Grounation 2015 begins Sunday
Weekly lecture, entertainment series focuses on drums
Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer
On Sunday, at 2 p.m., the Grounation series for 2015 begins at the lecture hall, Institute of Jamaica, East Street, Kingston.
Now in its fourth year, it has become a staple the month, celebrated as Black History and Reggae Month.
Herbie Miller, director/curator of the Jamaica Music Museum, said, "over the years we have cultivated quite a loyal following." However, he noted that sometimes events of that tone attract already familiar faces, hence one of the objectives is to not only retain the faithful but "attract new people to the discussions that we hold around culture, both the educational aspect and the entertainment aspect".
The combination of education and entertainment runs throughout the 2015 series, the theme of which is Riddim Across the Atlantic: Di Drum in Africa & its Diasporas.
For Sunday's start, Maxine Gordon will present on Manteca: Chano Pozo, Dizzy Gillespie, the ritual rhythms of West Africa and be-bop. Ozone is the scheduled performer.
On February 8, Dr Christopher Johnson will present on Drums Rising: Symbol and Myth in African American Culture. Phillip Supersad is the evening's performer.
Haitian Drums of Spirits and Fire is Dr Matthew Smith's topic on Sunday, February 15, and, closing off Grounation 2015, on February 22, Dr Kenneth Bilby will speak on Distant Drums: The Unsung Contribution of African-Jamaican Percussion to Popular Music at Home and Abroad. Larry McDonald will do a rare Jamaican performance.
Jet Blue airline and Spanish Court Hotel are major sponsors of the series, Miller was insistent on the need for more corporate involvement. "We implore the private sector to look at the projects we do and what they offer communities and students in particular, in terms of how they understand culture," he said.
He pointed out the role of culture in forming the base of successful societies.
"At the root of everything that builds a civil society, citizens must understand culture," Miller said.
"Those who sponsor tend not to look at these culture things. They miss an opportunity to influence a younger generation, beyond pop culture, which can mislead and inspire," Miller said.