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Sonia Pottinger – a true Jamaican musical heroine

On the heels of National Heroes Day, Jamaica’s renowned female music producer, Sonia Pottinger, OD, triumphed in the Supreme Court, which ruled on Wednesday that she is the rightful owner of the famed Treasure Isle record catalogue.

The highest court of the land was convinced that this collection of recorded music, one of the richest in Jamaica’s history, originally belonging to legendary producer Arthur Stanley ‘Duke’ Reid, was sold to her in 1975. The Honourable Justice E Brown dismissed other claims to the contrary, including that of Anthony Reid, son of the late Duke Reid, as well as that of other notable producers.

Given that legal victory, one cannot help but ponder just what message Pottinger was sending when she named the various labels she created as SEP (Sonia E Pottinger), Gayfeet, High Note and Glory Records.

The grand dame of Jamaican music who in February was honoured at the Excellence in Music, and Entertainment (EME) Awards, has been experiencing success since she opened her Tip Top Records Shop in 1965.

From that year, the widow of the late Lyndon Pottinger – himself a record producer – was the matriarch of the local music industry until the mid-1980s. During the rocksteady to early Reggae periods she produced music for some of reggae’s finest artistes beginning with her release of Every Night by the duo, Joe White and Chuck.

For Yesterday’s Notes, that marked the start of Sonia Pottinger’s prolific era of hits that gave us gayfeet (for dancing) such as The Whip by the Ethiopians, Delano Stewart and the Melodians’ Swing And Dine, as well as a slew of others from Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis, Marcia Griffiths, Phyllis Dillon, Culture, Bob Andy, U Roy, Big Youth and Toots and the Maytals.

Almost on the eve of her victory in the Supreme Court, this ‘musical heroine’ struck a high note when she landed an online distribution deal with the US-based Independent Online Distribution Alliance (IODA). The deal will see her musical treasures being distributed worldwide distribution through IODA’s network of digital retail outlets, mobile retailers and subscription services.

This will pave the way for more glory to Sonia E Pottinger as under the three-tier agreement, IODA will distribute the songs through Notable Music which represents her own High Note and Treasure Isle Records.

As early as next year, Notable Music will re-release her entire catalogue of Tip Top reggae music. What a glorious reward for Jamaica’s first female record producer.

Basil Walters

source : jamaicaobserver.com

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