VETERAN music producer Winston ‘Niney’ Holness has sought the star power of reggae legend Jimmy Cliff for his lastest project aimed at assisting autistic children.
“These children are often misunderstood and mistreated. These are bright, bright kids. They just need help,” Holness told the Jamaica Observer on the weekend.
“I told Jimmy we had to do something and he agreed. So what we decided to do is to record a single called Child Abuse. We want to donate the proceeds of this record to Jimmy Cliff’s foundation and then to the autistic school.”
Written by Holness with Cliff on vocals, Child Abuse also features the talent of Riddim Twins Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespare as well as bassist Errol ‘Flabba Holt’ Carter.
Autism is a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterised by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.
“I have a child that is autistic,” said Holness.
Holness (given name George Boswell) started out as a singer in the 1960s, and had a big British hit with Blood and Fire in 1970. He, however, gave up his singing career during that period and launched into production with the Observer label.
In the 1970s, Holness produced the tracks Cassandra, Africa, No More Shall I Roam and Westbound Train for a teenaged singer Dennis Brown which put him in a position reserved only for superstars.
Cliff said he was happy to be part of the project.
“Niney is a spiritual man and one of the best producers Jamaica has and we just connect spiritually because me know him good,” said Cliff.
– By Brian Bonitto