Friday, 31 January 2014

LOOK WHO'S TALKING: Chris Gayle + NoMaddz + PM Simpson-Miller + Safiya Cooper + Yakub Grant + Denis O'Brien + Storm Saulter + Ricardo Gardener

GOOD SPORTS: Jan. 26, Kingston. On the heels of his patronage of the inaugural Samsung Youth Football Cup, former Jamaica international Ricardo 'Bibi' Gardener continues to help nurture the country's future football greats by co-hosting the recent El Clasico football competition at the Football Factory, with another staging scheduled for February. (Photo: Skkan Media)

LIFE OF THE PARTY: Jan. 25, St. Andrew. There's never a dull moment when Chris Gayle is in the house. Here, the affable sportsman bonds with Pulse's Safiya Cooper at Forever Kgn8 with DJ Cruise at Stony Hill's Villa Ronai. (Photo: Skkan Media)

GROUP DYNAMICS: Jan. 25, St. Andrew. Well known for their potent mix of dub poetry and bongoman vibrations, the souljahs of NoMaddz kept their audience enthralled as they performed at The Trod: Moving Forward at Half Way Tree's Countryside. (Photo: Ishango Photos)

ART & LIFE: Jan. 25, St. Andrew. Given that a special screening of his acclaimed film Better Mus' Come (which stars NoMaddz frontman Sheldon Shepherd) formed part of the night's offerings, no surprise that ace filmmaker Storm Saulter was in the mix at The Trod, spotted here having a talk with the group's manager Yakub Grant. (Photo: Ishango Photos)

FACE TO FACE: Jan. 22, St. Andrew. Economic growth and nation-building were among the matters up for discussion when PM Portia Simpson-Miller met up with Denis O'Brien, Chairman of Digicel Jamaica (celebrating its 10th anniversary this year), at Jamaica House. During their meeting, Simpson-Miller lauded the mobile company for its ongoing islandwide efforts in the key areas of education and community development. (Photo: OPM)

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READY TO RUMBLE: DeNiro and Stallone go pound-for-pound in sly boxing comedy Grudge Match

FIGHT CLUB: (From left) The movie's stars Stallone, Arkin, Hart and DeNiro

Though it's no heavyweight piece of film-making, Grudge Match, about two old boxing rivals returning to the ring to settle the score, is a hilarious, occasionally heartfelt ode to aging, legacy (of the familial and sporting varieties) and not taking oneself too seriously. 

As the story goes, nearly 40 years ago, famed pugilists Billy 'The Kid' McDonnen (Robert DeNiro) and Henry 'Razor' Sharp (Sylvester Stallone) ended their infamous last clash in a draw, a result that never satisfied the win-by-any-means McDonnen, who's been foaming at the mouth for a rematch ever since. Sharp, on the other hand, couldn't care less, leaving boxing to work at a mining factory. So while McDonnen went on to establish a lucrative car dealership, Sharp settled for a modest bachelor pad, swimming in past-due bills. Enter Dante Slate Jr (Kevin Hart), a sly second-generation boxing promoter who approaches the two Pittsburgh legends with a handsomely paying deal to give their still-loyal fans one last hurrah. 

For me, the film's core appeal lies in watching DeNiro and Stallone, two of Hollywood's most respected elder statesmen, prepare for and promote the epic showdown (dubbed Grudgement Day): slugging it at the gym, warbling the Star-Spangled Banner at a motocross event, and getting into heated brawls in the run-up to fight night. In the end, the veteran actors imbue their characters with immense believability. 

A sub-plot revolves around the affairs both men had with a groupie named Sally, portrayed here in middle age by Kim Basinger, with characteristic soft-spoken delicacy. Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine), meanwhile, is all bark and bite as Razor's cranky longtime trainer, aptly nicknamed Lightning. The movie also features appearances by LL Cool J as a showy personal trainer and Jon Bernthal as McDonnen's long-lost son BJ. 

