Tue | Mar 20, 2018

Jamaican Folk Singers to raise funds for students

Published:Sunday | October 23, 2016 | 12:00 AMPaul H. Williams
The Jamaican Folk Singers performing at the annual Pepperpot event in the St Luke's Church Hall in Cross Roads, St Andrew, earlier this year.
The Jamaica Folk Singers benefit performance is on this Sunday.

In an extension of its 2016 concert season, The Jamaican Folk Singers will have a benefit performance to raise funds to assist some students with their tuition fees. This will be held at The University Chapel on the Mona campus of The University of the West Indies on Sunday, October 30, at 5 p.m.

In its engaging style, the group will take patrons through a range of emotions and issues such as relationships, courting, betrayal, community drama, marriage, birth, death, reconciliation, and jealousy. They will also "weave the story of young love and its challenges and wonders".

"The group proudly continues to fulfil its mission of keeping alive the folk foundations of Jamaica's music culture, maintaining the focus on respect for our traditions and for the people who have kept them alive." The Jamaican Folk Singers' musical director, Christine McDonald-Nevers, said.




The group was founded in 1967 by ethnomusicologist the late Dr Olive Lewin, and it said it has been striving "through the years to remain true to its mission, which includes unearthing and exposing the beauty and artistic worth of Jamaica's folk music heritage".

"The Jamaican Folk Singers operates with a belief that music greatly helped our forefathers cope with the realities of their harsh living conditions without becoming excessively bitter and believe that today, it can continue to bring and hold people together," she said.

And being the charitable folks that the Singers are, they had collaborated with the Rotary Club of Trafalgar New Heights to sponsor 250 children from inner-city schools and communities such as Seaview Gardens, Franklyn Town, and Maverley to attend one of their shows during the regular season in September. This collaborative effort has been going on for two years.

"This serves to provide the children with educational exposure to our folk culture, as well as to the magic of theatre. In fact, many had never been inside of a theatre," McDonald-Nevers said. "Pertinent to The Jamaican Folk Singers is education through entertainment, and the annual concert season presents another opportunity to help educate on aspects of Jamaica's folk music culture and its relevance in present-day society."

And for five law students on the Mona campus who are having challenges with paying their tuition fees, the Folk Singers will sing, dance, and play music, and, as such, are anticipating a big turn-out.