Jimmy Riley to be honored

Singer Jimmy Riley (l) and son Tarrus Riley performing at last year’s Oracabessa Festival in New York.

Veteran reggae singer Jimmy Riley, who died recently, will be honored posthumously by Irie Jam Radio, WVIP with the ‘Caribbean Heritage Award’ at the third annual Oracabessa Festival, slated for Roy Wilkins Park in Queens, New York on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30, 2016. Headline acts slated to perform at the festival include Super Cat, Mavado, Ken Boothe, Nesbeth, Mighty Sparrow and Version.

“We are extremely proud to honor singer Jimmy Riley this year at the Oracabessa Festival” says, Louie Grant, vice president of Irie Jam Radio.

“Last year, New York fans were fortunate to have both Jimmy and his son Tarrus Riley share stage together in what may have been his last major performance in the tri-state area. It was a magical moment as Jimmy had the entire park cheering him along. We are also excited to recognize veteran NY radio broadcaster Gil Bailey, singer Mighty Sparrow and veteran producer Danny Brownie, for their long-standing commitment to the promotion of our Caribbean culture in the diaspora,” Grant added.

Riley, who died in New York after a long battle with cancer, grew up in Western Kingston. He appeared on several hit tracks with Slim Smith including “My Conversation” and did stints with the Techniques and the Sensations before moving on to a very successful solo career. He had several hits in the 70s and 80s, recording “Love & Devotion” and “Give Me Your Love” with Sly & Robbie. In 1983, he topped the UK reggae charts with Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing.” In the early 90’s, he scored another monster hit with “Rougher Yet.”

New York radio host Gil Bailey who, together with his wife Pat Bailey, has been at the forefront of Caribbean radio in the USA for over four decades. In 2003, the government of Jamaica and the Jamaican Consulate in New York honored Gil for his outstanding contribution to Caribbean music and Jamaican culture.

The Mighty Sparrow is the unrivaled Calypso King of the World. With a career that spans more than 40 years, he has entertained audiences across the globe. During his illustrious career, he has won 11 Calypso Monarch titles and the “King of Kings” Competition in Trinidad. He has also won Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival Road March Competition eight times. Sparrow has proved to be the quintessential calypsonian, par excellence, with more than 70 albums to his credit.

Producer Danny Brownie — the youngest of five Brownie siblings — has produced songs for international superstars such as Puff Daddy, Billy Ocean, Maxi Priest, Back Street Boys among others. He has also produced/played on recordings for music icons such as Jimmy Cliff, Bunny Wailer, Buju Banton, Sean Paul, Shabba Ranks, Beres Hammond, Lt. Stitchie, Richie Stephens, TOK, Red Rat, Freddie McGregor and Marcia Griffiths for his Main Street Record label. He is credited for bringing to prominence, gospel acts such as Prodigal Son, DJ Nicholas, Junior Tucker, Chevelle Franklyn and Ryan Mark.

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