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Chinna Smith's next concept - Binghistra

Published:Thursday | October 4, 2018 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small/Gleaner Writer
Earl 'Chinna' Smith

Years ago, veteran session guitarist Earl 'Chinna' Smith acted as musical director for a project that has since evolved from its initial intent. It is now being re-imagined and will be internationally distributed by a French film company.

Chinna told The Gleaner that the idea is now called the Innadeyard Binghistra Movement.

As musical director, Chinna's work 'Inna de Yard, yielded a number of acoustic albums by artistes such as The Congos, The Viceroys, Junior Murvin, Linval Thompson, and Kiddus I. But there was another idea - and so avid reggae music consumers will already recognise the concept and its evolution into a feature-length documentary.


'Inna De Yard' Documentary


French Nicolas Maslowski and Romain Germa are currently at the helm of Chapter Two Records and a Paris-based distribution company called Charades.

After an unveiling of its promo at Berlin's European Film Market earlier this year, Charades sold distribution rights to The Soul of Jamaica, following Ken Boothe, Winston McAnuff, Kiddus I, and Cedric Myton of The Congos as they recorded an unplugged album titled Inna de Yard in Jamaica. The album was released by Chapter Two in 2017.

In April 2017, Boothe, McAnuff, Myton and Kiddus I led the 'Inna De Yard' group, which includes Lloyd Parks, Derajah, VAR, Steve Newland of Rootz Underground, Bo Pee and Kush on a European tour to promote the film.

Nevertheless, Chinna's Inna de Yard idea has evolved, too. To be treated as a show of respect rather than a departure from local indigenous music, Chinna now suggests fusing cultural music with classical. "We have binghi music and mix it with the orchestra, and create an original work called Binghistra. The concept is coming from that level," he explained to The Gleaner.

"The concept is to carry this old music mainstream - reggae, dancehall, and ska have reached that stage. This is the most cultural part of the music, and we want to take it to that level. The next stage is to make a great album. Right now, we haven't completed an album yet because we can't shortcut it. We just need to get a proper orchestra. We already have the binghi," Chinna said.

This was on show last Wednesday on Water Lane, at the second staging of his monthly Groundation. Smith thinks this monthly revival session is vital in keeping traditional Jamaican music alive and in the heart of the city. Slated for the first Wednesday in each month, last week's session featured the last Kumina group out of St Thomas, led by Bongo Shem.