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Independent VoYces ring out in St Mary

Published:Monday | November 14, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Malachi Smith (left) accepts the Independent VoYces Lifetime Achievement Award from Judith Falloon-Reid at Strawberry Fields, Robin's Bay, St Mary, last Sunday. - Contributed Photos
Veronica Carnegie (right), author of 'Dear Pastor Paul', and Devon Yetman role-playing at Independent VoYces at Strawberry Fields, Robin's Bay, St Mary, last weekend.
Independent Voyces 2011 belonged to Dear Pastor Paul's author Veronica Carnegie and Independent VoYces 2011 awardees Janet Silvera and Malachi Smith as they sowed their literary seeds at Strawberry Fields, Robin's Bay in St Mary.

The three were among a rare breed of poets, writers and drummers that travelled from far, bent on making their indomitable mark on the off-the-beaten-track calendar event, organised by Judith Falloon-Reid of Barrivision last weekend.

Now in its second year, Independent VoYces came alive with the spoken word from poet/singer Jermaine Gordon; author and medic, Dr Jacqueline Chambers; actor Fabian Thomas; founder of 'Seh Sup'm', Damali Adele Ife; writer Beverly East; and nine-year-old Joel McGowan, who held the audience captive as he eloquently read from his own recently published book of poetry, Journey by 9.

With the perfect backdrop of the ocean, the voices, complemented by drumming from the Bongani Drummers, rang out across the parish of St Mary.

Dear pastor paul

However, the voices that will probably be etched in the minds of literary lovers for years to come were the ones reading the excerpts of Dear Pastor Paul. Written in dialogue form, the book offers humorous yet realistic accounts of phone calls received and responses by Pastor Paul on his radio show. Ably assisted by Dr Carolyn Allen of the University of the West Indies, Devon Yetman of TVJ and Omar Letford of Independent VoYces, Carnegie, the author, brought true colour, vibrancy and comedy of Jamaican radio to the stage.

On the other hand, Gleaner journalist, Janet Silvera, recipient of the 2011 Independent VoYces Award, lived up to the expectation of the audience by speaking her mind clearly and honestly. Her readings from her son Rayon Earle's work were thoughtful and a glaring reflection of his mother and her talents.

Malachi Smith, recipient of the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award, launched into a full performance of his work, shortened only by the sprinkling of raindrops, picking up from where he left off the previous night during the Drum Lyme.

Nine-year-old wonder

But it was nine-year-old Joel who had the crowd eating out of his hands as he smoothly moved from one piece to another, showing off his extensive vocabulary to the amazement and delight of everyone.

Rounding out the list of featured authors was Beverly East, reading from Reaper of Souls, and Judith Falloon-Reid with Here's a Hundred Dollars ... Buy Yourself a Life, both of whom held the rapt attention of the audience. Booko-philia once again provided the opportunity for patrons to purchase books and meet the authors. A small contingent of artists and artisans offered fine art and crafts and the Pickney Korna kept the young ones busy.

A lively open mike and the sounds of the Jamaica Drums 4 Peace ensemble brought the curtains down on another successful literary event.