WKCR Proudly Presents: The Jamaican Independence Festival
Starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, July 28th, 2012, WKCR will broadcast 43 hours of music from Jamaica spanning the development of more than 50 years of recorded music. August 6, 2012 is the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence from Great Britain. The emergence of Jamaica’s modern recording industry began in the late 1950s followed by the emergence of ska in the early 60s. Ska was the first in a continuum of music genres–rock steady, reggae, dub, lover’s rock, and dancehall–that would have global influence in the next 50 years. The WKCR Jamaican Independence Festival will celebrate this musical and cultural legacy through a 43 hour broadcast running until 3 a.m. Monday, July 30th.
The dates of the festival fall between Jamaican Independence Day and Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie’s birthday on July 23rd. Saturday evening, a segment of the festival will focus on Rastafarian music specifically. The Rastafarian movement, which began in Jamaica in the 1930s after Ras Tafari Makonnen’s coronation as Haile Selassie, was a major cultural force in the Jamaican recording industry as many musicians were Rastafarians. The festival will celebrate the Jamaican community, and educate the larger New York audience in preparation for other cultural events the following week. The festival will be segmented to illustrate specific developments in genres, and periods of Jamaican music. Iconic artists whose influence deserves recognition will receive special one-hour profiles, and Sunday evening will feature a live, in-studio performance by the Brooklyn-based Full Watts Band, which specializes in rock steady and early reggae.
Here is a full schedule of the festival:
8-10 Festival Reggae / Independence Songs
12-14 Reggae Got Soul
14-19 Tributes to Deceased Icons: Alton Ellis, Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown, Sugar Minott, Bob Marley/Peter Tosh 1 hour each.
19-21 Early Dancehall/Rubadub/Early 80’s Sound
21-23 Guest (stay tuned for details)
23-(1 Sunday) Rastafari
(23 Saturday)-1 Rastafari
1-3 Deejay Style
3-6 Digital Reggae
8-10 Jamaican Gospel
12-14 Rocksteady/Early Reggae
14-20 Tributes to Living Icons: Bunny Wailer, Bob Andy, Ken Booth, Leroy Sibles, John Holt, Jimmy Cliff 1 hour each.
20-22 Full Watts Band Live Set/Interview
22-(1 Monday) Harmony Groups
(22 Sunday)-1 Harmony Groups
1-3 Dub Till Dawn
Rara music is a Lenten processional music with strong ties to the Vodou religious tradition. It has been commonly confused with Haitian Carnival since both celebrations involve large groups of dancing revelers in the streets. Rara is performed between Ash Wednesday (the day after Carnival ends) until Easter Sunday (or Easter Monday in some parts of Haiti.) Rara bands roam the streets performing religious ceremonies as part of their ritual obligations to the “lwa” or spirits of Haitian Voodoo. Guédé, a spirit associated with death and sexuality, is an important spiritual presence in Rara celebrations and often possesses an ougan (male Voodoo priest) or mambo (female Voodoo priest) before the band begins its procession in order to bless the participants and wish them safe travels for their nightly sojourns.
“It’s a fascinating time for Haitian music,” said Ned Sublette, author of “The World that Made New Orleans.” “Haitians voted for the music ticket [electing kompa singer Michel Martelly president]. You cannot deny the importance of communication through music in Haiti. And this is something New Orleanians know well.”