Grudge Match, directed by Peter Segal, joins such movies as Red and The Expendables as silly-serious vehicles featuring old-timers behaving badly. For DeNiro and Stallone, however, it's clearly about being as old as they feel -- and having a swell time at this ripe stage of their illustrious careers. Tyrone's Verdict: B

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Thursday, 30 January 2014

LET'S RECALL A GREAT MAN: What made Peter Tosh such an original

GENTLE GIANT: "His charisma and delivery made up for any shortcomings."

In Remembering Peter Tosh (Ian Randle Publishers), a nostalgic anthology of tributes, compiled and edited by Ceil Tulloch, loyalists and former acquaintances of the legendary Jamaican musician reflect on aspects of his multi-dimensional life (from the stage to the kitchen) and make a persuasive case for his place in music history. Herewith, a sampling of their testimonials:

"Peter was the one who really launched Sly & Robbie as a unit on stage, so people could really see what we did inside the studio on stage. And I thank him very much for that. This was the time when Robbie and I started shaping ourselves into the perfect unit. The thing that I admired most about working with Peter was his giving us the freedom to play as we saw fit. He never once dictated to us how we should perform. At nighttime, Robbie and I used to sit in a room and discuss ways we could improve our performance from the previous night by doing different things." -- Lowell 'Sly' Dunbar, Grammy Award-winning musician 

"Except for his struggles with the Jamaican authorities over the use of ganja, I believe that Peter was really loved by his fellow citizens. People who knew Peter and understood his work all loved him. There is an expression [that goes], 'A king is not a king in his own country until he goes out and conquers.' So while Jamaicans loved Peter, he was not fully accepted by them until he had made a name for himself internationally like Bob Marley had done." -- George 'Fully' Fullwood, ace guitarist and Soul Syndicate founder 

"One of the things that we had in common socially was our appreciation of spicy food. Bush (as Tosh was affectionately called) not only enjoyed a good meal, he was also quite adept at cooking. Actually, he was an excellent cook! I believe that his culinary skills were a result of his upbringing in Trench Town....Bush would make an excellent soup, but if you do not like hot food, you would be in trouble because he prepared his meals very spicy." -- Dennis Thompson, studio and live engineer par excellence 

"Peter was a mystic and developed a Creation theology, which was reflected in his finest piece of reggae music called "Creation"....Peter must be understood as an integral part of the Caribbean theologians' struggle for a theology of exploration and transformation, in which the goal is to make the unconscious become conscious....He helped to raise Caribbean theology to a new level of consciousness, when he began to explore the depths of Caribbean music with a penetrative and perceptive vision." -- Reverend Canon Ernle Gordon 

"Peter was a lightning rod for the music, politics and culture of the Third World, and his charisma and delivery made up for any shortcomings he had musically. His approach to music and writing was inexorably tied up into the message he was delivering. It is impossible to separate them. Peter would take simple ideas and then turn them into rhythmic calls to action. The listener couldn't resist either the music track, or the message." -- David Wingate, former Columbia Records product manager

>> More: Read "Soul Rebel," TALLAWAH's review of the new book

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SOUL REBEL: Remembering Peter Tosh recalls the late reggae stalwart as maverick and mystic

HIS STORY: A legend of Jamaican music gets his literary due.

Complex figures tend to make for engrossing literary fare, and no Jamaican icon (musical or otherwise) has gone down in history as more complex and controversial than Grammy-winning legend Peter Tosh, whose eventful life and legacy is the subject of roots-reggae devotee Ceil Tulloch's retrospective, Remembering Peter Tosh (Ian Randle Publishers). 

At under 140 pages, it's a slim volume (with too simple a title, I should add) but, in addition to rare and vibrant photographs, it packs a series of compelling remembrances of a man and his mystique on and off the stage; a reggae superstar who clearly had his vices but who many felt was simply a complicated, misunderstood genius. 

