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'Junior Gong' Scores Grammy Double

Marley son takes Best Reggae Album, Best Urban/ Alternative Performance in R&B category.

Two days after the 61st anniversary of his father's birth, Damian 'Junior Gong' Marley last night became the first Jamaican artiste to win two Grammy awards at the same show - the Best Reggae Album (Welcome To Jamrock) and Best Urban/Alternative Performance in the R&B category.

The youngest child of late reggae icon Bob Marley, Junior Gong, who won his first Grammy in 2001 with the album, Half Way Tree, is fast catching up with his older siblings, The Melody Makers, who were Grammy winners on three occasions - 1988, 1989 and 1997.

Jamaican reggae luminaries Third World, Burning Spear, Sean Paul and Shaggy were the other nominees in the Best Reggae Album category this year.

When Welcome To Jamrock erupted onto the airwaves last Summer and blew apart many of the other commercial musical offerings available today, it became clear that the young Marley had another winner on his hands.

"The accelerated release date of Damian Marley's third CD is owed to the tremendous response his Welcome To Jamrock single has received on urban radio," wrote New York-based journalist Pat Meschino.

The album is also another winner for Junior Gong's older brother Stephen Marley, who audaciously weaves his production wizardry around a diversified mix of hip hop, R&B and even rock 'n' roll beats to create the set now being judged as the finest reggae album for 2005.

An unapologetic essay of the poverty and political violence ravaging his beloved homeland, Welcome To Jamrock is a forceful album with a classic reggae sensibility at its core.

At the official launch of the album in September last year, University of the West Indies lecturer Dr Clinton Hutton asserted: "We are not here because Junior Gong is the son of the reggae king of the world, but because Junior Gong's talent cannot be disputed. If one time you could seh him trying a thing because of his father, you cannot say that now."

The young entertainer, who has been described as reggae heir apparent, has been honing his skills for some time. He made his mark early with 1996's Mr Marley, and his major label debut set, Half Way Tree, showcased a unique gift for blending hard-hitting reality themes with an uncommon style of eclectic musicality.





Source: Basil Walters, Observer




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