Sat | Jul 21, 2018

Granny Nanny Cultural Group tours the USA

Published:Thursday | August 25, 2016 | 12:00 AMPaul H. Williams
Aaron Ireland presents Juliet Holness with an abeng at the Atlanta Jamaica Independence Ball and Scholarships Awards on August 12.

MOORE TOWN, Portland:

The Granny Nanny Cultural Group of Moore Town, Portland, is now on a two-month, Georgia State University-sponsored cultural tour of the United States. Eleven members left the island on August 11 and will return in early October.

The group has been around since 1995 showcasing and promoting Maroon and other indigenous cultural arts. It consists of master drummers, musicians, storytellers, artisans, traditional healers and spiritualists. The director of the group is Major Charles Aarons, a world-renowned master drummer, abeng blower, traditional healer, oral historian and cultural activist.

In the USA, they will be giving musical performances, conducting master workshops on drumming, dancing, singing, art and craft, as well as giving talks at educational institutions, community centres and festivals.

On Friday, August 12, they got a warm welcome at the Atlanta Jamaica Independence Ball and Scholarship Awards, where they performed, and where there was a reception held by Jewel C. Scott, honorary consul of Jamaica in Atlanta, for Juliet Holness, wife of Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

In Atlanta, they will also be performing at Georgia State University, Agnes Scott College, within the Atlantic-Fulton Library System, at the High Museum of Arts at the Woodruff Arts Center, the International Community School, the West End Community Urban Garden, the 11th annual Grace Atlanta Caribbean Jerk Festival and Family Fun Day, and the 7th annual Pan African Cultural Festival. They will also be making presentations in Washington, DC and New York City in September.

In addition to the performances, there will be a photo exhibition on the Maroons by Atlanta photographer Mettina van der Veen, displays of traditional Maroon art and craft, intellectual and literary symposia with scholarly discussions, literary readings, as well as talks on topics of historical, contemporary, political, cultural, spiritual, and environmental relevance to the Maroons.

A special screening of Roy T. Anderson's groundbreaking documentary, Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess, which premiered at the United Nations on Heroes Day last year, is also on the itinerary. Queen Nanny is produced by Anderson and Dr Harcourt Fuller, assistant professor of history at Georgia State University. Dr Fuller is a Maroon from Cornwall Barracks in Portland.