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KJY Live show for a cause

By Monique Rowe
Observer writer

Saturday, October 17, 2020

NATURE Ellis and Oba Simba as well as Democratic Republic of Congo's are headliners for the inaugural online concert, KJY Live, scheduled for tomorrow at 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

The event, slated to be hosted by Wendy Rose of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is aimed at raising funds for members of Kongo Jamaican Yard (KJY), an exchange programme between Jamaica and the Democratic Republic of Congo, to visit the central African country.

The JJAOPA Dancers are also included in the entertainment line-up.

Jan Harrison-Cousins, head liaison project manager in Jamaica, shared the significance of the concert.

“This exciting project is going to be a landmark for Jamaica and the Congo. It's the first of many to come and the benefits for Jamaica are the fact that approximately 25 Jamaicans from diverse backgrounds and ages, including myself, are being given the opportunity to do a cultural exchange to the Congo in 2021...then the Congo to Jamaica 2022,” Harrison-Cousins told the Jamaica Observer, adding that proceeds will allow individuals an all-expenses-paid trip to the DRC.

Formerly called Zaire, the Democratic Republic of Congo is the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa. Its official language is French.

Nature Ellis said he was introduced to the initiative by his St Thomas-based friend, Oba Simba. He said the event is relevant, especially in this pandemic in which many people need positive energy and upliftment, while supporting a blend of cultures.

“Showing the connection and unity between Africa and the Diaspora, Jamaica through a reggae concert...a lot of people want to watch something entertaining, something conscious. What best way to give positive energy than through reggae music,” said Ellis.

“It should not be just important to I, but to everyone that likes conscious music, unification...It is very good to show that we can come together...So many benefits to gain from this concert,” he continued.

Born in the Glendevon district of Montego Bay, St James, Nature Ellis (real name Andre Ellis) attended St James High. In 2002 he penned Mercy I Pray and entered it in 'Schoolers Bus Ride' contest, put on by Danger Zone, and won.

In 2007, he met former national footballer Ricardo “Bibi” Gardner who put his career on an upward trajectory.

He is known for songs including World Peace, Trying Man, and Revolution.

Tickets for the concert are available on their Facebook page, KJY Support Live Concert.

“It's less than $2,000 and this can be enjoyed from the comfort of your home, or sponsorship through the crowdfunding — startsomegood.com/kongo-jamaican-yard,” Harrison-Cousins added.

Founded in 2018 by Swao Samba in DRC, Kongo Jamaican Yard aims to explore how traditional Congolese culture can have a positive impact on the sociocultural development of Jamaica, and how current Jamaican culture can have a positive impact on the evolution of Congolese mentalities.