This past Sunday, September 1st, Brooklyn College Performing Arts Center, was filled with the joyful celebration of Jamaican Festival Songs. Dubbed Jamaica 40: Come Join De Party! The audience was treated to a showcase of some of the winners of the song competition. Although the place was not as packed, as it should have been, "they have gone barbequing" according to Oliver Samuels, who was one of the hosts, along with Carl B. Moxie. Those in attendance made up for every missing body.
If you didnít know that there were female winners, then you missed Heather Grant, the first female winner with her song, "Meck We Put Things Right," in 1992. Roy Rayon was in the house. Roy who? Three time festival winner, 1985, Ď87 and Ď91thatís who, with songs such as "Irie Feeling" and "Give Thanks."
Stanley Beckford, without the Turbines, a four-time winner, gave a lively performance with his songs, "Island a Boom," "Pollution," "Squirm" and "Come Celebrate." He stepped away from the festival mode and went back in time, giving us "Kiseyloo" and "Soldering," and was joined on stage by Pat, who wanted to feel if he could solder.
Mr. Independence was in the house too. Mr. Cherry Oh Baby himself, Eric Donaldson, seven-time winner of the festival song competition. Sweet Jamaica indeed.
Toots Hibbert the first winner with "Bam, Bam" was in the house. Did you get off your "Pump and Pride" and found it "Sweet and Dandy?"
Tinga Stewart of the singing Stewart Family and the 80ís duo of Tinga and Ninja, represented with his winning song, "Play the Music."
Closing the show was veteran singer Derrick Morgan, even though he is sightless; he still has his voice and his love for the music. He gave us "Weíre Independent," and sang some of his early Ska hits. Before Bounty and Beenie with the war of words in their songs, there was Derrick Morgan and Prince Buster.
It was an excellent idea, showcasing the festival winners, and putting a face to the music. Thank you Jamaica Cultural Development Commission.
Mi deh yah now!
MORECULTURE.COM COPYRIGHT 2003 J. MCFARQUHAR
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