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Pon Di Wire: Reggae Films, Awards Gossip, Last UK Cup Clash, Handicap Dancehall

First Raging Bull then Bob Marley? Martin Scorsese and the family of Bob Marley have begun production on an authorized documentary film on the life, legacy, and global impact reggae’s king. Tuff Gong Pictures and Scorsese’s Shangri-La Entertainment will produce the film, which is to be released globally on February 6, 2010, the 65th anniversary of Marley's birth.

Louder Than Words is the forthcoming documentary produced by Wake The Town And Tell The People author Norman Stolzoff. The dancehall-focused film examines Jamaican dancehall music and culture from its origins to the present. The life and career of Ricky Trooper, of Killamanjaro and Sound Trooper, is featured throughout the 80-minute documentary; no release date has been set.

Looks like another sound clash event will bow out this year. The 7th Annual UK Cup Clash, to be held April 5 at The Stratford Rex in London, will be the event’s final staging. Entitled The Final Conflict, the clash will feature Killamanjaro, Bass Odyssey, Mighty Crown, and other top sounds.

The Reggae Academy Awards were held February 24 in Kingston, with live performances and awards delivered by Buju Banton, Cherine Anderson, Morgan Heritage, Marcia Griffiths, Tarrus Riley, and others. OutARoad has posted an excellent picture gallery from the event, with plenty eye-popping “red-carpet” attires. A complete list of the award winners is now available, with sees Tarrus Riley winning for Best Solo Male Vocal Performance, Breakthrough Artist, Best Video, and Best Recording. Busy Signal won for Solo Male Dancehall Vocal Performance; Stephen McGregor won Best Dancehall Riddim and compilation, while Beenie Man easily took the Most Popular Artist category. Special awardees included Chris Blackwell as Reggae Trailblazer Award and Ernest Ranglin for the Reggae Legend Award.

Not everyone was pleased with the selections, most notably dancehall publicist Ray Alexander, who thought authentic dancehall music was dissed at the event. Alexander told the Jamaican Star, "I think it was a total disrespect to dancehall, because what I saw, it showed a bias in all forms, the nominees, the categories and the performances itself where they had reggae artists perform with bands and the dancehall artists perform on tracks, which made [the dancehall performances] look weak."

Burning Spear celebrated his earthdate on March 1. Winston 'Burning Spear' Rodney has been in the studio finalizing his next studio album, Jah Is Real, to be released summer 2008 on Burning Music Productions label. Joining him in the studio, performing on several of the album tracks, were Parliament Funkadelic legends bassist Bootsy Collins and keyboard maestro Bernie Worrell.

A new dancehall dance, in which people mimic the disabled, is being roundly criticized by disabled rights groups and others. The dance, called The Handicap, sees dancers pretend as if they have a deformed hand, bent at the wrist and elbow, bowed knees and with the head leaned to one side; the tongue may stick out during the process. The Star claims that a dancer named Dyema from the Attitude Girls is dance’s originator. Disability rights advocate Valerie Spence at the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) says she is disappointed. "Obviously whoever does [this dance] has a serious problem. If somebody is going to use a person's disability as a dance that person is backwards.”

Pon Di Wire is feeling One876’s top ten video countdown. Viewers can watch music videos of Jamaica’s top singles by Vybz Kartel, Anthony B, Busy Signal, Mavado, RDX, and more, counted down with additional commentary.

Following a recent movement spurred by Tanya Stephens, Queen Ifrica, and other female artists writing about previously taboo subjects, Lady Saw (pictured above) has penned a song dealing with rape after a conversation with a young victim, which in turn stirred her own intense reflections. "When I was writing the song I cried. I cried because some of her experiences were my own,” Saw told Jamaica Observer’s Roland Henry, "I feared the song, I was afraid to tell my story, I was like 'No, it going to cause too much attention'. I called Sly & Robbie (producers of the track) and said delete it, but they told me the words were too powerful and that somebody who's hurting needs to hear it."

Roots reggae singer Bushman has released his first fully independent album. The 15-track Get It In Your Mind is now available on his own Burning Bushes Music.

Germany’s Rootdown label, known for 2005’s successful Crystal Woman riddim, is back with its latest creation, the I-Love. Featured artists for the 7” and download releases include Luciano, Anthony B, Million Styles, Ginjsh, and Natural Black.

Classical reggae in Florida? You heard right, as John Holt and Freddy McGregor join the Reggae Symphony Orchestra on April 20 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Ft. Lauderdale. The two reggae vocal icons are backed by Lloyd Parkes and We The People Band along with the 17-piece New York Symphony Orchestra.

LA’s weekly reggae party Dub Club, at The Echo-Plex in Los Angeles, has an impressive lineup over the next several months:
Wednesday March 12–Mad Professor & The Ariwa Posse
April 2–Don Carlos
April 18–Half Pint & The Yellow Wall Dub Band
June 18–David Rodigan
Friday June 27–Pat Kelly & Stranger Cole.

Each night features resident DJs Tom Chasteen, Roy Corduroy, Dungeonmaster, and Boss Harmony.

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