Tulloch did an excellent job in pulling together an estimable cast of contributors, most of whom worked closely with Tosh in one capacity or another. But I feel readers will be particularly interested in Dr. Omar Davies' articulate account of the Tosh he admired and, by his own admission, speculated about. "My wife and I both admired Tosh because of his music, as well as the fact that he was such an exciting performer. One wouldn't know what to expect. He would ride his unicycle on stage, wear unique outfits etc," Davies writes, before emphasizing that he found Tosh's liberal use of expletives to be quite off-putting. "I suspected that Tosh saw it as his duty to take on the society, and he objected to the notion that a set of meaningless words, ordained by the colonial establishment as 'bad' should continue to be judged to be unlawful." 

It is this kind of radical and rebellious streak that largely informed the fond recollections of people like photographer Chuck Krall. "My favourite images of Peter are the ones of him smoking herb, sometimes right in front of the audience, or rolling his spliff. He made the biggest spliffs," Krall recalls. "I am fond of those pictures because they were so intimate and reminded me of special moments." 

His candour and staggering creativity aside, Tosh also emerges as a fun-loving individual and a man capable of enormous generosity. "What struck me most about him was his deadly serious demeanour in public," remembers noted historian Roger Steffens, "but privately, he was a warm and humourous person. You always laughed around him." Filmmaker and Montana State University professor Doug Wendt echoes similar memories. "Peter was very brave and talented. He was relentlessly determined to speak the truth, despite the repercussions," Wendt says. "Once I got to know Peter well, I discovered that beneath his often stern and militant demeanour, he was actually a very gentle giant."

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Wednesday, 29 January 2014

STATE OF THE ART: A first-class recording studio brings cutting-edge glam to Central Clarendon

CUTTING EDGE: The new studio boasts the latest in ultra-mod recording equipment.

Central Clarendon is quite fortunate to have a Member of Parliament as productive and clearly passionate about community service as Mike Henry, whose efforts in the constituency, after 35 years, continues to take laudable and fascinating turns. Particularly well-documented are his May Pen-based exploits in sports team management (the rejuvenated Humble Lion FC), academic sponsorship and the ongoing improvement of physical infrastructure in and around the town centre, giving the whole place a much-needed modern makeover.

And modern is exactly what springs to mind when one considers the constituency's latest coup: the arrival of the Lion Ville Studio, a groundbreaking and state-of-the-art recording and production facility that's bound to further establish May Pen as the epicentre of the new and the next in rural Jamaica.

Newly opened in Effortville (a couple of miles north of the town centre), Lion Ville comes fully equipped with the latest in cutting-edge technology and ultra-mod recording equipment and was conceived of to offer everything from vocal recording and mastering to professional courses in sound engineering, among other areas. "These services and resources are an important prerequisite for human resource development within the parish," reveals the veteran parliamentarian and publishing magnate in a recent Gleaner report.

Lion Ville, completed at an undisclosed cost, will double as a community radio station and will go a long way in unearthing exciting singer-songwriters and instrumentalists, not only from May Pen and its enviromns but Central Jamaica by extension. "Lion Ville is an integral part of our community development objectives," Henry explains. "It will be a medium for the harnessing of musical talents and will compete in the recording industry."

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ON THE RECORD: Musician Samuele Vivian riffs on his new album, his talented protégé, and finding balance

STRING THEORY: The Italian guitarist in performance recently inside the National Gallery.

TALLAWAH: Releasing a new album (Dubwise, being launched soon) is a fantastic way to kick off the year. What's the vibe like on this disc? 
Vivian: It's a very Mediterranean style of guitar mixed with more Jamaican influences, especially dub music and Nyabinghi. And there's some jazz on it as well. 

You manage to juggle so many balls as an artist: recording, performing, teaching, touring. How do you maintain your rhythm? 
It's not easy but somehow I manage (Laughs). Recording and teaching inspire me with a lot of new ideas because I interact with young minds all the time. Whenever I have a break from school, I go into more recording, so that helps me with balancing everything. 

Your appearance this weekend at Jamaica Jazz & Blues is not your debut. 
I played there four years ago. 

