Sun | Jan 24, 2021

Music at the heart - Alacran Group pumps resources into after school programmes

Published:Wednesday | November 21, 2018 | 12:00 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
A participant in the Alacran Group’s after-school programme.
Students participating in one of the Alacran Group’s after-school music session.

The hours before and after school as well as holiday breaks provide opportunities for children to engage in activities that build confidence. This includes not only academics, but the creative arts both within the school grounds and community-based.

Alicia Williams, public relations manager at the Bob Marley Foundation, which has partnered with overseas-based Alacran Foundation, says it is important for alternative solutions to not having educational opportunities.

She notes that within inner-city communities where persons cannot afford or have an interest in formal education, the arts both visual and performing, are taking precedence.

"Similarly, there are a lot of people looking to music as a career choice, but cannot afford to have piano lessons, or to learn to play another instrument but once the opportunity is presented, they excel," Williams points out.


The Alacran Group


Williams explains, "The Alacran Foundation is based in the United Kingdom and the United States, where that attitude of entrepreneurship is prevailing. That is something that is seen as a key."

The two-year-old organisation, founded by Italian-born sisters, Alessandra Lo Savio and Giorgia Lo Savio, partnered with the foundation to initiate its after-school, art-based programmes in March in the Trench Town community, starting first with the Boys' Town institution and centres, but has since expanded its reach.

According to Carolina Garcia, operations executive at the Alacran Group, young people are becoming very aware of natural artistic talents, but there is a need for a coordinated system.

"While the youth have 'wised up' about the business side of the music industry, there needs to be a system that can show them the way in not only as musicians, but also to understand the different career opportunities available in the field; producers, talent managers, roadies, the list is long," Garcia told The Gleaner.

The Alacran Group, which includes Alacran Records (a record label with recording studios and a publishing arm); Alacran Pictures (a film production arm); Alacran Live (an events production arm), shared its vision with the Marley family and the partnership was formed.

Garcia explained that the main purpose of the programme is to provide Jamaican youth with the tools to explore their talents and creativity in music, sports and the arts. "Enabling the youth to become fulfilled and engaged members of society who can transform their own lives and their communities. Music is at the heart of everything Alacran does, so it was a partnership that was meant to be," she noted.

The activities includes vocal training sessions, music production, and learning to play musical instruments leading up to the launch of the official after-school programme for which they are currently seeking more partners.

Garcia urges local ministries to do In-depth research. "Persons will be shocked to discover endless scientific evidence of the positive impact of music. Music is a powerful tool to develop the cognitive, emotional and social skills necessary to empower young minds, as seen in a vast body of research, and we are also very keen on helping maintain the incredible musical legacy (of Jamaica) through traditional music instruction and new technologies but Jamaica still has a long way to go. Collaboration makes the world go around these days. Work together, exchange, support one another, and acknowledge that no one organisation has all the answers."