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J'cans urged to document unique culture

State minister for Tourism and Entertainment Damion Crawford is urging more Jamaicans to dedicate time and effort to documenting aspects of the unique Jamaican culture. Speaking recently at the official ceremony to mark the handing over of 100 digital tapes containing priceless interviews and concert footage from the Legends of Ska documentary project, Crawford underscored the need for more Jamaicans to produce films, features and documentaries showcasing the culture, such as the successes of our cultural icons and musicians.

The Legends of Ska documentary, which was produced by American film producer, Brad Klein, captures the growth and evolution of ska as a distinctive Jamaican musical genre. It also examines the impact of Jamaican music globally and gives unique insight into the lives and careers of some of our most legendary ska performers. Klein dedicated over 12 years of his life to creating the film.

In thanking Klein for handing over the tapes to the Jamaica Music Museum, Crawford said, "This vast catalogue of archival footage and images is truly a national asset. The significance of this footage resonates with those of us who understand the importance of capturing and preserving aspects of our history for the benefit of current and future generations alike."

Telling the Jamaican story

Crawford added that, "As a country, Jamaica continues to captivate the world through our unique culture and music, but more Jamaicans need to dedicate the time and effort to telling our own story, to capturing our history and culture on tape so that more people can truly appreciate the achievements of various talented Jamaicans."

Crawford underscored that "the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment and its agencies are committed to fostering the continued development of the entertainment industry and the preservation of our cultural heritage. It is this commitment that has guided our decision to finance this initiative through the Tourism Enhancement Fund, in order to bring these valuable tapes to Jamaica".

For his part, minister of transport, works and housing and noted music aficionado, Dr Omar Davies, expressed similar sentiments, noting that, "Even as I express gratitude to Brad on this initiative, I hope that within Jamaica, we will seek to start doing this in a more systematic way, in terms of documenting the work of artistes and ensuring that the next generation will be aware of this rich piece of our history."

In accepting the footage, director/curator of the Jamaica Music Museum, which is an arm of the Institute of Jamaica, Herbie Miller, said, "I would like to thank Brad for his very generous and committed donation. In accepting this, I do it on behalf of the ancestors and the survivors who we call the Legends of Ska, as well as the Jamaican people." 

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