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Pon Di Wire: “Irie” Dispute, Slang of the Year Award, Manley Inducted

Several reggae news outlets have reported that producer Cordell 'Skatta' Burrell was involved in a very serious car accident. Known for creating such riddims as Coolie Dance, Martial Arts, Chiney Gal, Bad Co., Burrell was driving his blue Subaru WRX when it went out of control and hit another vehicle parked near a taxi stand. Burrell is alleged to be alright, with injuries unknown at this time.

A nasty legal battle may be brewing between the recently launched, American-based Irie Jam Media Group’s IrieTV and Jamaica’s established Grove Broadcasting Corporation Limited, a.k.a IRIE FM. Both claim rights to the “irie” trademark name. The word “irie” means “to feel good,” “everything’s cool,” or “alright.” Irie Jam Media’s Bobby Clarke commented, “As far as I know ‘irie’ is a rasta term.”

But IRIE FM was in the news again this week, this time for positive reasons. The station will host the first annual IRIE FM Music Awards, slated for February 13, 2008. As reported by YardFlex, the IRIE FM Music Awards show is the brainchild of Ainsworth Higgins, popularly known as "Big A" and senior radio broadcaster at IRIE FM. The ceremony has a “people’s choice” feel to it, as evidenced in the show’s diverse awards categories, which include Slang of the Year (“Boom Bang,” “To di worl’,” Dance of the Year (including the Rum Ram and Drop Dead), Best Dressed Male and Female, Comeback Artist, Reggae Ambassador (Junior Gong nominated), etc. The Humanitarian award should raise some eyebrows with gay-protest target Capleton in the mix. Here in full are the nominees for Rhythm of the Year: Don Corleon’s Raging Bull, Arif Cooper’s Guardian Angel, H20 Productions’ Blue Tooth, Corleon’s Artillery, and Firelinks’ Airwaves.

The cure for Euro-pop artist angst seems to be “indulge in a dose of reggae.” Such has been the case with Sting, Keith Richards, Sinead O’Connor and now Amy Winehouse. Searching for pop and personal redemption, Winehouse is heading to Jamaica to channel the 'spirit of Bob Marley' into her music, according to the Gleaner. Winehouse reportedly told friends, "I want to stay where [Bob Marley] lived and hook up with Damian because he's a genius. I'm desperate to get over there."

Chart-topping singjay Mr. Vegas is coming to a college campus near you. His spring 2008 Mr. Vegas Campus Rave tour will hit numerous colleges throughout the United States, from New York to Atlanta, with IrieTV and promoters Irish & Chin providing support.

A digitally-remastered version of Buju Banton’s album Inna Heights has been released as a 10th Anniversary Edition. Originally released in November 1997, the new two-disc set includes three previously unreleased tracks from the time period: "Bad Boy," "Politics Time Again," and "Situations," featuring Morgan Heritage, as well as a DVD with 40 minutes of live footage from Reggae Sumfest 1996.

Dancehall and reggae DJs should check the Demo Room, a new digital promotion service from Black Lion Entertainment. Preview and download exclusive material from artists like Shaggy and Tarrus Riley.

On January 12 in Atlanta, GA, two-time Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley was inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame in a ceremony held at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. The late Prime Minister, who died in 1997, was the first Jamaican leader to receive the honor.

Pon Di Wire recommends the following upcoming US concerts:

Sunday, February 10: The Jamaica Vintage Festival, held at the Bergeon Rodeo Grounds in Davie, FL, features Coco Tea, Taurus Riley, Dean Fraser, Richie Stevens, Nadine Sutherland, Ken Booth, LUST (Luckie D, Thriller U, Singing Melody), and Tony Curtis, plus many more.

Saturday, February 16: The 2nd Annual Winter Reggae & Ska Fest at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, PA features Dub Is A Weapon and the King Django Band, Ruder Than You Plus, and Solomonic Sound with DJ Rob Paine and El Feco.

Monday, February 18: The 27th Annual Annual Tribute To The Reggae Legends 2008 (Honoring Lucky Dube), held at San Diego Sports Arena, features Alpha Blondy and the Solar System, Gregory Isaacs, Barrington Levy, Capleton, Sly & Robbie with the Taxi Gang (also backing Cherine Anderson, Queen Ifrica, and Martin Campbell), Gentleman, Don Carlos, and Midnite.

Pictured: Mr. Vegas, a flyer for the Jamaica Vintage Festival, and the cover of Buju Banton's Inna Heights.

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