Jamaica the Land I Love
Jamaica is the land of my heart and I yearn to experience the beauty within it. Therefore I drive myself to various locations and explore/ expose myself accordingly, to make this dream come true. On March 13, 2016, the Immaculate Conception High School Symphony Orchestra, of which I am a member, travelled to St. George’s Church in Buff Bay, Portland, to perform. On the way, a car taking a corner, during a light shower of rain, slid into the side of a bus. No one was hurt, thanks be to God, and we arrived on time for our performance even with that unexpected delay.
What a beautiful church, with a church bell to behold!
In acknowledging our historical culture, recognizing Black History and Reggae Month celebrated in February, we performed the piece, “Abeng” composed by Dr. Andrew Marshall, a Jamaican. He composed this piece specifically for us, the ICHS Symphony Orchestra. Please note we made sure to capture, feel and display our heritage through our performance of this piece blowing the Abeng instrument, hitting the iron frame of a school desk capturing the sound of iron and chanting. We had guest performers in this piece, several members of the Jamaica Military Band and Maroon percussionists, Captain Padam, and Moustafa Reds from Charlestown.
About 80 members of the orchestra that day, managed to fit into St. George’s Church. I did an audio recording of one piece I love, “In A Gentle Rain” by Robert W. Smith Listen and enjoy it. All of the sounds you hear are from stringed instruments, and the keyboard which I played, clicking fingers, hitting thighs with our hands, shaking of a zinc sheet and our voices. Hence, after our full performance of about ten pieces, we all went to tour Charlestown, home of the Maroons.
Please experience Charlestown on video. You will see Sister Grace Yap, Director of the Franciscan Ministries, who is in full support of the ICHS SO and who came on the tour with guests of the Franciscan Ministries. You will enjoy the beat of the drummers and Captain Padam and Moustafa Reds are featured along with other percussionists. Playing this celebratory music for the Maroon dancers enticed us all and you will see guests dancing too.
The expressions of love, and feeling of togetherness for all, will never be forgotten by all of us who experienced that tour of Charlestown. We were invited to play the drums and be a part of the performance which you will notice.
So visit the island of my heart Jamaica, and tour Charlestown in the parish of Portland.
Of course I went into the river in Charlestown and will not forget that soothing sound nor the very cold water.
The hands of the Maroons created pieces of art on the walls which communicated to us solemnity, power and expertise in art skills. Whilst I was in the river, perhaps a tour guide shared with the guests how the art was done. So I would like to go on tour again to learn about how these pieces were produced. Please view the pieces which I named as follows: Wall painting; Maroon men smoking; Man in garment looking like underwear; Lady praying; and Maroon life. Jamaica is the land of my Heart.
However, the authentic names which Captain Padam Douglas, the percussionist, told me are: Maroon Heroes; Maroons playing bamboo flutes; The Dancer (because he is in a dance position); and the pictures of the Lady praying and Maroon life combined is called The Middle Passage. Talent abounds in Jamaica and I drive around thankful to uncover and discover and experience Jamaican people and their lifestyle in the past and present
Wall Painting: Maroon Heroes is the authentic name of this piece. On the left is Qoau. Beside him to the right is Nanny, with a musket, a British gun, on her back. You ram and fire it. Colonel Johnson, blowing the Abeng. Cudjoe, in defence mode, is to the right.and beside him are Maroons exchanging a fruit in a peace treaty which was an exchange of gifts. The fruit which is blocked by a podium, which was put out on the stage area for the days’ activities, is a pineapple
Maroons Playing the Bamboo Flutes.
Dancers in Dance Position.
Lady praying: Part of the artwork called The Middle Passage
I invite you all to Charlestown to experience Maroon life and food. We ate out of calabash ware not a plate. I have shared with you only a tip of what is there for you to experience and see and taste for yourself, Ai ya yai!
Maroon life: This is part of the artwork entitled The Middle Passage
Article Written by: Sim1 Kenny Guest blogger