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Ernie Smith to headline Caribbean Folk Fest

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Jamaica’s Ernie Smith will headline a full day of Caribbean cultural presentations on May 12 at York College Performing Arts Center in Queens when Braata Productions, creator of The Bankra Caribbean Folk Festival hosts a free event.

The baritone whose hits of the 1960s and 1970s yielded “Duppy or Gunman,” “Life Is Just For Living” and a myriad of folk songs is expected to bridge entertainment with cultural nostalgia during a live performance which will likely inform some, delight others and probably unite all patrons.

His hits of yesteryear have become classic hits to revel.

Often described as “incomparable” Smith epitomizes nostalgia and Caribbean culture and will provide the appropriate melodies to enchant generations.

In addition Children of Culture St. Lucia, the True Tribute Organization and Andrew Clarke are also slated to perform.

For the fourth year, Clarke has been showcasing his BRAATA ensemble singers and actors to families yearning for an outing of Caribbean feasts and treats.

This year, he announced that the fun commences at noon on May 12 with an entire program of free and enjoyable program that is open to the community.

“The Caribbean community has so much to offer and this folk festival provides a unique opportunity to showcase our rich and diverse cultural heritage with the residents of the borough and its environs.”

“2018 represents our fourth staging of this celebration of Caribbean folk arts, culture and heritage,” Clarke, the event organizer added.

“We really want to make this an accessible event for all.”

Clarke has been advocating for an intergenerational annual celebration for the immigrant Caribbean community by hosting gatherings appealing to youths and elders and also showcases the region’s traditions.

With his BRAATA musical ensemble, he has successfully showcased music and dance as well as dramatic productions that Caribbean nationals can relate.

The Bankra Caribbean Folk Festival will feature a drumming circle, steel pan orchestra, basket weaving demonstration and instructions, storytelling, a pop up cultural exhibit featuring life sized puppets of folk hero Anansi, rolling calf, Bacoo as well as accommodate patrons with a play zone where youngsters will be able to test their skills at dandy shandy, marbles, hop scotch, Jacks, ring games and other childhood games.

Foods and beverages from the Caribbean will be in abundance to refresh the palates and senses familiar to the islands’ unique cuisine.

Patrons are asked to bring drums and other musical instruments for a participatory session which will begin after noon.

“We hope parents will take their children, grandparents will take the grandkids, church groups will make it an outing,” Clarke said. He also wants senior citizen centers to encourage their members to attend.

“Civic, youth groups and other non-profits will see the value in ensuring their members to participate,” he added.

“Our play zone will feature many of the games that we played back home in the Caribbean. Guided and lead by activity coordinators, they will teach and engage the children and adults in the playing of these games.”

“The idea is that the generations will meet in one space and exchange experiences. Grandma will play with her grandkids and teach them games she used to play.”

Braata Folk Singers will lead an impressive lineup of cultural groups scheduled to perform throughout the afternoon starting at 4pm.

“We look forward to the support of the Queens community and the wider New York Tri-State area to ensure the festival’s success.”

Tickets can be reserved online atbankrafestival.com or call 917-6682209.

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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