Winston ‘Merritone’ Blake, Jeff Barnes, Rene Cogle to be honored in NYC

New York – Jamaican born, international songwriter Renford ‘Rene’ Cogle, musicologist Winston ‘Merritone’ Blake and radio jock Jeff Barnes are among the ‘Icons’ who will be honored at the 4 th Annual “Icons of Soul” – the awards edition – which takes place on Saturday, December 15th 2007 at Carib New York, New Rochelle, NY.

In a musical career that spans over thirty years, master lyricist Renford Cogle has garnered international notoriety, penning songs like “Sweet Sensation,” which was written for the late Brent Dowe and became a worldwide hit for British group, UB 40. The song was also featured in the movie soundtrack for “Harder They Come” and “The East Enders.”

“Rivers of Babylon” which was also penned for Brent Dowe was re-recorded by Euro-Disco group Boney M. The song sold millions of copies worldwide and became the second-biggest selling single in U.K. chart history. The late Delroy Wilson recorded three of Cogle’s songs – “You Lonely Days,” “Any Heart Can Be Broken” and “You Keep On Running.” “You Keep On Running” was Wilson’s first #1 hit song.

The humble songwriter has over the years churned out songs for gifted crooners like Marcia Griffiths, Dennis Brown, Cynthia Schloss, Sharon Black, Sanchez, Jimmy London, Eddie Lovett, Leroy Sibbles and Mikey Spice. Earlier this year he penned a New York top ten song – “Can You Feel It” – for US based reggae singer Avis ‘Singing RN’ Williams.

The legendary Winston Blake has for more than fifty years made an impact on the Jamaican music industry as sound system operator, club owner and organizer of the popular Merritone Amateur Talent contest.

“Many people may not even be aware that the Merritone Amateur Talent contest was where acts like Beres Hammond, The Mighty Diamonds, Cynthia Schloss, Sugar Minott and even Jacob ‘Killer’ Miller got their break in the reggae industry” said Mikey Sterling, co-producer of the “Icons of Soul” event.

Ten years ago Blake was given The Order of Distinction, Officer Class for his contribution to Jamaica ‘s entertainment industry.

Jeff Barnes, an accomplished attorney in New York is a veteran radio broadcaster and sound system selector who has built a huge following in the tri-state area. Other awardees include sound selectors Rory, DJ Carlton, Jah Wise, Super Claude and Glamour Wayne who have all left their indelible mark on the industry.

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