Mi waan BRAATA!!
At a time when many a Jamaican is concerned about the death of traditional art forms, the Braata Folk Singers reminded us that we can relax, as that will not be happening anytime soon. The New York based group presented ‘Wheel an Come Again’, which could not have been a more appropriate name for only their second concert season. The twelve member group delivered folk song after folk song with such poise and passion that it is obvious why they got their name, as they left the audience wanting more…Jus a lickle braata.
Led by the talented Andrew Clarke, who performed as a chorus member, the group walked us through classics such as “Liza”, “Sammy Dead”, “Banyan Tree” and “Love is a funny likkle ting”. Songs such as “Betta Woman Dan Yu” and “Why Woman Grumble” had the audience in laughter.
Andrew Clarke (Director), getting into the spirit.
The stage was cleverly designed to incorporate many typical elements of Jamaican culture, such as the coal stove with the dutch pot on it, the coconut stand, and various simulations of market stalls. The use of colour was adequate and the costuming very appropriate.
The twelve singers delivered a balanced sound, and neatly executed the choreography with great expression. Outside of a few missed entries, the blend of voices was exceptional. Soprano, Dianne Dixon, seemed to have the crowd in the palm of her hand with every antic and expression she shared. Andrew Clarke featured many times with his clean tenor voice. This was supported by an ensemble cast of church goers, and shoppers in the market, not to mention the cute Matthews sisters, Courtnae and Joelle.
The singers could not have done so well without the support of the amazing and competent band, comprising of keyboardist, Garnet Mowatt (who contributed to some of the arrangements created by Andrew Clarke), Matthew Silpot (Keyboard), Marcus Williams (Percussion), Palomin Hassad (Percussion) and the legendary, Carrot Jarrett (Percussion).
Overall I give the Braata Folk Singers an ‘A’ for a concert well done. I definitely got my money’s worth, not to mention the complimentary food provided in the intermission, and the souvenir program provided on entry to the theatre. I would encourage you to support this talented group as they move forward, ensuring the maintenance of our heritage in the New York/Tri-state area, and I’m certain soon to the rest of the world. The group also has CDs and t-shirts available at a minimal cost. Mi definitely waan braata of the Braata Folk Singers.
Find Braata Folk Singers on Facebook (Like their page): http://www.facebook.com/pages/Braata-Folk-Singers/220816651267952
Photos Courtesy of Wide Vision Photography (firstname.lastname@example.org); Band photo by Mario Guthrie Photography (http://megphotos.tumblr.com)