Grounation explores 60 years of sociopolitical development of Jamaican music
Pat Chin, Paul Burke, Cliff Hughes, Howard McIntosh among weekly speakers
Grounation, the Jamaica Music Museum’s (JaMM) flagship Reggae/Black History Month event, resumes on Sunday, February 5, at the Institute of Jamaica Lecture Hall. At the forefront of this year’s staging is the concept of music as a political tool. The insightful lectures, conversations, displays and performances are expected to tap the root of the purpose of music, and how music, wielded in the hands of great thinkers, conveyed the experiences of a people striving for their cultural, political and social liberation.
Scheduled to run for each Sunday in February, Grounation 2023 is themed, ‘Sounds and Society: Sixty Years of Music, Political Activism and Social Change’, and will be accompanied by an exhibition called Auditory and Optic Themes in the Shaping of a Nation. Contributing are Dr Clinton Hutton, Professor Donna Hope, Isis Semaj, Elombe Mottley, Paul Burke, Cliff Hughes, Howard McIntosh, Simon Crosskill, Michael Witter, Kevin O’Brien Chang, Pat Chin, Wayne Chen, Dion Jackson Miller and Leahcim Semaj.
Director and curator of the JaMM, Herbie Miller, is keen to press the understanding of music and other cultural expressions as more than entertainment, underscoring their importance as an integral part of the socio-political struggle that exists at the heart of the “shaping of a nation”. He noted the importance of promoting music and the arts as social narratives that chronicle, as well as inspire spiritual, economic and educational development in Jamaica.
“Music significantly influences the actions of local and international audiences,” Miller said, “It has been essential to Jamaica’s development prior to and sinceIindependence in a dialogue for freedom and equity. Developing a cultural curriculum equal to reading, writing, and arithmetic, powered by the mass appeal of sports and music, will immensely improve the education and creative development of Jamaica.”
Miller also noted that the ethos of Grounation is to play its role in developing such a focus.
Over the years, Grounation has explored the themes of African aesthetics in Jamaican popular culture, the role of the Chinese in the development of Jamaican music, dancehall as a liberating ethic, and the drum and its significance to Africa and its diaspora.
Now in its eleventh staging, Grounation aims to continue the tradition of community outreach, utilising culture and reasoning, to play a part in transforming Jamaican society from the dismal conditions too many of its people bear to a society more caring and compassionate.