Tue | Mar 31, 2020

Jamaica wants UNESCO designations for other music forms

Published:Wednesday | March 6, 2019 | 12:07 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
UNESCO’s assistant director of culture, Ernesto Ottone Ramirez, is gifted with a drum made by the Maroons of Moore Town by Entertainment Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange at the Reggae Gold Awards held inside the National Indoor Sports Centre last Wednesday.
Members of the Port Morant Kumina Group perform at the Emancipation Jubilee at Seville Great House, St Ann, last August.
A mento band in performance.

Entertainment minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange says her ministry will be applying to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for World Heritage designations and inscriptions of other genres of music.

UNESCO, the world body’s cultural and scientific agency, last year added reggae to its collection of “intangible cultural heritage” deemed worthy of protection and promotion.

“We intend to nominate the different genres. There are different categories for which they can be nominated,” she said.

Jamaica has created no fewer than seven genres of music, the most current being dancehall.

The minister said that kumina, a Jamaican ritual brought to the island in the 1840s to 1860s by indentured labourers of Congo in Africa, will be submitted to UNESCO.

“For kumina, there is a possible threat of it disappearing because it is not passed on sufficiently from one generation to the next, so we will be sending that in; also revival and mento, which was our first pop music,” Grange said.’

Meanwhile, the minister said “UNESCO monitors wherever an inscription is successfully inscribed, and you have to report regularly.

“They monitor what we do, and for reggae, they will be monitoring and we have to keep an inventory of how we are developing the music. We have to have some kind of report in terms of how stakeholders are involved. There are commitments which we have to fulfil for any inscription by UNESCO,” the minister said.

Grange said that a nomination document has been submitted for the inscription of Port Royal on the World Heritage List.

Port Royal, a town located at the end of the Palisadoes strip in Kingston and former home to pirates during the 17th century, has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage Tentative List since February 2009. She said the ministry should receive a response in July.