House of Leo officially reopens April 1

March 20, 2023
Olga Lee, founder of House of Leo.
Olga Lee, founder of House of Leo.

House of Leo, that dancehall landmark located at number 3 Cargill Ave in Half-Way Tree, St Andrew and which played host to the biggest and best dances weekly during the '80s and '90s, is set to officially reopen its doors on April 1, with a mega tribute dance.

The celebratory event will see Stone Love and Metro Media playing on the lawn at an event which will pay tribute to several stalwarts, now deceased, but who played an important role in the life of dancehall. The reigniting of the House of Leo flame is a deliberate effort to build on its legacy. It is being led by Kelvin Lee, the son of Olga May Lee, aka Mama G, the pioneer who opened House of Leo in 1979.

"It's all about the legacy," Lee told THE STAR, "My mother started this and she wants it to continue. She will be leading the tribute at the official opening. You see, the people who we are remembering were all her friends. We will pay tribute to Willie Haggart from Black Roses Crew; Roy Fowl from British Link Up; dancing sensation Bogle; Rodigon from the Sunrise Crew; Gilly Priest; and Daddy U-Roy, as well as Elaine Phang, wife of George Phang and Jewelarama, both from the Three Girl Posse. Mama G was the third girl. She's the only one left."

Lee, who named the venue House of Leo because of her zodiac sign, will be honoured with a special plaque for her vision and dedication to the music industry.

"We will be bringing back that great feeling that people used to have at a dance. When we look at the Instagram reviews, people want to go back to a House of Leo dance and relive that nostalgia. It was ... and remains to this day ... the benchmark for great dances. House of Leo is about great memories. The fashion, the style ... the big heel boot and bell foot pants ... the people, and of course the music and the selectors [which] all combined to make it a special place," Lee said.

Lee recalled that many artistes and selectors got their 'buss' at House of Leo. He also shared that Stone Love and Metro Media will receive House of Leo awards.

The last House of Leo dance staged by the Lees was held in 1998, but subsequently promoters were allowed to use the space to host events.

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