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‘Pon Di River’ to celebrate Kingston’s 140th milestone

Jamaicans are jubilant that the island is celebrating 50 years of independence from Britain. However, Kingstonians should be particularly elated that the capital city is also marking a milestone anniversary and 140 years since obtaining the status.

Founded in 1692, the largest city on the island was established the capital in 1872 when the British secured occupation from the Spanish. Prior to that when the Spanish ruled, Spanish Town identified the capital.

According to Janet Silvera, co-founder of the “Pon Di River” Literary, Arts & Music Festival, her river fest will pay homage to the historic milestone.

“Originally known as the ‘Pon Di River’ festival, this year it is the Kingston Pon Di River festival and we will be celebrating the city in all its glory,” Silvera said.

Along with Kingston residents Dollis Campbell and Millicent Lynch, the second city resident launched the festival last year.

From her Montego Bay base on the western coast of the island, she has been promoting the April 27 to April 29 event.

“This year will be bigger and better because we have two major reasons to do so – one, we are back and two, we are back in the best city in the world.”

In addition, Silvera claims with a “new, more intimate area pon di river to flaunt the best city in the world guests will discover Kingston as never before.”

Staged at the scenic, pacific and organic Boone Hall location, adjacent to the crystal, clear Wag Water River, last year’s outing offered patrons an opportunity to capitalize on massages, fresh fish, drumming, an evening bonfire and private reading areas along the banks. There, singer Diana King will be honored.

Among the specially invited guests are: poet Oku Onuora, award winning novelist Charlie Newton, New York Times best-selling author Jonathan Eig, UWI lecturer Carolyn Cooper, Jean Watson, the former mayor of Kingston, Desmond McKenzie, motivational speaker Alvin Day, Karen Gibson and some of the island’s best literary authors.

“We have added a children’s play area, a much bigger space for vendors to display their wares, expanded stage and all this amidst unrivalled horticulture,” Silvera explained.

A senior reporter at the nation’s oldest newspaper -- The Daily Gleaner, Silvera is also president of the Western Jamaica Media Association and a staunch advocate of her country’s metropolis.

For more information, log on to www.kingstonpondiriver.com.

Displaced ‘Harlem Music Shack’ Reopens

Uptown music lovers recently rallied in support of the reopening of a Harlem landmark and witnessed the return of a local business that was forced to shut three years ago.

With all the accolades befitting those bestowed to a prodigal son, South African Sikhule Shange was welcomed to Harlem Music Shack, by former patrons, friends and well-wishers who reportedly lobbied for his return to the community.

“He never really left Harlem,” Tyler Taylor explained, “ridiculously high rent forced him to close his shop but he sold CD’s, records and other stuff on the sidewalks of 125th afterwards until now when he can greet customers and friends again in the way he used to.”

During the grand opening, numerous African traditional rituals were performed.

A ceremony alleged “to evoke the African Ancestors to bestow blessings and good fortune for the new business” found well-wishers walking into 2361 Frederick Douglas Blvd. the new location of the former Record Shack. Renamed Harlem Music Shack, the new establishment relocates Shange who was reportedly evicted in 2009 evicted due to inability to pay the rent after 40 years of occupancy at the same location.

Unable to find reasonable space, Shange allegedly sold his wares along 125th St.

The new establishment opened on March 25th with traditional African drumming.

The reason some attribute the ceremony was “to bring attention to Record Shack’s rising from the ashes.”

Some claim another reason was to “let people know that with faith all things are possible” and also “to seek the continued support of all NYC music lovers to shop and serve Harlem owned businesses.”

Customers were comprised of elected officials such as, Assemblyman Keith Wright, NYC Councilman Charles Barron, Leslie Wyche, community liaison for Councilwomen Inez Dickens and Geoffrey Eaton, chief-of-staff for Congressman Charlie Rangel.

Allegedly, jazz singer, Gloria Lynn phoned goodwill music notes singing her hit recording, “I Wish You Love.”

Composer Onaje Allen Gumbs was also present.

Catch You On The Inside!

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