by Howard Campbell
SOUTH FLORIDA – Denver “JAMUSA” Silvera has “rocked” many dances as a PA system selector. He still has the thrill, 60 years after making his debut in his native Jamaica.
A pioneer of the South Florida reggae scene, jocular JAMUSA celebrates six decades in the music business on September 4 with an evening at the Gold Choice Ballroom in Margate.
JAMUSAhas been a broadcaster on WAVS 1170 AM since 1988. He will be joined by friends including singers Audley Rollen, Barry Biggs, Marcia Ball, Hal Anthony and Wayne Armond as well as sound system colleague Waggy T.
Known for his folksy ways, he is honored to have reached a milestone in a career that spanned dance and broadcasting arenas in Jamaica, New York and South Florida.
“How blessed I am that the Creator has supported me for so long. Very few of us in this line of work have lasted this long, so I give thanks every day. It’s a feeling of joy when you do something thing you like,” said JAMUSA, who cut his teeth on the famous Jamaican Jack Ruby Hi Fi in the 1960s.
This sound system belonged to Lawrence “Jack Ruby” Lindo, a flamboyant personality who produced Marcus Garvey, the epic Burning Spear album in 1976. Lindo is also the grandfather of pop star Sean Kingston.
A decade later, JAMUSA joined Mello Canary, one of Jamaica’s leading “sounds”. It remains his most successful period as a sound system selector.
He also made a name for himself on Caribbean radio in the Big Apple, where he emigrated in the late 1960s. He worked at WWRL, an R&B station that had a weekly reggae show that kept the community going. Jamaican growing up in the region in tune with the latest songs from his hometown.
It was while in South Florida with Mello Canary that JAMUSA decided to set up shop here. His first gig was at WAVS, then a Latin-owned brokerage station. He currently hosts the long time showMake tracks with JAMUSA.
The self-described “little country boy from Free Hill in St. Mary’s (East Jamaica Parish) commented on the changing face of Caribbean radio in South Florida.
“Times are changing and most so-called Disc Jockeys are not announcers. These street disc jockeys only remember that they have freedom of expression, but they forget that it also comes with responsibility. For me, reggae music is and should be soul upliftment, not music that demeans our people.