Feast of Jamaican folk music in NY

The Jamaican Folk Singers.

National, cultural, performers — Jamaican Folk Singers – plan a three-day, whirlwind tour of New York that will enlighten, educate and introduce initiatives to benefit the Caribbean island and also raise awareness about the potential of Jamaican talent.

Manhattan, Queens and Long Island will be treated to a feast of Jamaican folk music when the premiere singers to represent the island perform a weekend of concerts in two boroughs and Long Island.

Slated for John Jay College, College at 59th St. between (9 – 10 avenues), on the campus of St. John’s University at Utopia Parkway and Calvary Church Auditorium, Hempstead, Long Island, the Columbus Day holiday begins on Oct. 11 with Queens the launch pad for a cultural, triple, treat to kick-off the World Series of Concerts.

“The World Series of Concerts will include performances representing Africa, the Caribbean and the USA,” Patrick Payne, Jamstar Enterprise spokesperson said.

“We believe this group is ideally the best concert performers to represent our lovely island.”

Following the first-night offering, the following performance on the tour will be staged Saturday evening just blocks away from Columbus Circle and the heart of America’s theatre world which is headquarters to Jazz at Lincoln Center.

The night is being billed “Hello Broadway…It’s 8 O’Clock Jamaica Time!” Payne said.

The group will bring its brilliant rendition of folk music to New York, following highly successful appearances here more than a decade ago.

The Jamaica Folk Singers have had the unique distinction of having one of their performances beamed by BBC Radio live into Buckingham Palace for an audience with Queen Elizabeth II.

In addition, the group’s visit will be used to launch the Ward Theatre Restoration Fund and to facilitate the rehabilitation of the ‘venerable institution,’ which has been closed for many years.

Payne is founder and head of one of the leading presenters of theatre and artists from Jamaica and around the world. Some of the major works he and his group have presented include performances by The National Pantomime of Jamaica, Arawak Gold, ASHE, and comedic plays headlined by Oliver Samuels. For more information log onto www.worldseriesconcertsusa.com or call: 516-564-5103


“Rex — The Renaissance Man” is headed for New York.

The 45-minute, documentary about cultural icon Ralston Milton “Rex” Nettleford recently screened in Jamaica will have an overseas run to Canada, the United Kingdom and throughout the U.S.

“It’s going to be shown in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and the Eastern Caribbean as well,” Elizabeth Buchanan-Hind, executive director of the Rex Nettleford Foundation said.

Directed by Lenny Little-White, the Kingston, Jamaica premiere featured interviews with former Jamaica Prime Ministers Edward Seaga, PJ Patterson and Bruce Golding, Nobel laureate Derek Walcott of St. Lucia, reggae great Jimmy Cliff, Sir. Hillary Beckles of the University of the West Indies and Barbadian member of parliament Mia Mottley.

The screenings in Jamaica were held in theaters in major cities but “Rex’ will eventually make its way to local schools.”

“It’s very important for it to be shown in schools as Professor Nettleford wanted students to know that their humble beginnings need not define their outcomes,” Buchanan-Hind said.

Actual screening dates have not yet been finalized for a New York run. However, showings in Washington D.C., Toronto, Canada and Manhattan are definite and are expected before the year’s end.

Nettleford was born Feb. 3, 1933.

He co-founded the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) in 1962 and served as vice-chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI).

He died in February, 2010 while attending a conference in Washington DC.

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