By Leonora Williams
The 15th Annual Emancipation Concert, held at the historic Brimstone Hill on Sunday 12th August, was as usual packed with local talent, encompassing, music, dancing, spoken word and drumming. The programme this year was preluded by session by local folklore – Moko Jumbies, Clowns and Masquerades and Mummies – showcasing this aspect of our culture. The playing of the national anthem on pan by Steven Richards heralded the commencement of proceedings proper. The invocation was conducted by Rev Chris Archibald and welcome remarks were given by Sir Probyn Innis, President of the Brimstone Hill Fortress and National Park Society.
This year’s programme was dedicated to Masud Sadiki friend, supporter and frequent performer at past concerts. The concert got on the way before the large audience with some stirring performances.
The Defence Force Drum Corp led off with several pieces demonstrating the skill of these young people. The programme proceeded with drama in the form of a skit by the Poinciana Theatre Company, a poem by noted poet and dramatist Loughlin Tatem and song by Delrose.
The Emancipation Concert is noted for its eclectic blend of well known and new performers on the local scene and this year’s concert was no exception. The poets this year were excellent, again a blend of new and those we have come to love, including Jihan Williams with a piece on the equality of the sexes entitled “A More Level Playing Field”; Lisimba – who in his musings on Emancipation went back from present day to biblical time; newcomer Elsie Harry with “We’re just too Different” a reflection how we often let minor differences separate and divide us; Ken Crossley with Berecia Cranstoun (a fine young performer) who gave a moving tribute to Masud; Brimstone Hill Society’s Cameron Gill also contributed a poem dedicated to the memory of Masud who died tragically earlier this year – a great loss to the Federation and the world.
The vocalist were also well represented The Methodist Men’s Commission, Jaciema Flemming, Delrose, Royaliez Band, Arnold Veira accompanied by his young son Naheem on guitar, Sankofa, Colleen Duncan, Navigator, Charlie, Bernard Vanterpool and the Havana Express Duet all turned in excellent performances that went on well after the sun had set.
Our folklore was again on display with the Mummies giving a performancee of strength and oratory in their depiction of Giant D’Espere. The dance art form could not be overlooked with the Marcia Jeffers dancers putting in great pieces of African dance dressed in outfits representing the national dress. The sound imitations of Javern (Dwag) Richardson had the audience roaring with laughter as he entertained with the antics of his bad dwag.
The evening closed out with thanks to all the performers, and closing remarks by Mr Cameron Gill General Manager of the Brimstone Hill Fortress and National Society, who also thanked the audience for turning out once again to show their support and to continue the tradition of honouring our ancestors.