Sat | Oct 31, 2020

More than 24,000 tune in to JN virtual concert

Published:Wednesday | April 15, 2020 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small/Staff Reporter
Carlene Davis
Rhoda Isabella
Naomi Cowan
Earl Jarrett

Easter Weekend rolled around with stricter curfews and adamant reminders to stay at home, but that didn’t mean there was no fun to be had. Among many that have been rostered in the past month, JN Group made sure to add their own spirit-lifting, hope-inspiring online event. Streamed live on the organisation’s Facebook and Instagram platforms, JN Group aired their virtual concert, Together We’re Strong.

Under the theme ‘Healing for the People; Hope for the Nation’, the concert aimed to instil hope in those stuck at home, struggling with the paradigm, and in those who are daily risking their lives for the nation’s public health. By word of the group’s CEO, Earl Jarrett, the concert was a success, reaching tens of thousands of viewers and listeners around the world.

“We are still assessing the numbers, but we reached more than 24,000 through our JN Group pages and handles on social media,” Jarrett told The Gleaner.

Many others tuned in via LOVE 101 FM and the Public Broadcasting Corporation, which both carried the concert live. “The responses were overwhelming, and underscores how much our music really unites us as a people and helps us to get the message across to our citizens. That was evident not only through this concert, but the various other initiatives staged over the weekend, including the COVID-19 Telethon staged by the Government,” the CEO added.

Taking as inclusive an approach as possible, this virtual concert’s line-up reached across the aisle, inviting a mix of both gospel and secular acts to the stage.

Concert opener Rhoda Isabella made that observation clear. Without an audience to see, the gospel performer pushed ahead full steam through her energetic church chorus medley and still managed a rousing rendition of her anthemic accomplishment, I’m Still Breathing.

Before the vocal powerhouse warmed the room, she noted that this particular occasion, though scheduled as part of what would be a traditional Easter Monday morning, went beyond categorising what was devout or deviant. “This is not a gospel thing or a secular thing, but a world thing. In this, everybody level,” Rhoda said.

In addition to Rhoda, Together We’re Strong invited the talents of other gospel music acts Rondell Positive and Kevin Downswell, along with reggae and dancehall star Agent Sasco.

Also gracing the stage were mother-daughter duo Naomi Cowan and Carlene Davis. The young Cowan performed her breakout single Paradise Plum and recent releases Peace of Mind and Climbing. Naomi then pulled out an acoustic guitar, and Carlene joined her on stage, where the pair took on charming covers of Dre Island’s We Pray and Wayne Marshall’s Glory To God.

Upon immediate review of the event, Jarrett said: “The concert went beyond our expectations. People are yearning for unity, peace, and spiritual upliftment during this time, and I believe we were able to remind them through this concert that, indeed, Together We Are Strong as Jamaicans no matter where we are in the world and that through unity and cooperation, we will overcome this dreadful disease.”