Canada honours Jamaica’s veteran singers

Canada honours Jamaica’s veteran singers

By Eddie J. Grant, Contributor

Vivia Betton Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto presents an award to Leroy Sibbles. RIGHT: Justin Hinds with his trophy. – Contributed

THE TEMPERATURE at the Country Heritage Park in Milton, Ontario, on the last day of June, was reminiscent to that in Jamaica. All that was missing was a lake or sea nearby to complete a true Caribbean setting.

The occasion for the event, which drew hundreds to the park, was the honouring of two of Jamaica’s notable entertainers, Leroy Sibbles and Justin Hinds. They were honoured for their years of contribution to the entertainment industry. They were also recognised for their pioneering work in the area of Caribbean music.

Sibbles, who at 16 became the lead singer of one of Jamaica’s most popular vocal trio ‘The Heptones’, has been performing for more than four decades. He still attracts large numbers of fans wherever he appears. He has many hits to his credits; too numerous to mention. Those that readily come to mind are: Fatty Fatty, Party Time, Book of Rules, I Shall Be Released and Baby Be True.

Sibbles is also a songwriter and an accomplished bass player.

Justin Hinds, lead singer of the group Dominoes, arrived on the scene in his native Jamaica in the early 1960s. He is described as being one of Jamaica’s unsung heroes. It is said that his early work during the ska and rocksteady era, helped define and shape the music that became known as reggae.

Carry Go Bring Come, his debut single that was released in 1963, took the Jamaican music industry by storm and stayed on the charts for seven weeks. Other hit songs included Rub Up, Push Up, Dip And Fall Back, Over The River, Save A Bread, Here I Stand, and a host of other hit singles. Hinds is scheduled to tour several European countries this year.

In receiving the award, presented to him by Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Vivia Betton, Sibbles thanked the fans and the organising committee for the honour bestowed on him. Later he appeared on stage to rock the joint with some of his popular hits, and received loud applause from the audience.

Hinds was also well received by fans, many of whom were seeing him perform for the first time.

The event, which was entitled ‘Canada Salutes Icons 2002’, was the main focus of the day, which brings family and friends together. The special event, ‘Canada Salutes Icon 2002’, combined with the perfect weather conditions, attracted hundreds of fans to the park, many who were there all day savouring the wide variety of goodies on sale and enjoying the countryside atmosphere. However, the majority arrived for the other entertainment aspects of the day, which included a stage show featuring a galaxy of Toronto performers.

Among them were Wally Richie, Wire, Ottis Gayle, and Lady Lucious, all backed by Tatix, one of Toronto’s top reggae bands.

During the night, the audience which by then reached more than 400, were entertained by a previous icon, honoree Winston ‘Merritone’ Blake, OD, certainly one of Jamaica’s most illustrious DJs. He provided the music for dancing.

The official opening ceremony to the cultural festival and Canadian salute to the two icons got underway at 3 p.m. It was presided over by the Mayor of Milton, Gord Krantz, who welcomed the guests.

In his opening address Krantz thanked Carol Walker and her committee members for staging the event in his town.

“I am pleased that you have invited me to this, your third anniversary. I always look forward to this event, as it has become an important part of our community. It is also a day when the family gathers together, and I am a firm believer in that,” he said.

Krantz also introduced members and relatives of his group that were present, while declaring the festival officially opened.


About The Author