Kingston Pon Di River to open with the sound of the drum
Paul H. Williams, Contributor
The enslavement of African people on the sugar plantations of Jamaica is long dead. It passed away in 1838 with much moaning and mourning. But some of the sounds, sights, and rituals from those days of great human suffering are still oozing life. And in this, Jamaica's 50th year of political Independence, Kingston Pon Di River Literary, Arts and Music Festival will make sure the spirits of our African ancestors are celebrated and appeased.
Dynamic Event Services, organisers of the festival, said, "Kngston Pon Di River aims to be a collage of all things Kingston and all things Jamaican - a crossroads of sorts where uptown and downtown, dancehall and classical, can intersect - a place, perhaps, where we can say, 'All a we a one!' Indeed, our motto, Out of Many, One People'."
The opening night, Saturday, April 29, at Boone Hall Oasis, the drums, bequeathed to us by our forebears, will explode by the Wag Water River from 5 p.m. Filling the river valley with their hypnotic sounds and their vocabularies of freedom and victory will be L'Acadco Drum Xplosion, Rekla Selhance Drummers, Latin Roots, Charles Town Maroon Drummers and Dancers, and Kingston Drummers.
And at 11, under a tree, August Town Revival Group and patrons will trump the night away around the Revival table, which is the elaborate centre piece of Revival rituals, paying respects to and feeding ancestral spirits.
Clinton Hutton, a Revival researcher and lecturer at The University of the West Indies, Mona campus, writes in Jamaica Journal Vol. 32 Nos. 1-2, The Revival table or board is a temporary centre-pole altar/ritual dining table upon which an assortment of bottled alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, cooked food, fruits and nuts, spices, spiritual/medicinal plants and flowers and other ritualised objects are artistically arranged, and around which communion is made with the spirit world through music, dance, theatre, libation, ritualised smoking and the consumption of the food when the table is broken."
It will be an electrifying evening of African retentions, yet the feast continues on Sunday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m, with exciting performances by Karen Gibson Roc from Canada, Oku Onouru, Dr Carolyn Cooper, Alvin Day, Lloyd B. Smith, Desmond McKenzie, Charles Newton and Jonathan Eig from the United States.
Music will be provided by Errol Lee's Bare Essentials Band. There will be a shuttle bus service from Stony Hill Heart Academy.
The prelude to this cultural bliss is on Friday, April 27, with an adults-only session, featuring Shelly-Ann Weeks, Tanya Shirley, Rosie Murray, Tomlin Ellis, and an open mic segment, among other things.