Poetry fest a hit

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

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THE seventh annual Jamaica Poetry Festival on August 13 at Louise Bennett Garden Theatre in St Andrew lived up to its 'FEAST of GLOBAL POETREE' theme.

This delightful event, staged by poet Yasus Afari's Sen YAcum Edutainment in association with IRIE FM and the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), began with workshops from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm. Quality entertainment was its main course.

The University of the West Indies lecturer, artist/photographer Dr Clinton Hutton engaged the audience with his work on the Morant Bay uprising of 1865.

They will be in a new book, 1865: Gimme War O. Hutton wrote on the historic event in a previous book, Colour For Colour, Skin For Skin: Marching Ancestors Into War O, as well as his poem Dat Stranger.

Miss Trelawny Festival Queen, Kimberley Wright campaigned for a cleaner environment as part of her community project. She was on point with her narratives which culminated in the original song Whatever Happens To Our Pride.

IRIE FM broadcaster Kabu Ma'at Kheru, whose book of poems is titled Making Kenke From Memory, made her mark not only as compere, but with the poem My Man Is Every Warrior.

Spoken word artistes Kim Gaubault from the United States, and Antonia Valaire also shone in the opening segment.

Special guest artiste Asante Amen wowed the audience with the original songs Real Revolutionary, Miss Chocolate Brown Skin, Ghetto Youth Not For Sale and Garnett Silks' Bless Me Jah Jah.

Yasus Afari, Mutabaruka and South African Jessica Mbangeni's dynamic praise poetry brought the curtains down in spirited fashion.

“We write to make things right, for if yuh nuh right yuh wrong, so know weh yuh from. We have to reinstate Mother Africa. It nuh mek sense the human family become human race. I nuh inna nutten wid dem two-face society. Dem personality split... stolen wealth is called Commonwealth. Nutten is common about wealth. Dem bloody soldier never know Jah. Is either we rise above it or go down with,” was part of Afari's social narrative on poems like Patwah Talking, Honour Miss Lou, Jamaica Rasta Rock and I Feel Like Crying.

Mutabaruka was just as potent.

“Many things have been said and we want to continue saying them,” he told the gathering before transitioning into poems such as They Come (But We Survive), Reggae Strong (a tribute to Lucky Dube), My Revolution, Gimme Mi Dis Gimme Mi Dat, I Am The Man You Love To Hate, and Monkey Speaks His Mind.

“I am an African. It is a great honour and privilege to be here tonight. I have to be here because we are proud of who we are. I am an African and it is our responsibility to change the world. We are global icons. I thank my ancestors we are the game-changers, we are the inventors of everything,” declared Jessica Mbangeni. She paid tribute to Nelson Mandela and women in the liberation struggle.

At the end of her stimulating performance, Mbangeni revealed that she always wanted to work in Jamaica due to the inspiration of two reggae legends.

“I am so grateful to God; I am overawed due to the umbilical cord of the music of Peter Tosh and Bob Marley.”

— Basil Walters

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