Inna De Yard at Tribeca


Inna De Yard at Tribeca

Sunday, May 05, 2019

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Jamaica had a strong showing at this year's staging of the 18th annual Tribeca Film Festival, which began on April 24 and is set to conclude today. The island and reggae music were represented with a screening of director Peter Webber's documentary Inna De Yard: The Soul of Jamaica.

The project captures musicians — among them Ken Boothe, Winston McAnuff, Kiddus I, and Cedric Myton — as they get reacquainted, swap stories, and talk of their lives while they rehearse in a studio in the hills above Kingston, in a house adorned with hundreds of old LPs and 45s from back in the day.

Webber spends time with them individually—also getting thoughts from singer Judy Mowatt. Inna de Yard captures the ongoing relevance of reggae, social values, and the music's passion to revitalise an older generation, while passing it on to younger listeners.

The documentary had three screenings at the festival, April 29 as well as May 1 and 3.

At least one review is hailing the project, calling it a springboard to examine Jamaica and its cultural history.

According to industry website, “Sprinkled through this is a dusting of Jamaican history and a fleeting but poignant commentary on the poverty and simmering violence which has marked the lives of most of the musicians in one way or another”.

“Of the subjects, standouts include the spritely, white-haired elder statesman Cedric Myton — best-known as a singer with The Congos, whose angelic falsetto is perhaps the most distinctive of all the voices. Kiddus I, star of the reggae film Rockers, is a rebellious figure who chafes against the injustice of a career which stalled following his deportation from the US. Winston 'Electric Dread' Mcanuff mourns the death of his son, also a musician, in a street fight. Meanwhile Ken Boothe, who had a worldwide hit with Everything I Own, enjoys a level of success unknown to his contemporaries, success which brought with it its own problems. Like all the issues touched upon however, these problems are lightly handled. This is not the place to look for an in-depth appraisal of Jamaica's volatile, post-colonial history or for more than a cursory nod towards the substance abuse which is endemic. But for a warm, engaging love letter to the veteran talents who shaped a sound — the film has an infectious groove,” the publication noted.

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