A recording session at the Vineyard Town, St Andrew, Grafton Studios about three weeks ago could just put that extra pep in the step of Jamaican athletes as they represent the country in international competitions. Jamaica Big Band leader, trumpeter Sonny Bradshaw's arrangement of the Jamaican National Anthem (which goes into a reggae beat on the line "justice, truth be ours forever", the horns carrying the melody instead of a lead vocalist) was recorded by a team of top-flight musicians, saxophonist Dean Fraser handling the production.

Mikey Bennett of Grafton Studios, who describes himself as the facilitator of the recording, said, "There was a function that (broadcaster) Fae Ellington and myself had attended some time ago and it was performed. She said she had been trying to get Bradshaw to record it for some time."

National pride may have played a role in finally getting the recording done, as although Jamaica was outstanding in Beijing 2008 when the athletes stepped onto the podium, aurally, Jamaica did not stand out. Bennett pointed out that "at the last Olympics we were doing so well and almost all the anthems from over the world sounded like they were done in England. They did not reflect the ethnicities of the places the athletes came from". So, Bennett said, "We made a contract that by the next big thing we have, we will have another version of the anthem."

Next big thing

The logical 'next big thing' on the Jamaican sporting calendar is the track and field World Championships this summer, where Jamaica is expected to do very well. However, there have not been any formal discussions with the island's various sporting bodies.

Getting all the musicians together proved problematic logistically, so eventually "we just decided to do it". On the recording, Desi Jones plays drums, Dale Aslam is on bass and Maurice Gordon is the guitarist. The trumpeters are Dwight Richards, Vivian Scott, Everton 'Sting' Wray and Hopeton Williams. Dean Fraser, Everton Gayle, Tafawee 'Tafanie' Buchsaecab and Nicholas Larock play saxophone, while Barry Bailey, Nambo Robinson, Everton Pessoa and Romeo Grey are on trombone.

Creative work

Alvin 'Vinny' Haughton and Denver 'Denvo' Smith are the percussionists, while Romeo Gray is the recording and mixing engineer.

The Jamaica Information Service website says the anthem is the creative work of four persons: the late Rev Hugh Sherlock, the late Robert Lightbourne, the late Mapletoft Poulle and his wife, widow Allison Poulle.

Bennett sees this rendition of the National Anthem further imprinting Jamaican culture globally.

"With the impact Bolt had, we can just imagine the future impact a Jamaican anthem with some reggae would have," he said.

Source: Jamaica Gleaner
Author: Irish and Chin

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