Paul H. Williams, Gleaner Writer
Friday night of the three-day Kingston Pon Di River event was steamy, quite sensual in nature, dominated by some racy readings and raunchy performances from Rosie Murray, Tanya Shirley, Shelley-Ann Weeks, Tomlin Ellis and Fuzion, among others, in-between relaxing jazz selections from Gordon Wedderburn.
It was a night when the women left all their inhibitions at home, and "unveiled" themselves in front of a capacity audience who soaked up what was on offer, cheering and agreeing, nodding and laughing uproariously at some of the frank and unexpected utterances.
Sunday was the time to kick off the slippers, lay the towels down, and indulge in the tranquillity that is Boone Hall Oasis. The food and drink were in abundance, and shoppers milled around in the booths. People from all walks of life, including well-known Jamaican personalities, turned out for this riparian experience. Kingston Pon Di River indeed it was, yet onstage, dishing out their own sauce
Night of the drummers
But if Friday was the foreplay, and Sunday the afterglow, the climax was on Saturday night when patrons were treated to a melange of hypnotic and pulsating drumming that drowned out the persistent chirps and screeches of cricket and whistling frogs. It was the night of the drummers who knocked patrons of their feet with some deft beating, drama, comedy, antics, and mingling and dancing with guests.
Charles Town Maroon Drummers and Dancers took revellers to a place where they perhaps have never been, back to their roots, to the days when the indomitable Maroons played and danced to their beat of their own drums, way in the hills of Jamaica. But, man, the Kingston Drummers were at their best, outbeating and outperforming themselves.
The dancing duel between a member of the group and principal director in the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Sidney Bartley, for the 'maiden in white' Karen Harriott was spontaneously entertaining. But it was Bartley who swept the maiden of her feet, literally, and took her off the stage. The group, Latin Roots, took the tempo down a few notches with some jazzy Latin numbers, to end the segment.
But just when we thought the frenzy of drums was over, the Revivalists from Yallahs, St Thomas, dancing around their elaborate table consisting of sodas, candles, sweets, flowers, herbs, fruit, incense, dove bread, cake and other revivalist paraphernalia, almost tore the huge tent down with theirs. The singing, the drawling, the trumping, the twirling of the shepherds' gowns, the poignancy and soul in the voices of the flock, including very young children, decked out in red, white and blue tunic, ended the night on a cultural and spiritual high.