Awards honour local musicians

Musicians and supporters were honoured for their artistic
contributions at the Cayman Music and Entertainment Association’s third annual
Muzaic awards ceremony on Sunday, 26 December.

The evening was a time to “honour those who have
contributed to blazing a trail and whose hard work in establishing and
maintaining a forward push on the foundation laid in the past has helped to
move music forward in the Cayman Islands,” said CMEA President Jean Eric Smith.

Receiving awards for their service on the occasion were
Big J for regional success. The dancehall artist also known as the lyrical
soldier has had success not only in Grand Cayman, but also in Jamaica. Big J
has recorded with notable artists from our island neighbour, including Fanton
Mojah and most recently, Chuck Fender. He has also released videos that have
received rotation on various TV programmes and has opened for and performed
with a long list of international reggae artists.

“I am the lyrical
soldier not simply because it sounds good to say, but the music business is a
war and it is not easy,” said the DJ, who added that he was humbled to receive
such recognition from his peers and that he is determined to continue his

Attorney Steve McField received a special award for his
role as the association’s attorney, a service he has provided pro bono since
the organisation’s inception in 1981. He joked that, “You are not truly
educated until you learn to play an instrument or speak a language” adding that
though his legal work on behalf of the CMEA is at no charge, he would be
honoured if someone in the association could teach him to play the guitar.

Other award recipients included The iZ, a group of young
Caymanians who have had international success with their new LP Beach Club,
which became a massive hit in Japan. The group’s founder, who is also a
producer signed with EMI publishing, was recently nominated for two Grammy
awards for a song he wrote and produced on rapper Eminem’s latest album.

Upon receiving their award for international success, the
members of the group took turns paying
homage to their older counterparts who had paved the way for them to take up
the mantle and continue the efforts of taking Cayman and its musicians into the
international arena. The group also singled out Charles Gregory of Hopscotch
Studios who has worked tirelessly with The iZ and allowed them the use of his
studio to hone their skills and develop their sound.  

The award for young musician of the year went to Yanik
Powell, a saxophonist with Bona Fide, a homegrown ensemble that has been busy
entertaining audiences all over the Cayman Islands and has recorded songs that
are frequently heard on radio.

Those who have
contributed more than 30 years of service to the music industry in the Cayman
Islands were also honoured, including Pappi Connolly, Melvin Augustine, Henry
Leslie, Edlyn Myles, Richard Terry, Fran McKonvy and Philip Smiley Bodden.

The Premier award, which was awarded at last year’s Jazz
Fest, was given to Barefoot Man, Andy Martin and Philip Smiley Bodden.

Mr. Bodden reminded everyone that their attitude toward
their instrument should not be one of pride but rather humility, as the former
could easily work to stunt one’s growth, while humility only means that there
is always room for improvement.

Highlights from the
evening included performances by Hi Tide, Absolut Joy and K-man-son, who
entertained the crowd in between awards.


The Iz

The iZ were among the musicians who were honoured.