So what's it like making a repeat appearance at the festival? 
It's gonna be interesting. The first time, I performed on the small stage, but this time I'll be on the main stage. And they're gonna be featuring Gabriella [Reno], who I have been working with on her album. 

Fascinating. What drew you to collaborating with her? 
I think she's extremely talented, especially at songwriting. And I think the album we're working on [As The Sea] is gonna be something new on the Jamaican scene. It's not something forced; it's a natural sound.

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CULTURE VULTURE: 22nd Bob Marley Bash; Palace does Shakespeare; Liguanea Club's Movie Night; National Gallery saves best for 'Last'

ON THE HOUSE: "It's certainly a relaxed environment, and it's very family-friendly. It gives people something to do at the gallery other than view the exhibitions," remarks Executive Veerle Poupeye, referring to the National Gallery's increasingly popular Last Sundays special, which monthly brings a healthy dose of arts-based entertainment to its patrons. Most recently, musicians Samuele Vivian and Gabriella Reno took the spotlight. Previous offerings included a screening of Russell Watson's film A Hand Full of Dirt (starring Alwyn Bully) and interactive art shows featuring the likes of Matthew McCarthy. "I think it promotes another level of engagement because people are not just in and out; they stay here for hours." Is the best yet to come? "We hope to turn it into something even bigger," says Poupeye, "and we hope to get sponsors, so we can add to the entertainment." 

THE BIG PICTURE: Here's hoping the Liguanea Club in New Kingston hosts its Movie Night with greater regularity. The venue's well-ventilated setting paired with the free-to-the-public showing of tasteful, hugely enjoyable films proves irresistible. I joined a fair-sized crowd at the Club last week to take in the splendid Before Midnight (starring Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke), an Oscar contender that didn't make it into the Palace Amusement circuit. See, that's already part of the appeal. 

STAGE TO SCREEN: Palace Amusement Limited came in for special praise last year when they launched their Met Season coverage (to huge acclaim from local opera enthusiasts like Dr. Brian Heap). The Jamaican film company continues to diversify its entertainment package, announcing that a roster of Shakespearean plays will be added to its Sunday morning programme (for February and March), sure to delight lovers of live theatre, the British military tradition (War Horse), and the best of the Bard (including Hamlet, Coriolanus, King Lear and Othello). Visit for details. 

MARLEY MANIA: Robert Nesta is being thrown a supersized birthday bash in Negril next month. slated for Feb. 1-6, the 22nd Annual Bob Marley Bash will unfold at the MXIII Lawn, with a veteran-heavy lineup of performers slated to pay tribute to the late great reggae ambassador whose presence is still deeply felt across the globe. Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Marcia Griffiths, Bob Andy, Chronixx and Raging Fyah, to mention just a few of the big names, will deliver performances at the event being sponsored by the Jamaica Tourist Board, with Lennox Lewis as patron.

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GIRL OF THE MOMENT: Indie princess Gabriella Reno brings soulful poetry and outsize ambition to the music scene

FINELY TUNED: "What motivates me is my desire to see the world."

If upon first witnessing a live performance by Gabriella Reno you recognize striking parallels between her style and that of Corinne Bailey Rae, you're not alone. The deafening buzz about the rising singer-songwriter these days is that, within a short span, she's quickly morphing into Jamaica's version of the charming British indie reine, who is well-known for such hits as "Put Your Records On," "Trouble Sleeping" and the Grammy-nominated "Like A Star." 

The 22-year-old Wolmer's Girls alumna, who describes her sound as a creamy blend of folk, indie reggae, soul music and Mediterranean guitar (courtesy of frequent collaborator, the Italian-Jamaican guitarist Samuele Vivian), will drop her debut album, As The Sea, in April of this year. It has the makings of an ambitious project that's bound to gain proper notice for her delicate vocals and songwriting prowess. 

