbert, Peter Tosh, Burning Spear, Eddy Grant, Third World, Billy Ocean, Bunny Wailer, The Skatalites, Mighty Sparrow, Big Youth, Calypso Rose, Alton Ellis among others have been inducted into the “Hall of Fame” for their lifetime contribution to the music industry.

In addition to reggae, calypso and Caribbean music, IRAWMA also recognises gospel, salsa, Latin, reggaeton, soca, African, soukous, compas, racine, hip hop and R&B artistes.

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to honour those who have made their mark globally in the reggae and world music industry,” said Martin.

Earlier at the launch, Donovan Neita, vice-president of IRAWMA revealed plans for the marketing campaign which will be used to attract sponsors and tourists to TT. A documentary to be released worldwide was shown at the launch, after which Neita stated that there are already groups in London, Paris and the United States who are going to be bringing in people on charter flights to TT for the event. Local corporate sponsors Angostura and TSTT are already on board as well.

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