The International Reggae and World Music Awards Celebrates its 30th Year
On Saturday May 28, 2011 Trinidad & Tobago will host the 30th International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) at the National Academy of the Performing Arts NAPA in Port of Spain in Trinidad & Tobago. Call it the Grammy’s of Reggae & World music because this is the only place you will find some of the hottest artists in Reggae, Calypso, Soca & World Music all convening on one stage. Some of this year’s performers include Michael Monatno, Tarrus Riley, Queen Ifrika, Soca Elvis, Macka Diamond, Freddy “Mega” McGregor, Beenie Man, Dean Fraser, Rocky Duwni and Tifa.
IRAWMA is one of the longest running Reggae and World Music events honoring top performers in Reggae Calypso, Soca, and other World Beat entertainers for their outstanding contribution to the international music community. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to honor those who have made their mark globally in the reggae and world music industry,” said Ephraim M. Martin, President and CEO of Martin’s International and Associates and IRAMWA.
Since its inception in 1981, the IRAWMA’s has garnered world-wide notoriety and this year is no different with over 30 countries bidding to host the event in their respective countries. Some of these countries include the UK, France, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, St Maarten, Hawaii, and Canada. According to Martin, Trinidad & Tobago was the ideal choice for several reasons; one the emergence of Chutney Music which is native to T & T and a new music category added this year, and this year’s inductee into the Hall of Fame “Machel Montano” hales from Trinidad & Tobago. Past Reggae and Caribbean artists who have been inducted Hall of Fame include, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Burning Spear, Eddy Grant, Third World, Billy Ocean, Bunny Wailer, Mighty Sparrow, Calypso Rose.
IRAWMA’s voting process levels the playing field.
Unlike other musical award shows in which the judges are the sole decision makers as to the winners, the IRAWMA’s invites the fans to participate in that process—ultimately deciding who they believe should be the winners in a particular category. The nominees are selected in more than 40 categories by a panel of judges based on a combination of originality, sales and appearances and popularity votes. Some of these categories include Gospel, Salsa, Latin, Reggaeton, Soca, African, Soukous, Compas, Racine, Hip Hop and R&B. This year Chutney music will be making its debut as an official World Music category. The polls are then opened for the fans to cast their votes via mail, phone or online and the winner is revealed at the IRAWMA’s. Some the nominees this year include, Gyptian with 8 nomination, Trinidad’s 2011 Soca Monarch and Road Monarch champion Machel Montano and Damian “Junior Gong” Marley with 7 nods, Sly and Robbie with 6 nods, Vybz Kartel with 5 nods. Other nominees include, Tarrus Riley, Elephant Man, Pitt Bull, Gramps Morgan, Shakira, Jah Cure, and Daddy Yankee.
George Clooney is also nominated for The Marcus Garvey Lifetime Achievement Award which is presented each year to an outstanding individual whose life work demonstrates a commitment to the principles of human empowerment and unity of people of African descent.
Thousands are expected to attend this star-studded, red-carpet celebration and although the polls are now closed you still have time to plan your trip to T & T come out and watch some of your favorite artists. The luxurious, 428-room Hyatt Regency Trinidad that overlooks the city and the Gulf of Paria, where Columbus sailed on his third voyage when he gave Trinidad its name, is offering special room rates for IRAWMA attendees. The Hyatt Regency Trinidad is equipped with a gym, a pool, a spa, wired and wireless high-speed internet access, a 32” flat screen television with cable channels, and four restaurants.
This year IRAWMA is dedicated to Health Awareness. The IRAWMA’s will be followed by a huge concert entitled, “Reggae Meets Soca and Chutney” the next day (May 29th, 2011) to celebrate the nominees and winners at the Queens Park Savanna in Trinidad. Some of the artists featured at this event include Shaggy, Jah Cure, Beenie Man, Roy Cape All Stars, Gramps Morgan, Chutney star Heeralal Ramartap.