"I don't have any problems when it comes to writing the songs," she tells TALLAWAH following a groovy, laid-back performance, opposite Vivian, at the National Gallery on Sunday afternoon that featured renditions of poetically crafted gems like "Our Generation", "Sugar Mama" and "Coming Home" -- all full of wise observations and bare-bones honesty. "The thing with most artists, me included, is that we are always striving to improve our craft. And that's what I'm focussing on." 

Banking valuable studio time aside, the willowy new artist has also managed to make time for other things like hitting the books at the Edna Manley College and joining Vivian for overseas performances across Miami, Spain and Italy. "What motivates me is my desire to see the world," says Gabriella, who originally hails from Bog Walk, St. Catherine, and has a taste for tunes by Jason Mraz and Bruno Mars, among other musical influences. "To meet people and to interact, and to make people feel warm and loved is what I look forward to the most." 

This month promises Gabriella's biggest audience yet, when she makes her main-stage debut (next to her partner in rhythm and rhyme) at the Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival. "Extremely excited," she admits. "I think it's going to be such a learning experience for me, and I'm just looking forward to sharing with people what I have to offer." So what does the future hold for her? "I guess my biggest aspiration would be to win a Grammy." Spoken like a true go-getter.

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Tuesday, 28 January 2014

TALLAWAH MOMENT: Ziggy Marley's Live in Concert snags Best Reggae Album at 56th Grammys

TALENTED PAIR: The gorgeous couple posed for photographers ahead of the show.

On Sunday, Ziggy Marley walked the red carpet at the Grammy Awards (hosted by the Staples Centre in Los Angeles) with his stunning wife, Orly, Agai, providing picture-perfect arm candy. But by the end of the evening, the 43-year-old reggae superstar was heading home with another shiny accessory: the award for Best Reggae Album, for his critically praised disc, Live in Concert (Tuff Gong Worldwide). The win represents Ziggy's fifth lien on a golden gramophone, music's highest honour, and reflects the Recording Academy's continued admiration of the Marley brand of craftmanship and lyrical potency.

Never mind that he's no Grammy ingenue, Ziggy (Love Is My Religion, Wild and Free) confesses that this latest nomination caught him completely by surprise. "It was unexpected. I wasn't thinking about it. I was surprised," he told CBS News ahead of the pre-show telecast. He went on to disclose that the idea to drop a live album hit while on tour with his band. "I liked the way it sounded," he said of the finished product. "We put it out quietly and simply, and now we got a Grammy nomination, so that's good."

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Monday, 27 January 2014

A WHOLE NEW WORLD: Aladdin is awash in charm, wit and a vivid palette

BOY WONDER: Andrew Bailey leads a high-energy troupe in the latest JJT musical.

The Jamaica Junior Theatre Company's Aladdin is a flashy, fun adaptation of the Disney classic and Broadway smash that finds its energetic cast of teens and tweens rendering the Tim Rice/Elton John score with astonishing maturity and no shortage of élan. 

As you all know, Aladdin is one of the most popular love stories -- not just on celluloid -- but of all time, but in the hands of the resourceful JJT crew, it's given radiant charm and polish (in spite of the limitations of the Philip Sherlock Centre) and an emotional heft that belies the age of the show's young actors. 

Stage ingénues like charismatic leads Andrew Bailey (the titular loverboy and self-proclaimed street rat) and Justine Rookwood (level-headed Princess Jasmine) share a palpable chemistry that makes their performances quite intriguing. And because every epic romance has its villain, the talented Ricardo Barrett gets to channel his inner baddie as the menacing Shahrivar, a striking cross between The Lion King's Scar and The Princess and the Frog's Dr. Facilier.

Meanwhile, the performers make light work of such standout musical numbers as "Friend Like Me," the popular "A Whole New World" and "Strongest Suit" (aka "I Am What I Wear"), which highlights Carolyn Chin-Yee's ravishingly colour-blocked costumes that authentically evoke a sense of Persian glamour and whimsy. As for the supersized chorus (over 40 members) and auxiliary cast, props to Andrew Grant, who pulled off a fantastic job as the big, blue, sassy Genie (peeved that he'd been summoned from his Jamaican vacation) and Ashley Thurlow as Razia Sultana, the maternal if a tad materialistic empress of Assam, the production's fabulous Oriental setting. 

