Grounation begins February 5
Herbie Miller, cultural historian and director/curator of the Jamaica Music Museum

ON the cusp of the 11th staging of the Grounation series, director/curator of the Jamaica Music Museum (JaMM) Herbie Miller is stressing the importance of music as one of the island's tangible assets.

"Music, as far as I'm concerned, is the greatest calling card Jamaica has had in its history. Nothing nor no one has done more for this country than our music. As good as the past athletes have been, it's since the Bolt era and Shelly-Ann [Fraser-Pryce] that athletics have matched up to music. It has spread the Rastafari culture…no set of politicians has been as impactful as our musical culture," he told the Jamaica Observer.

This year's free symposium is themed 'Sounds and Society: 60 Years of Music, Political Activism and Social Change' is to be accompanied by the exhibition Auditory and Optic Themes in the Shaping of a Nation. Both events continue the JaMM's contribution to 'Jamaica 60' activities.

Slated for the Institute of Jamaica Lecture Hall in downtown Kingston, the lectures start on February 5 and every other Sunday that month.

The JaMM's reggae/black history month flagship event Grounation 2023 will examine Jamaica's 60 years of political independence, accomplishments, and challenges in its quest for social and political freedom.

The symposium features lectures and discussions punctuated by music and additional artistic expressions; idioms that will establish the response of creative artists to the island's successes and disappointments since Independence.

Miller noted that the first lecture will be an introduction to what will come on subsequent Sundays.

"I will set the stage for what the next three Sundays should cover to give a brief overview of what led us to Independence and the years after Independence, in terms of what we have done and not done and tried to do," he said.

In addition to Miller's presentations, Grounation 2023 will feature Professor Donna Hope, Isis Semaj, Elombe Mottley, Dr Clinton Hutton, Paul Burke, Howard McIntosh, Kevin O'Brien Chang, Pat Chin, Wayne Chen, and Leahcim Semaj.

Miller further said that Grounation is vital to educating a wide cross section of society on Jamaica's cultural history.

"Its importance is demonstrating the diversity of the audience. The publicity that it has gotten, it has spread outside of our national borders. It has grown to become one of the most looked at items during our Reggae Month celebrations," he said.

Started in 2012, Grounation is the JaMM's premiere educational outreach programme, regarded with esteem on Jamaica's cultural calendar. It promotes core humanitarian values for a just, vibrant and sustainable society.

Kediesha Perry

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