Bless Redbones... popular restaurant and blues café restarts with prayers

BY BASIL WALTERS Observer staff reporter

Sunday, March 21, 2010    

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"We call upon all that we hold most sacred to -- Bless Redbones.

We call upon the earth, our planet home,

We call upon the mountain, the waters that run the earth to -- Bless Redbones

We call upon the moon and the stars and sun who govern the rhythms and the seasons of our lives and remind us that we're part of a great universe and we ask them to -- Bless Redbones..."

So went (in part) the call-and-response invocation led by former Jesuit priest Martin Schade, now a non-denominationalist, to signal the reopening of Redbones at its new home at 1 Argyle Road, New Kingston, on Thursday evening.

"A rather unusual way to open a bar," chuckled emcee Enola Williams, who along with her parents Evon and Betsy Williams, own and operate the popular restaurant and blues café which has been relocated from 21 Braemar Avenue.

"It's a restaurant, it's a bar, it's also a cultural watering hole," said Williams during her welcome remarks at the new facility that is far more spacious than the previous venue. "It's bigger but it has the same vibes as the old Redbones, but it's more modern, and I just think it's great" an excited Betsy (Williams) told the Observer.

In order to facilitate the relocation, the 14-year-old joint was closed for three months. "...We were looking for bigger and newer space and we couldn't fix up where we were, so we thought that we would start all over again at a new location and we are right down the road, so we are not that far away," explained the matriarch of the business.

When asked what Redbones had to offer in this new dispensation, she said: "Well, we're going to continue with the same programme. We'll have bands, we'll have movie nights, we'll have an art gallery inside and we'll still have the restaurant with all its delectable foods, and the bar."

Maintaining the open-air ambience as was the case at the former site, it could be enhanced with some plant life. The art gallery will be situated in the main building and will have rotating artistes displaying their works.

"I think what we managed to do is to recreate Redbones," was how Evon Williams summed it up. The idea for a blues bar came about as a result of his passion for blues and jazz music. "I always enjoyed the music; I am a blues and jazz person. And I kinda want to marry music and dinning. On the other hand, I wanted reggae to be special. So we only play reggae when we are going to have a major feature," he said. He promised that Redbones' brand of the performing arts, inclusive of poetry and live music, will continue.

This time around, Red Stripe Diageo is in partnership with Redbones. "Red Stripe Diageo is very, very happy to participate with Redbones in building a great Jamaican brand with the best brands in the world, the Diageo brands of Johnnie Walker, Baileys, etc. So we are very happy to support a Jamaican company as it develops," was how Diageo's Sales Director Brian Pengelley endorsed the venture.

In the tradition of Redbones, guitarist Gawaine Campbell and friends provided an entertaining set of blues and metal fusion music along with instrumentation of some on Bob Marley's hits.




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