VP RECORDS PARTICIPATES IN 2015 NEW YORK HAKKA CONFERENCE
CELEBRATING CULTURES OF CHINESE DESCENT
ON OCTOBER 16-18, 2015
Opening Reception Honors The Hon. Byron Lee, O.J.,C.D. Byron Lee at
MOCA (the Museum of Chinese in America) This Friday
VP Records CEO Randy Chin Speaks at Panel on Sunday at
New York University
Reggae powerhouse label VP Records is proud to participate in this year’s New York HAKKA conference from Oct. 16-18. The annual conference, originally hosted in Toronto, aims to educate people of Chinese and Hakka-Chinese descent in retaining and adapting their traditional culture.
The conference’s opening reception, held at the MOCA (the Museum of Chinese in America) this Friday from 6-9pm, will honor the label’s longtime friend and late recording artist the Hon. Byron Lee, O.J.,C.D. Byron Lee. Lee was one of the most influential Caribbean music pioneers of all time. His daughter, Julianne Lee, will accept the Hakka Achievement Award on his behalf. To celebrate the Chinese-Jamaican icon, VP Records also recently released Byron Lee & The Dragonaires’ Uptown Top Ranking, a collection (available together for the first time) of 20 classics from the legendary Jamaican band consisting of rare gems and classic hits ranging in style and decade.
On Sun. Oct. 18th, 2015 at New York University’s Cantor Film Center, VP Records President Randy Chin, son of Chinese-Jamaican immigrants Vincent and Patricia Chin who originally found the record label, will join the Mastering Caribbean Music & Art panel discussion from 10:45am-12pm. From Trinidadian carnival/calypso to Jamaican reggae and dancehall, many producers and musicians of Chinese descendant have had a major influence and role in the Caribbean music. Reggae historian Sharon Gordon, Jamaican author Wayne Chen, and Byron Lee’s daughter Julianne Lee will also participate in the conversation.
The New York HAKKA Conference is open to general public as well as students and staff of New York University. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit http://www.nyhakkaconference.com
Randy Chin (born September 7, 1962) joined VP in 1996 and runs VP Records along with his brother Christopher and his sister Angela Chung. Founded originally in Kingston, Jamaica in 1957, the company today operates internationally with its headquarters in New York City, NY and satellite offices in Miami, Florida; London, England; Kingston, Jamaica; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Tokyo, Japan and Johannesburg, South Africa. VP Records has acquired the slogan, “Miles Ahead in Reggae Music” to signify that the company covers the full spectrum of music that derives from the Caribbean including reggae, lover’s rock, roots & culture, dub, dancehall, soca and more. The label has been home to world-renowned artists like Sean Paul, Elephant Man, Beres Hammond, Lady Saw, Gyptian, Bunji Garlin, Etana, Jah Cure, Mavado and many others. It became reggae’s preeminent label and publisher with the acquisition of Greensleeves Records & Publishing, London, UK in 2008. With the combined VP and Greensleeves music catalogs, Greensleeves Publishing has become the leading source for reggae music publishing worldwide. Since this acquisition, Randy has spearheaded the company’s operations into Live Events, Touring, new imprints — such as 17 North Parade and Dub Rockers — and VPAL, a global distribution network for many of the genre’s independent artists and labels. VP Records has been awarded Billboard’s “Best Independent Label” twice and the “Best Reggae Imprint Label” three times.
THE HON. BYRON LEE, O.J., C.D.
The Hon. Byron Lee, O.J.,C.D. was born in the Manchester region of Jamaica to a Chinese father and black mother. He was the founder and leader of The Dragonaires band. Byron Lee & The Dragonaires mastered multiple musical genres – including ska, rocksteady, soca and calypso. They played a role in bringing Caribbean music to the world. Originally formed in 1950, the band got their start performing at the island’s local hotels, also incorporating American pop and R&B covers in their repertoire. The band appealed to the uptown “middle class” crowd of Kingston, Jamaica and tourists visiting the area. In the early 1960s, they were one of the first major ska bands to break on an international level – landing an on-screen performance role in the first James Bond film Dr. No. In 1964, they received another boost when they were selected by the former Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga (then the island’s head of Social Welfare and Economic Development) to perform as a backing band for a showcase of Jamaican talent (including Jimmy Cliff, Prince Buster, and Millie Smalls) at the New York World’s Fair. After this success, Lee took the band in a new direction, incorporating calypso. They began performing regularly at Trinidad & Tobago’s carnival and also touring the Caribbean and North America. Lee also bought WIRL studios from Seaga and turned it into Dynamic Sounds Recording Company. Dynamic became a major hub for recording not only local talent like Toots & the Maytals and John Holt, but also international acts like Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Roberta Flack. Lee’s two sons, Edward Lee and Byron Lee Junior, took over much of the day-to-day running of Dynamic Sounds in the 1990s, and Byron Lee & The Dragonaires never stopped touring until he passed in 2008 after battling cancer. The same year, he was honored at Toronto Hakka Conference, so this will be his second award from the association.