At the 58th Grammy awards, first-time nominee Jamaicaâ€™s Morgan Heritage won the Best Reggae Album with their â€œStrickly Rootsâ€. The album had topped the Billboard Reggae Album Chart when it was released last April. Jah Cureâ€™s â€œThe Cureâ€, Barrington Levyâ€™s â€œAcousticalevyâ€, Lucianoâ€™s â€œZion Awakeâ€, and Rocky Dawuniâ€™s â€œBranches of The Same Treeâ€ were also vying for the same award.
â€œWe are extremely proud,â€ said Lisa Hanna, then Jamaican Minister of Youth and Culture. She added that this win comes as the ministry is requesting that reggae be inscribed on the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organizationâ€™s representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritages of Humanity.
The Morgan Heritage band was formed in 1994 by five children of reggae artist Denroy Morgan, namely Peter â€œPeetahâ€ Morgan, Una Morgan, Roy â€œGrampsâ€ Morgan, Nakhamyah â€œLukesâ€ Morgan and Memmalatel â€œMr. Mojoâ€ Morgan. This marks their first nomination and first Grammy after 20 yearsÂ in the music business.
â€˜Strictly Rootsâ€™ features a wide variety of guest performers: platinum-selling pop/dancehall phenomenon, Shaggy; American reggae and R&B vocalist, J Boog; third generation ambassadors from the Morgan and Marley families, Jemere Morgan and Jo Mersa Marley; reggae sensation, Chronixx; rock, world and reggae band, Rebelution; and Bumble Bee from the American Grammy-nominated pop reggae band, SOJA.
Africaâ€™s RockyÂ Dawuni
Rocky Dawuni lost on his bid to become the first Afri- can to win the Best Reggae Album. He made historyÂ as the first Ghanaian to be nominated for a Grammy. The video (see on youtube) of the song â€œNairobiâ€, from Dawuniâ€™s acclaimed 2015 album, was filmed in Ken- yaâ€™s capitol as an ode toÂ this â€œbeautiful city in the sunâ€ and a plea for peace and celebration of shared destiny. The video captures a picturesque portrait of iconic and historic monuments of Nairobi as it explores the everyday life of the city.
Dawuni serves as a traveling minstrel. His signature â€œAfro Rootsâ€ sound is a mixture of Reggae, Afrobeat, Highlife and soul music.This also marks the first nomination for Jah Cure,Â and Barrington Levy. However, a lot of reggae fans were expecting Jah Cure to take home the coveted award for his latest body of work released in July 2015. The album returned to the number one spot on Billboard Reggae Album charts following the announcement of his Gram- my nomination in December of 2015, 26 weeks after the album made its debut at #1.
Since 1985 Jamaican artistes have been presented with the award more than any other nationality in the Grammyâ€™ history. Starting in 2000 the winners have been Beenie Manâ€˜s Art and Life (2001), Damian Mar- leyâ€˜s Halfway Tree (2002), Lee â€œScratchâ€ Perry Jamaican E.T. (2003), Sean Paulâ€™s Dutty Rock (2004), Toots & the Maytalsâ€™ True Love (2005), Damian Marleyâ€˜s Welcome to Jamrock (2006), Ziggy Marleyâ€˜s Love Is My Religion (2007), Stephen Marleyâ€˜s Mind Control (2008), Burning Spearâ€˜s Jah Is Real (2009), Stephen Marleyâ€˜s Mind Con- trol â€“ Acoustic (2010), Buju Bantonâ€˜s Before the Dawn (2011), Stephen Marleyâ€˜s Revelation Pt. 1 â€“ The Root of Life (2012), Jimmy Cliffâ€˜s Rebirth (2013), Ziggy Marleyâ€˜s In Concert (2014) and in 2015 with Fly Rasta.
Stephen Marley holds the record for the most winsÂ in this category, with six wins total (three times as a member of the band Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers). Similarly, Ziggy Marley has been presented the award four times total, three times as the leaderÂ of his eponymous band. Bunny Wailer has receivedÂ the award three times, and two-time recipients include Burning Spear, Damian Marley, and Shabba Ranks.