Fresh from the success of their first ever performances outside the USA, the New York based Braata Folk Singers, under the Artistic Direction of Jamaican born actor, singer and producer Andrew Clarke, will jumpstart Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary Independence Celebrations in New York with an encore performance of their hugely successful 2011 production, “Wheel An’ Come Again.”
The show will return for one performance only at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, 153-10 Jamaica Avenue in Queens on Saturday, March 10 at 8:00 p.m.
“Wheel An’ Come Again” enjoyed its world premiere and a successful limited run at the Baruch Performing Arts Center at Baruch College in Manhattan in June of last year, and proved so popular that it was revived for an encore performance at The Brooklyn Music School in October.
Last month the show had its international premiere, when it was performed to a standing ovation and capacity crowd in Toronto, Canada at The Kingsway Community Life Centre 5th Anniversary Ball Celebration.
The success of that tour has bolstered demand for the production in New York once again.
The upcoming revival will mark the show’s first ever performance in Queens, at a relatively new and exciting state of the art facility which Clarke believes is a perfect venue for the production.
“We are truly excited to present “Wheel An’ Come Again” in Queens for the first time – especially after our first performances on foreign soil- as it is part of our mandate to take Jamaican and Caribbean culture all over New York, the Tri State area and hopefully, the world,” said Clarke.
“But what is especially thrilling about this latest revival of the show is the performing space. The Jamaica Performing Arts Center is centrally located in the heart of Jamaica, Queens. It’s a wonderful space, with terrific seating for the audience, an expansive stage and first world technical facilities. It gives us the opportunity to present the show at its very best, and also to introduce patrons to an exciting performance space that has been remarkably under the radar until now.”
Set predominantly in a vibrant and colorful Jamaican market on market day, “Wheel An’ Come Again” traces, through song and movement, the activities of a motley group of vendors and shoppers as they gossip, haggle, socialize and occasionally argue their way through the busy day.
The dramatic market backdrop provides a perfect performance platform for many memorable Jamaican and Caribbean folk songs including “Coconut Woman,” “Ruckumbine,” “I’m a Better Woman Than You,” “Don’t Touch Mi Tomato,” “Domino,” “Under The Coconut Tree” and “Lionheart.”
The latest revival of the show will continue Braata’s commemoration of Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary of independence, which began with their trip to Toronto last month, and which will culminate with what Clarke refers to as their biggest commitment to date-their attendance at the 2012 World Choir Games in Cincinnati, Ohio from July 4-14, where they will represent Jamaica.
“Well, in the 50th Anniversary year of Jamaica’s independence, there is no question that our attendance at the World Choir Games will be a milestone event for us in every way,” he said.
“It is the largest choir competition in the world, and for us to make an impact there would be icing on the cake of a remarkable year for us as a group, but even more so for Jamaica. With the London Summer Olympics following a few weeks later, and Jamaica’s actual Independence Day coming in August, we would certainly like to start the celebrations early by winning something for Jamaica in Cincinnati.”
In that respect, the March 10 encore performance of “Wheel An’ Come Again” is of even greater significance as it will serve as a major fundraiser for the group’s trip to the World Choir Games.
As Clarke concludes, “We are really hoping for yet another tremendous show of support and a full house from the people of Queens as we try to make history in Cincinnati come July. The trip is an expensive one and the success of this show will help us significantly along our way.”