Before The Dawn Honor Lifts Spirits As The Gargamel’s Trial Resumes
Although Buju Banton was not able to attend the Grammy Awards ceremony yesterday in Los Angeles, the reggae star—who is still confined to Florida—celebrated his win to the fullest. A member of Buju’s security team was startled when he heard shouting from Buju’s hotel room in Tampa, where the artist faces jury selection in his second trial on drug charges today. “I thought something was wrong,” the guard told The Jamaica Observer. Instead he found out Buju had won the Grammy for Best Reggae Album.
The winning album Before The Dawn is a powerful, musically adventurous set of songs that were recorded in Jamaica before Buju’s December 2009 arrest. Yet cuts like “Innocent” and “Battered And Bruised” seem to anticipate the tribulations that lay ahead. He worked with producers over the phone to finish up the album during his custody. Although prosecutors were unable to prove their case—the judge declared a mistrial after the 12-person jury failed to reach a verdict—the man born Mark Myrie in 1973 is back in court again, having spent the past 14 months in custody. Buju and his defense team are surely hoping that this Before The Dawn Grammy win may be an omen that his darkest days are now behind him.
It was the Banton’s fifth nomination in the category, dating back to 1999 for his classic album Inna Heights. Buju Banton joins the ranks of such legendary artists as Black Uhuru, Jimmy Cliff, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Burning Spear, Toots & The Maytals, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Inner Circle, Steel Pulse, Yellowman, Shabba Ranks, Shaggy, Beenie Man, Sean Paul, Ziggy Marley, Stephen Marley, and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley—all of whom have been winners of the music industry’s highest accolade. “Winning this Grammy is an honor because it truly shows that my music has transcended a lot of borders and people are now paying attention to what I’m saying in-depth,” said Banton in an official Gargamel Records statement. “Music is an art form that cannot be denied by any living soul. Music is life. Many thanks to the Recording Academy for recognizing my work.”
Buju Banton “Try Life” featuring Gramps Morgan, “No Smoking” and “Battered & Bruised”—from the Grammy-winning album Before The Dawn: