Folk Singers go to the roots
LAST Sunday, the Jamaican Folk Singers treated patrons to a colourful celebration of "Sankofa", their 45th anniversary concert at The Little Theatre, in St Andrew.
The show proved the ensemble has fulfilled its mission of unearthing and exposing the artistry of Jamaica's folk heritage.
The 'Singers' took the fair-sized gathering down memory lane, reminiscing about school days, traditional folk fairs, plantation life, and the spiritual Kumina experience.
Each song, enhanced by dramatic execution, conveyed village gossip, rumours, fears, as well as spiritual aspirations.
Recalling the period when slaves used music to lighten the cruelty of plantation life, the Singers hit home with songs like King Power, Slave Lament, Bogle, Liza, Eva, and the time-honoured Solas Market and Linstead Market.
The presentation would not have been complete without a revival suite. Weepin Eyes, How Great Thou Art, Daniel God, He's Coming Back Again, Gran' Time and Suppose We Doan Meet, were some of the songs that energised the Little Theatre.
The curtain came down with a Quadrille presentation followed by the Emancipation anthem Jubalee. Then came a medley of Festival song winners including Bam Bam, Cherry Oh Baby and Land of My Birth.
Christine MacDonald, the group's musical director, told the Jamaica Observer that the Folk Singers have stayed true to the objectives of founder, Dr Olive Lewin.
"She went out into the nooks and crannies across the island, that is where she learned these songs," said MacDonald. "She spoke to our grandparents, great-grandparents and learned not just the music but learnt the history of the music."
She closed: "It's education through entertainment. That is the basis of our presentation."