Music lovers in South Florida are in for a very special experience – the Jamaican Folk Singers are coming to South Florida. They will give two performances only, one in Palm Beach on Friday September 6, the other in Coral Springs on Saturday September 7. The Miss Lou Full 100 Celebrations are presented by the Louise Bennett Heritage Council, as part of their homage to the late Louise Bennett-Coverley – Miss Lou- Jamaica’s beloved cultural icon, in this her centenary year.
Miss Lou, a poet, actor, comedienne and activist, popularized all aspects of Jamaican folklore including songs, dances and children’s games.
The Jamaican Folk Singers have received international acclaim and numerous awards for the range and depth of their repertoire and their harmonious multi-part vocals accompanied by guitar, drums, flute and rhumba box. The combination of singers and musicians and their simple, yet expressive choreography makes for a moving and unforgettable musical experience.
Jamaican folk music grew out of West African traditional music with some European influences combined with the unique Jamaican dance, song and instrumental form – mento. The Folk Singers have an extensive repertoire of over 200 songs. Christine McDonald-Nevers leads the group, now in its 52nd year of delighting audiences at home and abroad.
The group will present folk songs arranged by their founder, classically trained musician and ethnomusicologist, the late Dr. Olive Lewin who was appointed by the Jamaican government in 1966 to research and collect Jamaican folk music. The musical forms include Bruckins, Jankunnu, Kumina, Quadrille, Tambo and Gerreh. A new feature of the Folk Singers’ repertoire, is Pull up the vibes. This section features folk songs performed in the hugely popular, more urban idioms of ska and dancehall.
The Folk Singers take their mandate to pass on their music to the younger generation seriously while also celebrating the older generations who handed down the songs, dances and religious rituals that are woven into Jamaican folk culture.
Jamaica folk music, stemming as it does out of the experience of slavery, is multi-layered. The songs include work songs, lullabies, laments, songs used in religious and secular rites, social commentary songs that poke fun at some unfortunate and the double entendre songs of flirtation and courtship. Jamaicans love and cherish their folk music and it is easy to see how ska, rock steady and reggae grew out of this rich musical heritage, with reggae, in particular, becoming a world-wide phenomenon.
Folk music is special and personal because it comes from the heart of the people. The songs tell of troubles and joys, fears and hopes. They send out a musical invitation to visit and sit awhile and get to know a culture intimately. South Florida audiences will have just two opportunities to accept this special invitation to enjoy and celebrate Jamaica’s rich folk heritage.
A highlight of the Miss Lou Full 100 concert is a performance by poet, broadcaster and actress ‘Dat Bumpy Head Gal’ –Joan Andrea Hutchinson who, following in Miss Lou’s footsteps, writes and performs in Jamaican patois. An accomplished communicator with 3 books, and 7 CD’s to her credit, she is also a stellar performer, engaging her audience with her hilarious observations on Jamaica and Jamaicans. Also featured are Malachi Smith and Maxine Osbourne with their take on Miss Lou and her stage partner Maas Ran, and the Tallawah Mento Band.
Miss Lou Full 100 featuring The Jamaica Folk Singers will be held on Friday, September 6, 7:00pm, at the Royal Palm Beach Community High School and on Saturday September 7, at 7:00pm at Coral Springs Center for the Arts. For tickets and information visit www.louisebennettheritage.com