Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer
Ja-Germany bond continues musically
On Sunday, Seaford Town, Westmoreland, will receive yet another infusion of German culture at a 'German Day in Seaford Town'.
The concert at Seaford Town Museum and All-Age School should fall on receptive ears, as the German presence dates back to 1835 when about 250 labourers were sent there. And the event, put on by the German Embassy along with Music Unites Jamaica Foundation and Seaford Town NGO, naturally has a strong Jamaican presence as the Jamaica-Germany bond is celebrated.
Rosina Moder of Music Unites pointed out that sanitary facilities will be officially handed over by the German Embassy. The facilities should have a significant role in heritage tourism efforts around Seaford Town.
However, it is in the music that the Jamaica-Germany bond will be most celebrated, with a number of musicians from Germany playing along with their Jamaican counterparts. Moder, who will be playing the recorder, said "Michael Sean Harris will be doing two songs from the opera."
'The opera' is Mikey, which Moder says is the first reggae opera, central to the week of Jamaica-Germany celebrations. "It is a Jamaican story, loosely based - it takes poetic licence - on Mikey Smith. It is not autobiographical," Moder said. Smith, a poet, was murdered on August 17, 1983, in Stony Hill, St Andrew. One of his more popular poems and recordings is Mi Cyaan Believe It.
Peter Ashbourne, Alvin Campbell and Professor Mervyn Morris created the opera.
On Thursday, October 4, there will be excerpts from the opera again at an Inter-Cultural Lunch Hour Concert, to be held at the Institute of Jamaica, East Street, Kingston. The cast of performers from Seaford Town will be joined by pianist Roger Williams. Much more of the opera will be performed at the Vera Moody Concert Hall, Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, on October 6 and Our Lady of Fatima Church in Ocho Rios on October 7.
"For a year we were trying to get it on stage for Jamaica 50. The German ambassador was so excited about it and made it his flagship project," Moder said. She is determined that the opera will play in Jamaica first, despite funding difficulties. "People told me to put it on outside Jamaica and they will love it when it comes back. I say how can a Jamaican story like Mikey go to London, Tokyo, Vienna first?" Moder asked. "We need the musicians here, the dancers here. It is to happen here. We may suffer with sponsorship, but it has to happen here and then we can travel with it."
All four events in the series celebration the Jamaica-Germany bond are free, with donations welcome.