The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange has expressed sorrow at the passing of the Jamaican reggae/dancehall artiste Frankie Paul (Paul Blake).
The Minister said that although she was aware of Paul’s recent illness, his death came as a surprise this morning. Frankie Paul had been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the University Hospital of the West Indies since April.
Minister Grange recalled Frankie Paul’s contribution to the music since the 1980s, and the inspiration he had become to people with disabilities, especially the blind and the visually impaired.
Minister Grange said: “Frankie Paul was an extremely talented artiste and musical genius whose skills earned him the title of ‘Jamaica’s Stevie Wonder’ due to his visual impairment, his vocal prowess and skill with musical instruments. It was not surprising that when Stevie Wonder came to Jamaica in October, 1975 to perform on the Dream Concert, which benefitted the School for the Blind, he visited the school, watched Paul perform and was so delighted by his performance that he persuaded Paul to seek a career in music.”
Paul became a staple at all major local concerts and festivals including Reggae Sunsplash and Reggae Sumfest. He also recorded a number of best-selling hits, including ‘Cassanova’ and ‘Sarah’.
“I wish to extend sincere condolences to his family and friends, as well as his colleagues in the music industry who mourn his loss. May his soul rest in peace and may his music continue to entertain and inspire us for generations to come,” Grange said.