Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths among 70-strong contingent for Abi-Reggae

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A contingent of nearly 70 exponents of reggae music will leave Kingston, New York, Atlanta and Miami later this week for Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire in West Africa, to participate in the inaugural staging of the Abi-Reggae International Music Festival and Conference, set to take place from April 9 to 12.

The combination of a reggae festival and a music and cultural conference is being described as groundbreaking, and the first of its kind on the continent of Africa. The four-day event will be headlined by A-list Jamaican acts Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths of the I-Three, Third World, Morgan Heritage and Ky-mani Marley. They will be joined onstage by Alpha Blondy and other regional West African stars.

Also joining the contingent travelling to West Africa are Dr Julius Garvey, the son of Jamaica's first national hero, the Rt Excellent Marcus Garvey; Mutabaruka, dub poet, musician and radio host; Jelani Niaah, University of the West Indies lecturer; Copeland Forbes, legendary tour manager and oral reggae historian; Herbie Miller, cultural archivist, and other cultural luminaries.

The Abi-Reggae extravaganza, is the brainchild of Hon Moussa Dosso, a senior minister of government in the French-speaking Côte d'Ivoire. He visited Jamaica in 2013 and met with key music industry talent and executives on island including Jimmy Cliff and Chis Blackwell, both of who have endorsed the event. Jamaica's former minister of culture, Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, is consultant producer for Abi-Reggae and she has direct responsibility for the coordination and management of the entire Jamaican contingent.

"Everything is being done to have a tremendously successful inaugural event," Grange explained. "Abi-Reggae will benefit the music industry and Jamaica in a substantial way by strengthening the cultural ties between Jamaica and the continent of Africa," she continued.

 

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