Reggae ambassadors return to New York

Three dancers in a piece entitled “The Beginning” poetry set to dance from Truly Pertinent Questions -The Requiem written and directed by Wayne D. Russell.
Photo by Akeem
Photo by Akeem

After a whirlwind year capped by a stellar appearance at the Jamaica Jazz Festival earlier this year, reggae super group Third World is back on the touring circuit. On the first Tuesday in April, fans of the acclaimed reggae ambassadors were able to share in a double celebration with a performance that also marked the launch of the group’s 23rd CD.

It has been 37 years since the group was formed in Kingston, Jamaica. To honor that achievement they have released a 13-track compilation titled “Patriots.” It was that landmark occasion that found them at the Highline Ballroom in Manhattan. Invited by Dr. Gerald White Davis, president of the University of the West Indies Alumni Association of N.Y. in association with supporting affiliates, the group maintained a packed itinerary, which included lectures and promotional stops to numerous radio stations.

Prior to the Tuesday concert, members: Guitarist Cat Coore, lead singer Bunny Rugs, bass player Richie Daley, keyboardists Norris Webb and Maurice Gregory and drummer, Ruption conducted a music workshop at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn. There they accepted accolades heaped on them by the New York chapter of University of the West Indies Alumni Association, JAMPACT and the United Nation’s Middle Passage Commission Corp and Unchained Forever Inc. for their cultural contributions and accomplishments.

Their latest CD features collaborations with the late Gregory Isaacs, Tessanne Chin, Capleton, Mykal Rose, Tarus Riley, Sly & Robbie, Toots Hibbert, Dean Frazier, and Inner Circle.

A remake of the classic “96 Degrees in the Shade” also puts two Marley brothers – Damian and Stephen – in the mix.

Special appearances by Jamaican recording artists Donahue Jarrett and Chin also marked the occasion.

Wayne’s Words Provide “Truly Pertinent” Poetry

Wayne D. Russell wants to take his concept to Broadway. The Jamaican educator, poet, songwriter, producer and artist is determined to show the theater world that Jamaicans have much to boast. In his quest to the Great White Way, Russell plans to ask “Truly Pertinent Questions” about identity, ego, the id. In the process he plans to showcase a poetic, multimedia montage that features African images.

Recently, he sampled some of the presentations he expects to present when the productions moves from Brooklyn to Broadway. On the premiere public showcase at the Brooklyn School of Music recently, Russell integrated novice singers, dancers and burgeoning poets with drummers and musicians to present a worthy cast willing to risk criticism in order to perfect their ultimate aim.

Comprised of students, faculty and staff at Medgar Evers College, performers delivered continuous, stellar recitals of Russell’s brainchild. He had written every line and lyric, directed every stage movement, rehearsed all the pieces and displayed in life-sized, bold attractions, his own words and messages culled from “an amalgam of thought provoking questions and concerns that occupy the mind of an educated, eclectic Black man living in the metropolis called New York City.”

According to Russell, “it is the story of a Jamaican, a soldier, an educator, an intellectual, and an activist as he muddles through salient questions that are in his heart and on his mind.”

Russell further states that his production is “presented in songs, dances, videos, short films, dramatizations stills and spoken word, the poems are his attempts to qualify the existential.”

Throughout the presentation, Russell also weaves remnants of Jamaican culture into his entire delivery. Artwork prominently displayed along the corridor and into the auditorium boasted framed creations of the topics he queried.

In addition to journeying to Broadway, Russell currently lectures at the CUNY institution. His topic to students is mathematics.

Catch You On The Inside!

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