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IRAWMA goes prime time

NEW categories are coming for the 2020 staging of the International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA), which is set for March 29 at the AC Hotel Kingston, under the theme Reggae Rise.

Event conceptualiser Ephraim Martin shared this information with the Jamaica Observer during a telephone interview from his Chicago base in the USA, yesterday.

Martin said following last year's staging in Jamaica, the response has been tremendous with many calling for the event to remain here. He, however, did not share the details of the new categories, but noted they were in keeping with the growth and development of the popular awards show which is now in its 38th year.

The details of these new categories will, Martin explained, be made public at the official launch of the 2020 ceremony which is set for January 28 in Kingston, where the nominees for the show will be announced.

Meanwhile, Martin also disclosed that IRAWMA is set to get an additional boost as the 2019 staging of the show is set to be broadcast on an affiliate of the American television network CBS in Chicago and other markets of the American Midwest on December 15.

“This is a really big deal for us as there are a lot of possibilities that can result from this broadcast. The objective is to brand Jamaica's music and culture and focus on where reggae music comes from.

The truth is there are a lot of people who love the music but are still not familiar with the home of the music, so we want to shine the spotlight on Jamaica and that's what this broadcast should do. I would conservatively say about 100,000 persons should view this on CBS, but well over one million persons have already viewed various clips and segments of the show on our social media platforms,” Martin told the Observer.

In the meantime, nominations are now open to reggae and world music industry members and others contributing to the entertainment industry. The ballot is currently available online on the official IRAWMA website, and will remain there until January 20, for these preliminary nominations.

Immediately after the announcement of the nominees on January 28, online voting will be opened to the public to select winners in several competitive categories. Voters will also have the option to mail in the voting ballot.

This year's winners included: Chronixx (Most Cultural and Educational Entertainer and Best Male Vocalist); Morgan Heritage (Outstanding Show Band/Group); Freddie McGregor (Most Consistent Entertainer); Spice (Female Dancehall Artiste of the Year); and Capleton (Reggae Culture Legend).

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