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Fi Wi Sinting flourishes in the rain

Published:Sunday | February 21, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Paul H. Williams, Gleaner Writer

Heavy rains last Sunday prevented many would-be patrons from attending the 21st staging of Fi Wi Sinting , usually the biggest one-day African heritage celebration in Jamaica. But those who defied the inclement weather soaked up the continual drizzle, festivities, fun and food.

The aroma of delectable Jamaican fare wafted into and mingled with the fresh Portland air at Somerset Falls all day, while African and traditional Jamaican music blared. Here and there, people 'dropped a leg or two', as others stood by and watched as scary-looking masqueraders from St Mary chased excited children around the vast grounds.

Mutabaraka was in the place giving out sounds in more ways than one, and so was performance poet Steppa, whose wit and serio-comic style captivated the minds and tickled the funny bones of his keen listeners.

Musical messages of the past and present came from the instruments of Montego Bay's Children of the Drums, Nyah Binghi Drummers from Ocho Rios, Heartbeat Cultural Group from St Mary and the Hope Bay Mento Band.

The African market stalls were stacked with African-influenced miscellany, craft and fashion, while for many patrons it was a parade of sorts of African costumes and clothes. Fire-dancer Ray Hamilton and his partner, Sandy Telpher, were standouts. And what was quite noticeable, also, was the significant number of young people who were present. They and the oldsters were exposed to many facets of our culture, juxtaposed in a semi-tropical setting.

At sunset, the ancestral raft was sent floating towards the Caribbean Sea, and a stage show, which included performances from Ananse, storyteller Turnell McCormack, L'ACADCO dance group and the Excelsior Community College drama group, brought the curtains down on a day of celebration of our African heritage.