Festival songs break new ground

July 22, 2020

JAMAICA Festival 2020 Song Competition, the compilation album featuring this year’s 10 finalists, is currently number 11 on iTunes Reggae Chart.

Released July 3 and distributed by VPal Music, the set is the first in the contest’s more the half-century history to be made available on all major digital platforms.

Minister of Entertainment and Culture, Olivia “Babsy” Grange was pleased that the album was breaking new ground.

“I am very excited about it. We are taking the Festival Song Competition to the world. The fact that we are on all the digital platforms has given the contest a wider reach… The possibilities are endless,” Grange told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

“These are exciting times; we have gone outside Jamaica and made the charts across the world,” she continued.

Several high-profile acts are among this year’s finalists. They include reggae singer Freddie McGregor ( Tun Up Di Sound), three-time festival song winner Toots & The Maytals ( Rise Up Jamaica), reggae singjay Buju Banton ( I Am Jamaican), Papa Michigan (formerly of Michigan and Smiley) ( Festival Dance), dancehall quartet LUST (featuring Lukie D, Thriller U, Singing Melody & Tony Curtis) ( Wave The Flag), and 2009 Digicel Rising Stars winner Shuga ( One People).

The other entrants are two-time Jamaica Festival Song winner Nazzle Man ( Jamaica Nice), up-and-coming dancehall artistes Xtra Bigg ( Jamaica A Paradise), Radix OD ( Place To Be), and actress Sakina Deer ( We Are Jamaica).

Buju Banton’s entry I Am Jamaican is currently at 41 on the iTunes Reggae Song Chart.

“The songwriters are earning royalties which will come to them as well as the JCDC [Jamaica Cultural Development Commission],” she said.

Due to restrictions implemented to curtail the spread of COVID-19, a virtual final is scheduled for this Sunday, July 26.

Last Sunday, contestants were introduced to the public via a televised live performance show. It was also streamed live via various platforms.

“The show was great. I had rave reviews and all the finalists enjoyed themselves. There is a strong spirit of togetherness and patriotism in this competition. In fact, it doesn’t feel like a competition, it’s like a family celebrating Jamaica and taking our music once again to the world. This is historic!” Grange added.

Started in 1966, Jamaica Festival Song Competition is organised by the JCDC. Past winners include Desmond Dekker & The Aces, Eric Donaldson, and Tinga Stewart.



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