Written by 11:36 am Music

Case made for clean music


Errol “Monte” Blake of Merritone sound system is flanked by (from left) Glen “Titus” Campbell, Mikey Thompson, Ricky Clarke, and Craig Ross at Tuesday’s launch of the thirty second Merritone Reunion & Family Homecoming held on the Edward Seaga Suite on the grounds of Devon House in St Andrew. (Photos: Garfield Robinson)

Every week after the Broadcasting Commission issued a ban on music promoting lottery scamming, use of the illicit drug Molly, and illegal guns, Errol “Monte” Blake, principal of the Merritone sound system, and Zachary Harding — producer and chairman of Delta Capital Partners Limited — are endorsing the move.

This got here to the forefront on Tuesday on the launch of the thirty second Merritone Reunion & Family Homecoming held on the Edward Seaga Suite on the grounds of Devon House in St Andrew.

“Everybody has their very own thing. I do not think it should stop the music from going but you’ve to have some control over what’s played on the radio. You may’t let it let out; you’ve to have regulation. I do not play that kinda music, but I comprehend it’s popular amongst the youngsters. You will have to watch out with the children,” Blake told the Jamaica Observer shortly after the ceremony.

The Broadcasting Commission issued a directive to operators of electronic media to ban, with immediate effect:

“any audio or video recording, live song, or speech which promotes and/or glorifies scamming, illegal use or abuse of medicine (eg Molly), illegal or harmful use of guns or other offensive weapons, ‘jungle justice’, or another type of illegal or criminal activity;

“any edited song which directly or not directly promotes scamming, illegal drugs, illegal or harmful use of guns or other offensive weapons, jungle justice, or any type of illegal or criminal activity. This includes live editing and original edits (eg edits by producer/label) in addition to the usage of near-sounding words as substitutes for offensive lyrics, expletives, or profanities.”

Blake further said that musicians must be cognisant of the indisputable fact that singing substantial lyrics has a greater probability at longevity.

“You will have to sing music that shouldn’t be just disposable, but music that’s lasting…good music never gets old and that is why a lot of the older dances that you’ve still exist. As my brother at all times says, good music is made on a regular basis; it’s just not being played,” he said.

Blake, the youngest of 4 brothers who manned the Merritone ‘sound’ for the reason that Nineteen Fifties, heads the list of selectors.

Winston, second of the siblings, was the face of Merritone which his father Val began in 1950 of their native St Thomas. He and older brother Trevor took control of the sound system after their father died in 1956 and transformed it from a rustic ‘sound’ to world renown.

Tyrone Blake, the third of the brothers, died in 2012.

Meanwhile, in his address because the keynote speaker at Tuesday’s function, Zachary Harding fully endorsed the Broadcasting Commission, citing a dire need for regulation within the Jamaican society.

“It [music] has profound impact. This has nothing to do with censorship and freedom of speech. I get all of that—that is effective. But, free speech becomes very expensive when it starts to cost people their lives. We just have a responsibility to guide people morally with some type of compass,” he said.

Harding further said that a continuous output of violent lyrics will impact children extra time.

“Yeah, they’ll sing two bad man song and two scamming songs…great! But we will not be promoting that frequently. Kids don’t necessarily have the filter to give you the option to distinguish and understand [that] that is just creativity. They’ll take it to heart or it becomes a sell fulfilling prophecy so we have now to be very careful,” he continued.

Harding is the co-founder of two Hard Productions, credited for his or her work on Sean Paul’s Dutty Rock album, No Shame by Bounty Killer, Harry Toddler’s Drained Fi See Mi Face, Ce’Cile and Merciless’ We Nah Talk and Beenie Man’s Who Am I (Sim Simma).

— Kediesha Perry

Monte Blake and his daughter Monique (right) present a branded T-shirt to Entertainment and Culture Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange.
Fab 5’s Frankie Campbell, chairman of the Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes and Affiliates (JAVAA), speak with Zachary Harding, producer and chairman of Delta Capital Partners Limited, at Tuesday’s launch.
Valia Espeut, a guest at Tuesday’s launch, having fun with the music of Merritone sound system

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