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Jamaica Festival Song Competition to Return in 2018

The annual Festival Song Competition, one of the highlights of Jamaica’s Emancipation and Independence celebrations, will return in 2018.

This was announced by Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, who indicated that in the absence of this year’s staging, the Ministry is producing a commemorative album featuring a compilation of past entries not making it to the winners’ enclosure.

Additionally, Ms. Grange said the album will also include new songs that have been commissioned from local producers, adding that “we will complete that compilation in time to unveil it during our Independence week celebrations.”

She was speaking recently with JIS News at her office on Trafalgar Road in New Kingston.

Meanwhile Ms. Grange advised that in a bid to improve on the quality of the songs submitted, beginning next year, workshops will be held islandwide for prospective entrants prior to selections being made.

She explained that this is intended to assist budding artistes to improve their stagecraft, writing of lyrics and composition of melodies, as well as learning the basics in music theory, adding that established performers will also be encouraged to participate.

“Those workshops will expose Jamaicans, particularly the young people, to certain training and packaging that is necessary when you are going to go to the public and display your craft or your talent,” the Minister said.

Ms. Grange pointed out that this year’s competition was suspended as the entries “were not (deemed) of a quality that we felt represented the fantastic talent we have as Jamaicans.”

“The concept of the festival song competition is to find that song that will be a call to action…that song that would make man, woman and child rock to the music…that song that will be on the lips of everybody,” she emphasized.

In this regard, Ms. Grange said individuals who submitted entries this year will be also invited to participate in the workshops.

The inaugural Festival Song Competition was held in 1966, with the group, Toots and The Maytals, copping the honours with their seminal composition titled – ‘Bam Bam’.

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