Toronto, Canada: Toronto International Jamaica Day Festival (TIJD) announced recently that veteran reggae hit maker and label head Freddie McGregor and Jamaica's most prolific global tour manager, artist manager and reggae historian Copeland Forbes will both be honored for their outstanding contribution to the reggae music industry at a private reception to be held in New Kingston, Jamaica on Monday, June 20, 2011.
Known worldwide for his riveting reggae ballads, veteran reggae crooner Freddy McGregor began his musical journey in the 60's, under the musical direction of the legendary Coxone Dodd. He did his apprenticeship as lead vocalist of the Clarendonians and after the group split, he recorded his first big hit song “Why Did You Do It” with friend Ernest Wilson. In 1972 he formed the Generation Gap band, recording “Homeward Bound,” “Freedom” and “Justice & Equality” for producer Geoffrey Chung. McGregor eventually launched his solo career and has not looked back.
In 1983 he mined gold with “Big Ship” which broke into the top ten of the reggae charts in England and Jamaica. The success of “Big Ship” was the turning point of his career and catapulted him into the international spotlight. Since then he has amassed a catalogue of popular hits including “Push Come To Shove,” “Africa Here I Come,” “I Was Born A Winner,” “Let Them Try,” “Stop Loving You,” “Prophecy” and “So I Will Wait For You.” Freddie is also 'Captain' of the Big Ship record label, that has launched the careers of sons Chino, Stephen and daughter Shema. In over four decades in the industry, McGregor has received numerous accolades including an 'International Award of Merit' from the Canadian Reggae Music Award, a JAMI for the single Push Come To Shove, an award for 'Best International Artist' from the BBC Radio London Reggae Awards and numerous other international awards.
Freddie will receive "The Toronto International Jamaica Day Lifetime Achievement Award - 2011" for his outstanding achievement as an international hit maker, producer and captain of the Big Ship Label. "We acknowledge and applaud Freddie's phenomenal creative contribution and influence in the reggae arena" TIJD co-founder Cornel "Funkie" Davis noted.
Forbes, whose journey through the music industry started as a member of the group Harmonicats has served not just as our most experienced and esteemed tour manager but he has also serves as an unofficial ambassador of Jamaica, taking goodwill from the island to scores of countries around the globe. He has represented many of the top reggae acts in the genre including The Wailers, The Mighty Diamonds, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Black Uhuru, Sly and Robbie, Third World, Dennis Brown, U-Roy, Marcia Griffiths, Frankie Paul, Morgan Heritage, I-Threes, Luciano, Sizzla, Ziggy Marley, Andrew Tosh, Freddie McGregor, Beres Hammond, Chaka Demus and Pliers, Junior Reid, Sugar Minott, Mutabaruka, Half Pint and Maxi Priest. He is presumably the most travel person in the industry, regularly touring countries like England, Germany, France, USA, Guam, Greece, Australia, Chile, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Japan, South Africa, Israel and Cuba.
Since coordinating his first international tour in 1989, Copeland has managed tours for The Wailers Band, Toots & the Maytals, Bunny Wailer, Black Uhuru, Dennis Brown, Lt. Stitchie, Ernie Ranglin, Gregory Isaacs, I-Three, Freddie Mc Gregor, Beres Hammond, Mutabaruka, U-Roy, Chakademus & Pliers and Canadian singer Bonnie Casey, who recently returned from a successful tour of Australia. Forbes will release his autobiography titled "Reggae My Life Is" next year, on his 50th anniversary in the music industry. The highly anticipated book will chronicle his journey in the industry, while the launch will culminate with a major international tour that will make stops in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, US, European, Thailand and Canada.
Forbes will be presented with "The Toronto International Jamaica Day Legend Award," in appreciation of his distinguished service and outstanding contribution to Jamaica’s musical legacy.
"We applaud Copeland's leadership and selfless determination in promoting and showcasing Jamaica's powerful music, both locally and internationally" Davis said.
The TIJD Celebration is Toronto’s most colorful, vibrant and lavish celebration of the island’s hypnotic culture. This year’s festival date is Saturday July 23 and will take place at the thrilling, family oriented, Wild Water Kingdom at the Outdoor Festival Ground. A compelling package of vintage and contemporary reggae stars including Serani, veteran Festival Song Winner Eric Donaldson, Ernie Smith, Baby Cham, Denroy Morgan and his son, Elektra/ Atlantic recording artist Laza Morgan will provide the core of the day’s musical entertainment. This year's festival will also feature some of the top names in the gospel industry, including international stars - Peninsilyn (2001 Tastee/2003 & 2004 JCDC National Song Festival winner; Lubert Levy (2004 JCDC Gospel Festival Winner); New York award winners, Abigail Hamilton and Janet Lewis; Toronto's anointed Bishop John Taylor, Patrick Blair, Natalie Palmer and Insp. Lenny.