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THE JAMAICA FOLK SINGERS CELEBRATE 50 YEARS, RETURN TO ORIGINAL FORMAT!

THIS year marks the 50th anniversary of the Jamaican Folk Singers, and the group is marking its golden milestone during its 2017 concert season at the Little Theatre in St Andrew on September 9 and 10.

Artistic director Christine MacDonald Nevers notes that as part of the observance, the group will be returning to the original format of Jamaican Folk Singers concerts.

Jamaica Folk Singers

Jamaica Folk Singers

“This year there is no storyline with all the songs radiating from it. Instead we are going back to presenting sets and suites of songs which showcase aspects of Jamaican folk life and culture,” she said. “We open with a work set. This will primarily show our women doing household chores and the men laboring in the field. Although things have changed greatly, it is still an aspect of our history. There will also be a segment looking at our religious practices, specifically kumina and revival which, despite being different practices, have elements of similarity.”

MacDonald Nevers said another aspect to the September shows is what she refers to as “fun scenes” in which more recent aspects of Jamaican musical culture, namely ska into dancehall, will be introduced into the concerts. This will include the inclusion of young people and children. She noted this is particularly heartening as it serves to bridge the gap between the generations.

Christine Macdonald Nevers

Christine Macdonald Nevers

Of special interest is the segment In Memoriam — a set dedicated to honoring the life and work of the founder of the Jamaican Folk Singers the late Dr Olive Lewin. This will comprise some renowned folk songs including Liza, Lion Heart Gal, Someday I’ll Go Where Jesus Is, and one of Dr Lewin’s own arrangements — My Company.

MacDonald Nevers is content that Lewin would be “satisfied” with the work of the Jamaican Folk Singers.

“We have strived to continue one of the core purposes and missions, which is education through entertainment. We are always looking to teach through the music, especially as it relates to passing on this legacy of our folk history and music to the younger generations. If there is one area in which we are lacking, it is in the area of research. Dr Lewin was big on going out into the field and learning from the heart of the people. We have not been as diligent, but the plan is to do more of that starting next year,” she added.

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