Overall, the show looks good, the kids sound great, and it's all executed with wonderful pizzazz, making this a joyous jump-start to the 2014 crop of theatrical delights. Tyrone's Verdict: B+

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MATTERS OF THE HEART: Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy explore life and longing in Richard Linklater's Before Midnight

YOU AND ME: Delpy and Hawke portray lovers at a crossroads in the sparkling film.

"If we're going to know one another, we have to know ourselves first," muses Ethan Hawke's Jesse in Before Midnight, the fresh, smart and endlessly amusing third film in the Richard Linklater-directed series, and the follow-up to Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. It's a line that perfectly sums up the mood of this beautifully written and evocatively filmed story, which came in for a delightful screening last Friday at the Liguanea Club's Movie Night in New Kingston.

A Best Adapted Screenplay nominee at the upcoming Oscars, Before Midnight finds Jesse and Celine in their early 40s living together in Paris but paying a visit to the picturesque Southern Peloponnese on holiday. At the moment he is a bestselling author while she is eyeing an ambitious career move.

They have two kids, and as the movie opens, Jesse is at the airport sending off his teenage son from his previous marriage back to Chicago. The parting obviously weighs on him, and in a series of pitch-perfect conversations, including a showdown in the hotel suite, Jesse and Celine banter and bicker about their roles as partners and parents. It's thrilling, heady stuff.

Before Midnight is striking not only for its naturalism in handling its themes but for the quiet ambition of its style. What's more, the script (co-written by Linklater, Hawke and Delpy) is laden with crisp, fast-flying dialogue, which helps to make the film a solid romantic comedy-drama that follows a pair of consummate artists grappling with the vicissitudes of living and what we are ultimately all striving for: true happiness. Tyrone's Verdict: A

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SAY WHAT: Talking the talk with Deon Hemmings-McCatty, Shaggy, Peter Bunting, Terrence Williams and Wayne Marshall

"As the name suggests, the project represents my true colours and what I have experienced in music. It shows my evolution, my growth. I promised myself that I wanted to make a project so fans could see the worth of buying it. It is a project that I can really encourage people to buy....We took the time to perfect it." -- Entertainer Wayne Marshll on the appeal of his new album, Tru Colours, out now 

"With this new cardiac ward, [the children facing surgery] have a fighting chance. We shifted all our interest in getting this ward up because that is how important it is." -- Philanthropist Orville 'Shaggy' Burrell on the long-term benefits of his Make A Difference Foundation's latest mega-donation to the Bustamante Hospital for Children 

"When you go to a track meet running the 400M hurdles, you are fully stressed out, but when you go to a track meet running the sprint hurdles you are having fun, and I think it is time for her to have fun, and I support her." -- Track icon Deon Hemmings-McCatty endorsing Olympian Melanie Walker's switch to the sprints 

"We are very happy for this, and we are looking forward to the other items to have a full slate for proper accountability because Jamaica's police have a high rate of fatal shootings and with that high rate there must be a high degree of quality accountability. Jamaica must be an example of quality accountability." -- INDECOM Commissioner Terrence Williams on the wearing of body cameras by members of the Jamaican constabulary 

"I am asking principals and other persons in the school system not to react in a defensive manner towards the findings of the [Education and Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates] study because the school is an important channel for positive behavioural intervention support to take place." -- National Security Minister Peter Bunting on the islandwide backlash over the findings of the notorious JCF study

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IN THE MIX: Culture and entertainment headlines from Kingston to Cannes

