The Jamaican government and opposition have both congratulated Jimmy Cliff on winning the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album on Sunday.
Lisa Hanna, Minister of Youth and Culture in a statement released on Monday afternoon, said Jimmy Cliff “continues to bring glory to Jamaica and remains one of our country’s leading cultural icons and ambassadors, taking our indigenous reggae music to new heights of global recognition.”
She said Cliff’s award-winning album, “Rebirth” was another in a long list of musical treasures “rooted in the artiste’s Jamaican cultural experience, which he has produced and given the world.”
Rebirth, she said “is classically Cliff, walking us through the evolution of the music and the social history of our Jamaican society at the same time” adding that in that regard, “Jimmy Cliff continues his fine tradition of educating even as he entertains in fine style.”
Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Opposition spokesperson on Youth, Sports, Gender Affairs, Entertainment and Culture, was equally effusive in her praise of Cliff.
In her statement, Miss Grange pointed to Cliff’s “re-emergence on the international scene with the release of Rebirth last year, followed by the use of his music in the recent Super Bowl Volkswagen television advertisement in the United States and now his success in the Grammys at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles on Sunday”.
She noted that Cliff had been nominated seven times for a Best Reggae Grammy, and had previously won the award, in 1986, with Cliff Hanger.
That he had won a second Grammy so many years later, she said, was a tribute to his professionalism and durability.
“Jimmy could not have found a better name for this album, as it really signals a rebirth in his career, which can also be interpreted as a rebirth of interest in the Jamaican pop music culture on the global market,” Miss Grange said.
In that regard Miss Grange, a former Minister of Culture, said she hoped the award signaled another successful period for the Jamaican music industry.
Jimmy Cliff is also noted internationally for his starring role in the Jamaican movie “The Harder they Come” (1972), directed by another Jamaican, Perry Henzel.
During the live telecast of the Grammy’s on Sunday evening, musical tribute was also paid to Bob Marley, with two of his sons, Ziggy and Damian, joining other prominent performers in a rendition of his song “Could You Be Loved”.
While welcoming both acts of recognition for these two Jamaican musical icons, however, Miss Grange cautioned against complacency, saying “while the music of both Cliff and Marley, after more than 50 years, continue to be the basis of our influence in the global market and will continue to be so for a long time, we cannot rely on them to maintain that influence forever.”
She said more young Jamaican artistes and musicians should “reflect on the success of these two reggae icons and emulate them and their professionalism and humility.”