KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Jamaican Government is to assist with the funeral arrangements for musical icon and pioneer, Alton Ellis, Information, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister, Olivia Grange, has announced.
Mr. Ellis, a revered exponent of the Rock Steady and Reggae genre of Jamaica’s music, succumbed to cancer in London, England, on October 10 at age 70.
Speaking at Wednesday’s (Oct. 15) post-Cabinet media briefing at Jamaica House, Miss Grange advised that arrangements have been made for the body of the singer, who blazed the Jamaican musical landscape for upwards of 50 years, to be brought back to Jamaica.
She also expressed regret at the legend’s passing. Details of the arrangements are expected to be disclosed shortly.
“I want to express my condolences to his family. and to an industry of which he was a pioneer, and to which he made tremendous contribution,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, Miss Grange informed that Jamaica is to benefit from the production of a series of documentaries on the country’s musical heritage. She advised that the production commenced with the filming of a special concert held earlier, which Mr. Ellis attended.
“That event was a most important event in the life of Jamaica’s music. I brought him (Ellis) home to be a part of that concert, which will form part of a documentary. I knew he wasn’t well, but he was very courageous in his performance, and in making every effort to come home,” the Minister said, adding that the filming focused on Rock Steady.
She noted that the agreement reached with the film makers would have “far reaching impact” on Jamaica.
“For the first time, we have signed an agreement, where the country will benefit from a royalty arrangement that will be paid directly to Jamaica by the distributors of the film. We have ensured that we also have a right to the material and that we will be able to show it in Jamaica and the Caribbean,” Miss Grange advised. (JIS)