The people have spoken!
When votes for nominating a deserving artiste for the lifetime Achievement Award was solicited, everyone came back with Jimmy Cliff says IRIE FM’s Managing Director Debbie-Ann Dewar and Ka’bu Ma’at Kheru. According to the details noted on Billboard.com The legendary Jimmy Cliff appears to be receiving his due even from an internationally perspective!
The following provides an update on the ceremonies and biographical information provided by Cliff himself, in connect with the honor !
Hometown occurrence – “An enthusiastic crowd of several thousand began gathering from 6 AM on Sunday, February 12, along the narrowly winding rocky road leading to the Somerton All Age and Infant School. Seemingly an improbable venue for a ceremony honoring a 2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and a two time Grammy winner, for James Chambers, whose lofty ambitions prompted the use of the surname Cliff, his choice of the school’s auditorium as the site to receive the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award from Jamaica’s IRIE FM (107.5) was an acknowledgement of the rural community that shaped him.
“Somerton prepared me for everything I went on to do in my life; I’ve gotten many awards but to get this right here in my home where my navel string was cut is overwhelming,” Jimmy Cliff told Billboard in an exclusive interview following the award ceremony. Cliff, 68, was visibly overwhelmed throughout the four-hour observance as he listened to politicians, well-known Somerton film maker Lenny Little-White and dancehall great Beenie Man laud his accomplishments and fellow Jamaican artists, including singers Bushman, Lymie Murray, Shuga and Tammy Tee, dub poet Yasus Afari, sing-jay Queen Ifrica, master drummer Bongo Herman and trumpeter Dwight Richards, perform his songs.
The crowning segment of the formalities was a 45 minute acoustic set by Cliff, delivered on an elevated makeshift stage in the schoolyard, spanning selections from his early 60s ska hits to unreleased material from his forthcoming album, with “Somerton” a possible title. “I have not performed in Jamaica in a long time, because when I perform here it has to be special, and this was special, to see the love from the community,” Cliff shared.
IRIE FM Managing Director Debbie-Ann Dewar and Ka’bu Ma’at Kheru, Program Director at IRIE FM’s parent company Grove Broadcasting presenting Jimmy Cliff with the IRIE FM Lifetime Achievement Award.
More Comments from Cliff:
“I always had in mind to do a free concert in this area and it never materialized but now I can say I will endeavor to keep it up annually.”
The IRIE FM Lifetime Achievement Award will be conferred each February, designated as the island’s Reggae Month, to a Jamaican whose body of work demonstrates outstanding and exceptional leadership in industry advancement, nationally and globally.
For years Cliff has quietly supported many initiatives in Somerton, including the local soccer team bearing his name; Cliff also helped to rebuild Somerton’s Oneness Oval where a soccer match was held (Jimmy Cliff All Stars vs. IRIE FM invitational) following his acoustic performance. “Jimmy said, ‘If the community doesn’t benefit from what I do, then I am not successful,’” Kheru offered.
Congratulatuons Jimmy Cliff!!!