Sun | Apr 23, 2017

Claudja Barry stays the course

Published:Sunday | April 12, 2015 | 4:00 AM

A founding member of the international group Boney M, which became very popular during the mid to late '70s, Jamaica-born Claudja Barry, later went on to launch a successful solo career as a singer, songwriter and actress.

Among her most popular tracks during her early solo career were the multi-million selling Boogie Woogie Dancin' Shoes, Trippin on the Moon, Work Me Over, and Down and Counting, for Epic.

She later scored chart success with Get it On Tonite, which reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1999, and I Will Stand, which also reached number four on the same chart in 2006.

That same year, her debut album on the Donna Jean label, I Will Stand, topped the Billboard Dance chart.

Her latest hit, Good Time Girl, for Indaba Records, sees Barry back to burning up the dance floor.

Based in Canada, Barry has won the Juno Awards (the Canadian equivalent to the USA's Grammy) for Best Female Artiste.

Barry's performance has been noted in areas other than that as a recording artiste and performer; she is also an accomplished actress.

Her role in the Mario Van Peebles movie Rappin brought her acting abilities to the forefront, catapulting her to other roles in Paper People and Murderland.

Pursuing her first love, theatre, Barry studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York City and later appeared in the Off Broadway production of A Murder at the Church and When the Rattlesnakes Sounds, where she starred in the lead role as Harriett Tubman.

UK plays

In London, Barry landed several roles in productions such as AC/DC and Catch My Soul, a musical adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello.

Now, without a chart hit in a number of years, Barry keeps her musical edge sharp with occasional performances, even while maintaining her stage acting career.

Lately, she has been part of the influential American Women's Group of Jamaica, formed by a small band of expatriate women 30 years ago, as a social organisation. The group has since expanded its scope to include charitable works to benefit primarily women and children in Kingston.

The group was in St Ann recently, where we met Barry and, according to her, her career is far from over.

"I've still got a lot more to give, through music, the theatre and on screen, even while I contribute to society through the American Women's Group," Barry said.

Given her track record, there is hardly any doubt in that.