Negril — the tenth track on Burning Spear’s Grammy-nominated album No Destroyer, in which he pours adoration on the resort town — is being celebrated by the Negril Chamber of Commerce and the Entertainment Association as another big win for the live Reggae mecca.
Burning Spear’s song, in which he recounts personal memories of the Capital of Casual, was co-written with his wife and is among a slew of songs about the resort town, the biggest of which include General Trees’s Gone a Negril and Tyrone Taylor’s Cottage in Negril.
The song’s lyrics speak to Negril as a place people can visit to “freshen dem soul” and highlight his time spent frolicking at The Caves, a luxury resort on West End.
President of the NCoC Elaine Bradley, in expressing congratulations on the St. Ann native’s Grammy nomination, said the song was “good for Negril” and ought to be used by the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) as the soundtrack for an advertising campaign for Jamaica’s westernmost town, which straddles the parishes of Hanover and Westmoreland.
“I think the song should go on the JTB’s advert for bringing people into Jamaica, and especially,” Bradley told DancehallMag.
“I would love to see Burning Spear back down in Negril. The thing is, I don’t know what the young people though. But a lot of us older heads and returning residents and thing, we would welcome Burning Spear with open arms. And a lot of us in the chamber are more mature and so we would know and would make sure that you are welcome in Negril,” she explained.
Last week, in response to a question about performing in Jamaica, Burning Spear stated his readiness to perform wherever his fans desired.
“I man love Jamaica 🇯🇲 still waiting on my fans,” Spear told DancehallMag. “If they say Spear come to Jamaica to perform, then I will. To I man, it’s about my fans. I will go where they want I man to go universally and respectfully.”
The NCoC president had a direct message for Burning Spear.
“I am so glad that you are highlighting Negril. Negril is my favourite place as well. And we would like you to come to Negril; I am inviting you to come to Negril, because that song could sell Negril more than it’s sold already. And I am hoping you will come when you receive the Grammy and literally present it to us to look at, at least, or hold, so that we can celebrate with you. So congratulations again. This is good for Negril,” she said.
In the meantime, Bradley said that based on Burning Spear’s affinity towards Negril, any effort being made to get the Reggae legend to perform in the resort town would be fully supported by the Chamber.
“For me, as a returning resident coming back to Negril, and other returning residents, they would love to go and see him, so I think he should come back and do a tour… If he is coming to do a tour, we would want to make sure his stay is in Negril and then he can tour the island from here. We would make sure to facilitate him at either one of the smaller properties or the larger ones, so he can back to his roots, his favourite place on earth,” she said.
Sophie Grizzle Roumel, NCoC director and operator of the Charela Inn, said that Burning Spear’s Negril track is befitting, as the resort town is the place where live Reggae was internationally rooted.
“What’s wonderful is he highlights what’s so special about Negril. And is gonna help us to show people around the world that Reggae is still strong; it hasn’t gone anywhere, and Negril is one of the original homes (of Reggae). We have been having Reggae shows for ages and this is what initially attracted the first tourists – the Hippies. It was Reggae that kind of held them here and the people and everything, so this is wonderful. For me, its almost like going back in time and reliving what it was like in the 70s and 80s in Negril. I am so thrilled that he has written this song, and its gonna do so, so well,” she predicted.
“The chamber doesn’t do entertainment; we advocate for great things for Negril, so I would leave that up to the people who do the big entertainment shows, but I know Negril would be absolutely thrilled to have him and if we can get it arranged, that would be wonderful,” she added.
Burning Spear had said in a recent interview that the song Negril was written to reflect on the leisurely, fun days he has had, especially on Negril’s West End.
“Me and my wife been going to Negril way before Negril developed, you know? And the way it were at that time, I see a lot of things by going back and forth to Negril and a lot of those things turn itself into lyrics. So at that time it was fun. You go to Negril, you just want to hang out for days, you know, for it was just so ital, you know, natural,” he had said in an interview with Root Fire.
President of the Negril Entertainment Association, Ryan Morrison, also suggested that Burning Spear be selected as the headline act at the Entertainment Ministry’s Negril leg of the Reggae Month concert series in February.
“Any record that brings Negril to the forefront is a good record. It can be used in any marketing campaign… they probably need to come down here and do a show. It is only fitting that we can do a celebration of the song down here for the Grammy Awards,” Morrison said.
“Maybe what we can do for Reggae Month is a show down her to commemorate his contribution to Reggae and that he paid homage to Negril. It would be more than fitting for the Reggae Month for Buring Spear to be down here to put that song out there. I think that would be something to look forward to,” he added.
For his part, Anthony Able, operator of the Negril Vinyl Record Shop, expressed excitement at the thought of the Marcus Garvey artist coming to Negril to perform.
“Yuh si Burning Spear, dem man deh is a real general, icon for the business. Suh right now, fi a man like dis, an icon do a song for Negril, is a big upliftment for Neril and tourism… A lot of people love Burning Spear, especially Europeans, internationally. I would love to meet him in Negril,” Able said.