Jonkunnu arrives for Ole Time Grand Market

Flyer promoting “Ole Time Grand Market.”

A traditional Jamaican holiday folk treat is due in Jamaica, Queens.

From the hot climes of the Caribbean to the brisk and chilly, urban New York community of Queens, BRAATA education and outreach team promises to deliver an Ole Time Grand Market. Slated for Dec. 13 the event will celebrate the island’s traditional holiday practice and perhaps introduce a new generation of revelers and fans.

The popular folk singers and cultural activists acclaimed for rendering songs and theatrical presentations representing the best of the Caribbean guarantee an all-day fun feature that families will appreciate. They also claim that participants and Jamaicans of a certain age will reminisce the unique Christmas treat that includes a musical parade of characters through the streets. Known as Jonkunnu, the band of celebrants comprise men dressed in colorful rags, masks, and devilish get-ups, a drum and fife ensemble, dance and mime. The roving band of Jonkunoo (John Canoe) nostalgically links music, dance, symbols and mime to entreat youngsters and endear adults to a historic legacy that mimics slave masters and could be viewed as Jamaica’s early carnival celebration. The Jamaican traditional dance form of African descent finds performers parading in the streets to enact mime-style plays. The folk form has gone through many stages of development until today when it is rarely performed on the island. Probably the highlight of the pre-holiday event, in addition to Johnkunno, BRAATA will offer free face painting for the youngsters; Bun eating competition, patty eating competition, music, cultural exhibit, karate demonstration, storytelling, vendors, and opportunities to take family portraits with characters. The 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. revelry will be held at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center in Jamaica, Queens, New York.

For more info. Log onto www.braat‌aprod‌uctio‌


The next winter Olympics is four years away. Again slated continents away in Asia, Korea won the rights of hosting the quadrennial, athletic test of ice champions. And once again, if all goes well with successful qualifications, the Caribbean will be represented by the region’s cool runners from Jamaica. Already in training in Park City Utah, two of the nation’s brand new drivers have just successfully completed a bobsled driving school and competed in their first international race.

According to former Olympian Devon Harris, the process of developing the next generation of Jamaican bobsledders is in full throttle. However, there are some hurdles that still have to be crossed before the entire team is assured a place in the competition. In order to leap the obstacles, support is being urged. For starters, the team has not yet received any corporate sponsorship. And although it is still early to panic, Harris said adjustments had to be made to the number of athletes slated to be sent abroad for training. Ten more are eligible to make the Utah training. Harris and his crew would like to get them on ice this season in Utah. But funds are limited and now the public is being urged to help the cause. To that end a fundraising campaign was recently launched to get a team in place for the 2018 Olympic Games.

“We know that with your help we can get past these enormous challenges,” Harris said in a letter to friends and supporters. “Can I ask you to make a small donation? Any amount will be helpful, and ask your friends to do the same?”

Now serving as secretary general to the team, Harris added “It is small donations such as this that will create the momentum we need and help us achieve our goals.”

For more information on how to help the future Olympic sleigh riders, log onto: https://coolr‌unnin‌‌pushi‌ng-fo‌r-gol‌d

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