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25,346 days of Carrot Jarrett - Shared memories paint character of generosity

Published:Sunday | August 12, 2018 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke/Gleaner Writer
Some of Jarrett's children.
Half Pint
L'Acadco dancers paying tribue to Carrot Jarrett.
Bungo Herman paying tribute to Carrot Jarrett.
A L'Acadco dancer in performance.

Her siblings gathered around her, all together "on the same piece of earth" for the first time in 20 years, as Nadine Jarrett asked the persons who filled the Vera Moody Hall at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts to overflowing on Friday night to remember the number 25,346.

After speaking at length about their brother, Irvin 'Carrot' Jarrett, whose life was being celebrated primarily through the various arts he was involved in, she converted the figure into the time span of his physical life, which ended on Tuesday, July 31 - 69 years, four months and 22 days.

The celebration of the life of the former member of the Third World band was filled with music - from his children and grandchildren lighting candles in front of the stage to Bob Marley and the Wailers' Natural Mystic to Third World playing Now That We've Found Love from behind the curtains that closed on the massed family and musicians at the end of the tribute. But it was the memories of Carrot Jarrett during a celebration with some sober moments, but was overwhelmingly cheerful and painted a picture of a loving, generous man from childhood until transition.

Nadine recalled that when they were very young, after dance classes when all the hungry children would line up for a snack, Irvin would tell his siblings to be patient as there was enough for everyone. A line and nourishment also played a role in Sean Paul's memories of Jarrett (who produced the first Sean Paul song and video - a cover of Nice Time) . In a video tribute, Sean Paul said he saw Jarrett in a supermarket one night, and they spoke for about 10 minutes. "He was the picture of health. He was eating grapes in the supermarket," Sean Paul recalled. He told persons in the line about the role Jarrett played in his career, and, in turn, Jarrett told them that the deejay has always been grateful and respectful.

Leader of the Opposition Peter Phillips described his former Twelve Tribes colleague as "a giant of his generation", the one of the 1960s and 1970s which filled the country which the previous generation had brought to nationhood with "a specific identity". A chant of "Rastafari!" followed Phillips' description of that identity as one proud of its African heritage, and determination to resist Babylon.

One of the striking inclusions on the programme hosted by Elaine Wint, was a reading by the Ex Wives Club of Gina Jarrett Alder and Kelly Jarrett. The former said while some may think their joint participation is tacky, they would not understand the love and power of Carrot, Kelly giving her a peck on the cheek before the reading began.


The healer


Jarrett was deeply into naturopathic healing, and former Third World drummer Willie Stewart, who played with the briefly reunited outfit on Friday night, described being on a tour in San Francisco, in the United States, where he had a temperature of 104 degrees, and Jarrett stayed back at the house they were based in to care for him.

The talents of the Jarrett family (among them his daughter Summer dancing) were seen throughout the celebration, along with the vocals of Tessellated, Wayne Marshall who sang Glory to God, Bongo Herman's contribution in song and percussion (chamber pot included) and Half Pint, who rejoiced in One Big Family. Before L'Acadco's dance 'Satta Massagana' artistic director Dr L'Antoinette Stines explained Third World's importance to her development, with their cover of the Abyssinians song crucial to a change in her dance direction when she was in Miami. She explained that the last sound the audience members would hear as the dancers exited was Carrot Jarrett's drumming in Jah Glory. Jarrett spoke as well - through recordings of messages in calls to his grandchildren which were filled with love and encouragement.

Cat Coore's rendition of Redemption Song on cello was riveting, and he told the audience that Ibo Cooper, who played a pivotal role in the production, "never left Third World, he just, was not with us". And he said every keyboard player since Cooper had trouble playing the opening phrase to Always Around, a song written by Carrot Jarrett for his son Ard, and asked that Cooper play it to start the song that has been integral to the observations of Jarrett's life. Cooper duly found the sound and did so, as Third World honoured their deceased bandmate with the music they made together.