Trinidad’s own Machel Montano has copped the Bob Marley Entertainer of the Year Award at the recently held 29th International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) at the York College Performing Arts Centre in Queen’s, New York.
The official magazine for the event explains the IRAWMA is not only about reggae music.
’The IRAWMAs recognise artists in Gospel, Salsa, Latin, Reggaeton, Calypso, Soca, African, Soukous, Compas, Racine and Hip Hop. We remain steadfast in our commitment to honour those who have made their mark globally in the Reggae and World Music Industry,’ says Ephraim Martin, president of Martin’s International and Associates and IRAMWA producer.
|Julian Marley, one of the sons of reggae legend Bob Marley, |
congratulates Machel Montano
on receiving the Bob Marley Award for Entertainer of the Year.
In 1981, Jamaican photo-journalist Ephraim Martin staged the first Reggae Awards in Chicago. Over the past 29 years the annual event has travelled to Miami, Atlanta, Ft Lauderdale, New Orleans, New York and Jamaica drawing record audiences in each location. 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. The IRAWMA show is the oldest and longest running annual Reggae and World Music event.
Montano, who was nominated in five categories, began his award haul with the award for Most Outstanding Show Band. The other nominees were LUST, Morgan Heritage, Inner Circle and Third World.
He then took the award for Best Calypso /Soca Entertainer beating nominees Fay-Ann Lyons, Skinny Fabulous, Edwin Yearwood and Alison Hinds.
While accepting this award, Montano jovially said that it was not fair that he alone should get this award and so he called Hinds to please accept it for her contribution to the art form. Hinds who later went on to win for Best Female vocalist was all smiles. But it was the top award for the night Montano was in search of and got. The Bob Marley Award for Entertainer of the Year and that was the icing on the cake. Montano is the first soca artist to win this prestigious award. The other nominees were Sean Paul, Beenie Man, Tarrus Riley and Julian Marley one of the sons of the reggae legend.
Montano in his speech thanked his mother Liz Montano, all his fans, his band Machel Montano HD, and his close friends in the industry like Pitbull who he will be taking with him on a multiple city US tour next month. Montano closed the the show with a sparkling performance. All the awardes joined him onstage including Queen Ifrika who tried her hand at soca. The show ended with all the awardees singing Bob Marley’s One Love to close the show.