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Jamaican Folk Singers, ‘Remembering’ with innovation ‘REMEMBERING’ Jamaican Folk Singers with innovation

Published:Tuesday | September 17, 2019 | 12:00 AMMarcia Rowe /Gleaner Writer
Jamaican Folk Singers in concert on Sunday.
The movements by Jamaican Folk Singers in their concert on Sunday were inspired by the description of the games in the books of the late founding member, Dr Olive Lewin.
Jamaican Folk Singers show on Sunday was titled ‘Jamaican Folk Singers 2019 Concert Season, Remembering’.

The Jamaican Folk Singers delivered a great show to bring the 2019 season to a fulfilling and entertaining close at the Little Theatre in Kingston.

Adorned in colourful costumes and aided by set, the singers dramatically performed popular folk songs, making them clearer and merrier. They achieved this through some innovative, and at times, comical movements.

According to choreographer Paula Shaw, “We have to reflect the musicality, and that is what we hope the movements do.”

The inspiration for the movements came, in part, from, description of the games in the books of the late founding member, Dr Olive Lewin.

One of the most memorable performances was the song, Manuel Road.

“The movement of Manuel Road is the game, and people are familiar with the movement. We decided to do the dance, just to change it up a little bit and keep the variety, because the music is set. So we tried to change up how we mounted and showcased the music,” Shaw said.

“We always use the indigenous movements,” she added.

“Dinki Mini was used in Bery Low. That music and movement go together. In Zacky, we would have used some of the Dinki Mini, movements, but we wanted to distinguish between the two, and so, instead, we played the game as was described by Miss Olive, as she had seen it in the field.”

The delightful show was titled ‘Jamaican Folk Singers 2019 Concert Season, Remembering.‘ The songs were subdivided and performed according to the themes – Nice and Easy, Play Songs & Ring Games, Jamaican History, Court in Session, and In God We Trust.

In the latter, the group in their fourth costume change, sang beautifully, Dat Great Day, Rivers of Babylon and brought the curtains down with the lively Alle-alle. While other songs such as Coconut Tree, Cookie and Yuh Tell Ah Lie generated laughter, pieces like War and Moses provided the element of sobriety.

There was also variety in Justice . It was presented as a speech item.The reggae arranged History of Jamaica, deviated from the folk genre, too.

Another intrigue was the inclusion of a slip of paper with the group’s email address, in the printed programme.

“We decided to include a little slip of paper in the programme for the patrons who have interest in joining the group, but do not know how to contact the group,” musical director, Christine MacDonald Nevers said.

Kadeem Mundy, the youngest member, said that there are benefits to joining the group.

“Being a part of this group for five years, I have learned so much about our culture. A lot of young people are not taking the time to learn about their culture. And being a part of the group has allowed me to learn and accept folk music and what it has to offer,” she told The Gleaner.