(New York, NY) – May 5, 2008, – International Soca Ambassador Machel Montano, took home top honors at the prestigious 27th Annual International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) held on May 4, 2008 at the World-Famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. Machel won “Entertainer of the Year”, “Best Calypso/Soca Entertainer” and “Most Outstanding Stage Personality”.

Top IRAWMA nominee Tarrus Riley, took home trophies for “Best Male Vocalist” and “Best Song-She is Royal”, while “Best Recording Artist” and “Best Male DJ/Rapper” titles went to Beenie Man. The Marley brothers, Stephen, Ky-Mani and Ziggy, sons of Reggae legend Bob Marley received IRAMWA nods. Stephen for “Best CD for “Mind Control” and “Songwriter of the Year”; Ky-Mani for “Producer’s Respect Award” and “Most Promising Entertainer”; and Ziggy received the “Marcus Garvey Humanitarian Award” for charitable efforts through his URGE organization. In addition, first-time IRAWMA nominee Sean Kingston earned two IRAWMA’s for “Best New Entertainer” and “Best Crossover Song- Beautiful Girls”.

International singer Billy Ocean(”Caribbean Queen”); Gospel artist Claudelle Clarke; pioneering recording engineer Errol Brown(Bob Marley) and UK Rock Steady crooner Winston Francis(”California Dreamin”) were inducted into the IRAWMA Hall of Fame. Ziggy Marley and Jay Z each received the Marcus Garvey Humanitarian Award for their charitable efforts. The Producer’s “Respect” Award went to Ky-Mani Marley. Herman Hall, publisher of Everybody’s Magazine; songstress Winsome Benjamin and Karl Rodney, publisher of Carib News each received the Award of Appreciation. Reggae legends Freddie McGregor and Dwight Pinkney, each took home the Award of Honor trophy.

International reggae superstar Shaggy tore the house down with the most outstanding performance of the night. Backed by Dean Fraser and the All-Stars, which includes members of Shaggy’s own band, Ky-Mani Marley floored the crowd with a memorable rendition of “Turn the Light’s Down Low”. Dancehall queens Macka Diamond, Ce’Cile, and D’Angel spiced up the night with their colorful, energy-packed songs while Etana and Jadine “The Soca Deva” each upheld the stage with electrifying sets. Other crowd-roaring performances were given by Tarrus Riley, Junior Reid, and Mutabaruka. The grand finale wrapped up the night with a full stage of nominees, performers, and fans crooning Bob Marley’s “One Love” and rocking to calypso song “Hot Hot Hot” with Machel Montano grabbing the mic to lead the crowd.

Entertainers walking the red carpet included: Grammy-winner Shaggy; stage and television actress Janet Hubert(“Fresh Prince of Bel Air”); Ky-Mani Marley, Tarrus Riley, Etana, Machel Montano, Macka Diamond, Lady G, Dean Fraser, D’Angel, Mutabaruka, Ce’Cile, Junior Reid, Shelia Hylton, Dwight Pickney, Camille McDonald among others.  In addition, Dr. Una S.T. Clarke, CD, Illinois Appellate Court Judge, Shelvin Louise Marie Hall and her sister, New York State Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Hall were also in attendance.

Each year, Reggae and World Music industry experts select the nominees for the IRAWMA. Ballots are made available online and at various newspapers, restaurants and record stores. Afterward music fans across the globe have the opportunity to vote for the winners. “One reason, the IRAWMA award is such a coveted trophy, is that winners are selected by Reggae and World music fans around the world,” says Ephraim Martin, founder and president of the IRAWMA.
Other winners included: Etana, “Best Female Vocalist”; Beenie Man, “Best Male/DJ Rapper”; Don Omar, “Best Reggaeton Entertainer”; Papa Wembe, “Best Soukous Entertainer”; the late Lucky Dube, “Best African Entertainer”; Shaggy, “Best Music Video for Church Heathen”; Mutabaruka, “Best Poet”; Buju Banton, “Most Educational Entertainer”; Freddie McGregor, “Most Consistent Entertainer”; Junior Reid, “Most Improved Entertainer”, among others. See attached “Winners List”.

