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Despite half of this year’s recipients of Musgrave medals absence from Wednesday’s awards ceremony, it did little to diminish its significance.

Only four of this year’s eight recipients collected their medallions and certificates — gold medal recipient Professor Franklin Knight; silver medallists Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith and professor Michael Taylor and bronze recipient Dr Trevor Yee.

Top: Earl “Chinna” Smith being congratulated by his family. Bottom: The awardees present at this year Musgrave medal awards ceremony share a photo opportunity with Governor General Sir Patrick Allen (centre). From left: Dr Trevor Yee, Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith, Professor Franklin W Knight and Professor Michael Taylor.

The absentees were producer/artist Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry; artist Franklin Bernal and authors Marlon James and Dr Pamela Mordecai.

In keeping with tradition of the Musgrave presentation, the citations were impressive. But it was that of guitarist Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith that drew the wildest cheers from the audience inside the Institute of Jamaica’s Lecture Hall in downtown Kingston.

Smith was likened to guitar great Jimi Hendrix and hailed for his unapologetic commitment to reggae in its purest form. The presentation of the medallion to Smith by Dr Barbara Gloudon would also provide amusement as his flowing locks made it difficult to fit the clasp around the musician’s neck.

Following the ceremony, Smith son Jahmai, expressed pleasure at the recognition afforded to his father.

“It is so overwhelming. It has been such a long journey for him in the music… it’s so good that Jamaica appreciates his work and he is getting the recognition,” said the younger Smith, who is also involved in the music industry as a studio engineer and artiste who performs under the name Jah Jah.

— Richard Johnson

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