Golden Achievement for Shadow
By Terry Joseph
November 26, 2003
FESTIVAL songster Iwer last Thursday night walked away with the two most coveted trophies of the Copyright Organisation's Music Awards, held at Queen's Hall.
Iwer, almost unrecognizable after ditching trademark American basketball wear for grey business suit, received from President George Maxwell Richards awards for songwriter of the year 2002 ("Gimme a Bligh") and song of the year 2002 for "Trinidad", which was recorded by his brother Naya. Iwer mostly thanked God, saying he would release a gospel song in 2004 in further appreciation of his source.
Shadow received the song writer of the year award for "Stranger" (2001) and the golden achievement plaque for "Bassman", a song he first rendered in 1974 and which became that year's road march.
As the awards presentation opened, COTT president Christophe Grant, himself a prolific composer (Nah Leavin", "Voices from the Ghetto"), explained the basis of selection, saying radio rotation and party DJ spins were the measure and emphasizing that awards were not intended as any kind of value judgment of the works.
Guests were greeted by a foyer performance from the Rio Suave parang group, we saw the Metamorphosis Dance Company open, then heard an interlude from JMC Triveni; even before the first award (parang composer of the year) was handed to Jennifer Ann Mac Pherson for "Anda Paranda".
Christine and Zo-Marie Tanker received the jazz/world music trophy on behalf of (the late) Andre Tanker for "Wild Indian Band". The curtain rose once again, bringing Triveni into the lights behind chutney stars Devanand Gatoo and Adesh Yankarran copping the chutney songwriter award for "Bhatarwa Khojay'Mousie".
Derek "Dawg E Slaughter" Perreira took home the raga-soca plaque ("Tic Toc") and Brother Resistance received the rapso equivalent for "Bread Dat De Devil Knead", before gospel singer Sherwin Gardener entertained; the award in that category going to Lyndon Sterling for "Hallelujah".
COTT CEO Allison Demas, resplendent in tomato red dress trimmed with gold, presented Hilton Trinidad with the treasured licensee award, a tribute to the entity who consistently paid license fees punctually and without prompt.
More live entertainment came from Len "Boogsie" Sharpe, who played "Music in We Blood" in tribute to (the late) Arnim Smith before receiving as steelpan composer of the year for the song "Prayer for Pan", Imij & Co was up next, backing a performance by Iwer. It was now Sanelle Dempster's turn to be declared female songwriter of the year for the song "Chances".
Earl Crosby's E&E Publishing was named publisher of the year (2001) for "Rain Melody", that award received by Nikki Crosby and Imij returned to back Sparrow.
Paul Rodney la Blanc (Benjai) was awarded as best new songwriter in 2002 for "Over and Over", the publisher's trophy for that year again going to Crosby, this time for "My Dulahin". Imij, who also did a stirring tribute to Tanker, closed the show with a succession of soca jams.
All in all, the COTT Music Awards was a tightly knit event, but could have used a couple of techno-tricks, which would have afforded patrons the opportunity of at least hearing clips of the songs for which winners received awards or, better still, short video images of relevant performances.