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Handful of plans for Studio One

ON THE first anniversary of Clement 'Sir Coxsone' Dodd's death, plans were announced for the development of the Studio One legacy at the famous 13 Brentford Road address.

The plans are separate from the hands-on, day-to-day runnings of the record label and studio and cover areas as disparate as education and a sculpture.

Chief among the five-pronged approach is the formation of a Sir Coxsone Dodd Foundation to enhance and perpetuate the image of the Jamaican music pioneer. Host of Wednesday afternoon's function, Bunny Goodison, said that among the people already approached to be a part of running the Foundation are himself, Barbara Gloudon, Clement Dodd's widow, Norma, and Finance Minister, Omar Davies.

"A museum on the premises (13 Brentford Road) was always his wish, a Studio One Museum. We have the space, we have the items and we are going to search for others," Goodison said, noting that things like early sound-system boxes and amplifiers will be among the items in the museum.


Two of the five objectives were realised on the spot on Wednesday, as donations were handed over by Norma Dodd in support of the Alpha Boys' School, as well as to support a three-year scholarship at the School of Music, Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. The scholarship funding which will go towards a music teacher, was accepted by the college's student liaison officer, Claudia Taylor. Sister Susan collected on behalf of Alpha, from where Norma Dodd noted, most of the musicians who played for her late husband came.

The fifth of the handful of objectives is getting the government to fulfill its promise of putting up a sculpted bust of Clement Dodd at Studio One, a promise that Goodison said was given in writing.

The importance of preserving the history that surrounds Studio One was emphasised by University of the West Indies (UWI) lecturer Dr. Michael Witter, who, in a wide-ranging address, said "It is important to document the work of Mr. Dodd, to develop it and continue the creative stream that Mr. Dodd started."

To do just that, Dr. Witter plans a research project, but "not the typical one where somebody sits in a dimly-lit room and writes something for him and him frien'." Instead, it will be an interactive affair that must train students. And the link between the now and the then must also be made, Witter said "It should be documented how many popular dancehall rhythms today came from Studio One."

"We need to establish as a branch of history, the history of music as a legitimate form," Witter said.


And it is not only a history of music, as Witter noted that the story of Studio One is also a story of business, as Dodd converted his migrant labour into what is now known as 'intellectual property', this in a country where the vast majority of people were and are without land property.

He ended by pointing out that the research project is an ongoing process that "involves a lot of people over a long period of time".

Barbara Gloudon was sharp and direct, tackling the state of some singing ("We can't continue with this group of bad singers") as well as the destruction of Kingston landmarks in the effort to restore the city. "There are plans to develop Kingston, but they will not ask people who know the history anything about it," she said.

Mentioning places such as Champion House and where sound-system pioneer Tom the Great Sebastian used to set up, Ms. Gloudon tied in entertainment with social norms and standards.

"What was the importance of Carib as a social landmark? You had to wear a jacket and a tie and your woman used to have to look decent," Gloudon said, to applause.

"If you look at the music made in Mr. Dodd's time, there was no need to sing about 'unda gal', because we never used to live so. There were songs that were subtle in their sexuality," she said.

"Nothing no wrong with returning standards to Jamaica."

- The Gleaner 06/05/2005

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