WORDS TO LIVE BY: It's rapidly securing its place as a sister festival to Calabash (May 30-June1), but this year the Talking Trees Lit Fiesta is trading the cool Southern hospitality of Treasure Beach for the warm hustle-and-bustle of city Kingston. According to organizers, the Kingston edition will take place at the University of Technology (Lilian's, to be more specific) on Sunday, Feb. 16, and featuring, like Calabash, an accomplished lineup of literary talents, both Jamaican and foreign-based. Poised to make his second appearance at the annual event, Nigerian prize-winning author Igoni Barrett will read from, among other notable publications, his latest work Love is Power of Something Like That. Also in the mix this year: Dutch journalist Femke Van Zeijl, as well as a Jamaican contingent comprising such names as musicologist Jo-Ann Richards, Dr. Nova Gordon Bell, Ruddy Wallace and poets Ann-Margaret Lim and Marlon Thompson. (Above: Sonia King reading at the festival in 2011.)

FUTURE LEADERS: Close to 100 outstanding young Jamaicans are set to receive the Prime Minister's Youth Award for Excellence in the usual range of disciplines, spanning academics and entrepreneurship, sports and the performing arts. Customarily held around November/December to coincide with Youth Month, the 2014 edition (details forthcoming) will be staged in March, signalling the youth and culture ministry's continued mission to "Reset Di Ting." 

TOP JOB: There's a new sheriff in town. Legendary businessman R. Danny Williams has been appointed Chairman of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO), Information minister Sandrea Falconer has announced. Williams, who was conferred with an honorary doctorate by the University of the West Indies (UWI) last November, will lead a newly assembled team to replace the old one that resigned en bloc last year. The new JADCO board is made up of Carmen Tipling, Dr. Patricia Holness, Anthony Lawrence, Dr. Thelma Nelson, Dennis Lalor, Neville Williams and Dr. Winston Isles. An additional pair of board members will be named in short order. 

CINEMA VERITE: As TALLAWAH previously reported, The Piano's Oscar-winning director Jane Campion will chair the Cannes Film Festival jury at this year's even slated for May 14-25 in France. Now word comes that the Nicole Kidman-starring vehicle Grace of Monaco is set to open the festival. The film, produced by the Weinstein Company, centred on the life of Grace Kelly (Kidman), costars Tim Roth, Paz Vega and Frank Langella.

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Friday, 24 January 2014

NEWS & NOTES: The Bustamante Hospital welcomes its latest mammoth donation from Shaggy & Friends

SUPER DONOR: The number is in. The Shaggy Make A Difference Foundation on Thursday presented a hefty cheque, J$70 million strong, to the Bustamante Hospital for Children, representing the proceeds from the Jan. 4 Shaggy & Friends megaconcert on the lawns of Jamaica House, which delivered rousing performances from Tessanne Chin, Ne-Yo and several other top-flight entertainers. Apart from media reps, Thursday's handing-over ceremony was attended by renowned businessman Kenny Benjamin; Lyttleton Shirley (Head of the South-East Regional Health Authority); the hospital's Dr. Lambert Innis (Head of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care), as well as several hospital staff. 

BUSINESS LEADER: "This award affirms our position as the region's leading full-service business solutions partner, and we are proud to be associated with trailblazers in technology," says Jason Corrigan, general manager of Digicel Business, the 2013 winner of the Avaya Partner of the Year Award, presented last Thursday during a ceremony in San Juan, Puerto Rico. "As a Gold partner, we are committed to continuing to provide the best-in-class ICT solutions for our customers to grow and optimise their business. The awards ceremony was held to recognise and reward Avaya's best partners and collaborators in 2013. 

> "Sustain The Legacy" is the theme driving this year's 285th anniversary celebrations of the Wolmer's family. Proud Wolmerians Michael Frater and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce are the patrons of the grand celebrations, which were officially launched on Thursday, with a keynote address by Lascelles Chin

> Fraser-Pryce, no stranger to prestigious accolades, including last year's prestigious IAAF Female Athlete of the Year award, will soon be conferred with the Chancellor's Medal by her alma mater, The University of Technology (UTech), the college has announced. The medal will be presented when the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP) convenes its next conference, slated for Jan 30 to Feb 2, at the Hilton Rose Hall and Spa in Montego Bay, St. James.

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