Sponsors for the event included:  American Airlines, Carib News, JAMROCK Magazine/LinkUp Media, Carib News, Sam’s Caribbean Market Place/Sams24-7.com, Dr. Roland Rose-Ace Medical, Dennis Shipping, Atlas Vacations, Transcontinental Shippers, CVM-TV, D. Wilshire Tux Rental & Limousine Service, Robert Clark & Louis Grant-Irie Jam Media Promotion, Keeling Records, J & L Tax Consultants, NY Liberty Star Newspaper, Street Hype Newspaper, SARFM Radio, Ideal Health, Ras Benjamin/Jah Bobby–Eccentric Arts & Wares, Toni Haynes, Uptown Juice Bar/Cafe’ Veg in Harlem, Baba Roots-USA, Eye Collection Clothing, Dalhouse Productions, Bennett Bridal/Platinum World Class Limousine, American Academy of Physician Assistants, Junior Ewart-Ruff Stuff Studio , WP 88.7 FM and Sam Ash Music Stores.

WINNERS OF THE 27TH INTERNATIONAL REGGAE & WORLD MUSIC AWARDS (IRAWMA) A Martin’s International & Associates, LLC Event / Held at the Apollo Theater in NYC on May 04, 2008

1. Entertainer of the Year – Machel Montano
2. Recording Artist of the Year – Beenie Man
3. Best Male Vocalist – Tarrus Riley
4. Best Female Vocalist – Etana
5. Best Song – “She Is Royal”- Tarrus Riley
6. Best CD – “Mind Control”- Stephen Marley
7. Best Crossover Song - “Beautiful Girls”- Sean Kingston
8. Best Gospel Song - “Lava Ground”- Prodigal Son
9. Best Female D.J./Rapper – Queen Ifrika
10. Best Male D.J./Rapper – Beenie Man  
11. Best New Entertainer – Sean Kingston
12. Best Calypso/Soca Entertainer – Machel Montano
13. Best Reggaeton Entertainer – Don Omar
14. Best Latin Entertainer- Marc Anthony  
15. Best Compas Entertainer – Carimi
16. Best African Entertainer – Lucky Dube- Post Humous  
17. Best Soukous Entertainer- Papa Wembe  
18. Best Hip Hop/R&B Entertainer- Rihanna
19. Award for Outstanding Contribution to World Music – King Sunny Ade  
20. Most Outstanding Stage Personality – Machel Montano
21. Best Music Video – Shaggy “Church Heathen”
22. Best Poet- Mutabaruka
23. Most Educational Entertainer – Buju Banton
24. Most Outstanding Show Band– Morgan Heritage  
25. Most Consistent Entertainer – Freddie McGregor
26. Most Promising Entertainer – Ky-Mani Marley
27. Most Improved Entertainer – Junior Reid
28. Best Instrumentalist - Dean Fraser
29. Best Backing Band – Live Wyya
30. Most Popular Selector – Mighty Crown
31. Concert of the Year –- Reggae Sumfest
32. Promoter of the Year – Sumfest Production
33. Producer of the Year – Stephen McGregor
34. Songwriter of the Year – Stephen Marley
35. Selassie I Award for Spiritual Service through Music – Tony Rebel
36. Community Service Award – Capleton
37. Marcus Garvey Humanitarian Award- (a) Ziggy Marley, (b) Jay-Z
38. IRAWMA Hall of Fame– Inducted May 4, 2008- (a) Billy Ocean, (b) Claudelle Clarke, (c) Errol Brown, (d) Winston Francis
39. Martin’s International Award of Honor- Given May 4, 2008- (a) Freddy McGregor, (b) Dwight Pinkney
40.  Producer’s “Respect” Award- Given May 4, 2008– Ky-Mani Marley
41. Awards of Appreciation for Contributions to the Music Industry- (a) Herman Hall- Everybody’s Magazine, (b) Winsome Benjamin- Entertainer, (c) Karl Rodney- Carib News