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Bobsleigh, a book and Jessica Yap - Jamaica 50 launches in Canada

Published:Sunday | March 25, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Hasani Walters, Gleaner Writer

Jamaica 50 was launched in fine style last Thursday in Ottawa, Canada at the Government Conference Centre with the showcasing of a book made for the occasion, the story of Jamaican bobsleigh and exciting tunes emitting from Jessica Yap's violin backed by sweet reggae music.

Jamaicans In Canada - When Di Ackee Meet Di Codfish, a book highlighting the outstanding activities that Jamaican Canadians have been involved in, was unveiled to those in attendance and its origins and method of compilation was explained.

In creating the book, there were certain criterion that had to be met.

The book was to be reflective of endeavours that Jamaicans have undertaken in Canada, it was to contain representatives across Canada, not just popular locations (such as Ontario and Toronto) and it was to identify with Jamaica's motto, 'Out of Many One People'.

It was described as "a labour of love" as no one could ever pay for the number of hours that was put into it.

At the launch, excerpts from the popular 1993 Cool Runnings film about Jamaica's first Olympic bobsleigh team were shown, as well as footage from their stint at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Devon Harris, a member of the team at that time, shared the story of how he became involved in the team and how it was actually formed. Dance performances were to follow.

KasheDance troop's four females and two males, clad in colours of yellow, green, white and black danced to songs such as Jimmy Cliff's Sitting In Limbo.

Next up was a mass choir consisting of both young and old 'friends of Jamaica' who sang My Time To Shine, For The Lord Is Good and One Love after which the standout performance of the night, an entertaining piece from Jessica Yap, came.

In an elegant black sequin dress, Yap thoroughly entertained attendants as she moved about the stage playing her violin.

For her third selection she walked down the aisle and played amongst the crowd. Her fourth choice, Millie Small's My Boy Lollipop, was truly deserving of the standing ovation she received. Bob Marley's Jammin' was next and was also well done.

A performance by reggae musician Tony Anthony, singing, Come to Jamaica and Wind Beneath My Wings rounded up the event's entertainment.

The launch is just the first of several events being organised by Jamaica 50 representatives across Canada, with a climax on August 6, the day of Jamaica's Independence.