The organizers of the Global Reggae Conference at the University of the West Indies Mona really outdid themselves this year with a stellar selection of scholars from around the world presenting their research and work on a variety of topics related to dancehall, as well as films and events related to Jamaican music and culture.
Opening panel at the Global Reggae Conference 2017 featuring Julian Henriques, David Katz, Dennis Howard, and Ray Hitchens
Dr. Carolyn Cooper and Ninja Man
Dr. Donna Hope, Dr. Carolyn Cooper, and Dr. Sonjah Stanley-Niaah
I had the pleasure of presenting a paper entitled “Rhumba Queen: The Original Women of the Dancehall” and I profiled the importance of rhumba dancers Daisy Riley, Margarita, and Madam Wasp. I was pleased with the level of interest in these women and I am considering developing this paper into a small book that talks about these women and others, as they literally and figuratively drew the spotlight to Jamaican music. My colleague and friend Nina Cole presented her research which she is furthering on the authenticity of the Jamaican sound system in her native Los Angeles. She was wonderful, both as a presenter and a researcher and I am in awe of her work and look forward to her continued research.
Panel at the Global Reggae Conference
Hazel Reid of Columbia University, me, Butter, and Nina Cole of University of California Davis
Me speaking on Rhumba Queens
Panel with Nina Cole, second from right
Me and my good friend Ruth Wilson.We met at the conference in 2013 and have been friends ever since!
One of the highlights of the conference was a performance from the legendary producer and DJ King Jammy! I had the pleasure of visiting King Jammy at his studio in Waterhouse last year, touring the interior of the ground zero of creativity. What a warm spirit. His smile is contagious. This man lights up when he talks about music, and he is still at it, working with Chronixx and Bounty Killer and Shaggy, to name a few. Well the legendary King Jammy performed with another Jamaican music DJ, David Rodigan! And it was at 10A no less! This is the site of the filming of The Harder They Come! It was Perry Henzell’s house and is now Justine Henzell’s house, and it was festooned by a small portion of Maxine Walters’ collection of 4,000 signs advertising for dancehall events, a selection of which are featured in her popular and praise-worthy book, Serious Things A Go Happen: Three Decades of Jamaican Dance Signs. Read more about her work HERE and HERE.
Panel at 10A led by Justine Henzell at 10A
Justine Henzell and me!
10A with Maxine Walters’ signs
10A with Maxine Walters’ signs
Maxine Walters and me!
David Rodigan and me!
Here are clips of that historic performance from King Jammy and David Rodigan! I wasn’t able to get more because I was too busy dropping legs!
David Rodigan and King Jammy
The screening of Rick Elgood’s Pimento and Hot Pepper: The Story of Mento Music was a real treat and I would encourage anyone who has the opportunity to see this fantastic film which features interviews from a number of mento artists, many of whom have now left this earth, as well as the esteemed Dr. Daniel Neely. Elgood’s passion for Jamaican music is deeply felt throughout this crucial piece of film that has preserved history and celebrated the genre that led to all Jamaican music to follow. To read more about this film, which should be making film festival rounds soon, click HERE
Elgood and mento expert extraordinaire Dr. Daniel Neely, along with Dr. Matthew Smith, Professor in History and Head, Department of History and Archaeology, The UWI, Mona, and Roy Black, music historian and Jamaica Gleaner journalist, also led a wonderful discussion and a screening of Pimento and Hot Pepper at the Institute of Jamaica, organized by Herbie Miller and Roberto Moore, on February 4th and 5th, 2017, followed by a performance by the Jolly Boys! Here is a clip from that performance.
Albert Minnott of the Jolly Boys and me!
Roy Black, Dr. Matthew Smith, and Dr. Daniel Neely talk the origins of mento.
Rick Elgood and me!