Photos from Top to Bottom: Blakka Ellis, Braata Folk Singers, Yoncia, Kinetic Afrique, Dylan, Dr. Sue
Organizers of the 7th Annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival in New York are ensuring that patrons will enjoy a memorable day with a culinary, musical and cultural feast like no other. The event, slated for Sunday, July 23 at Roy Wilkins Park in Queens, will see an array of performers on the Cultural stage before the musical headliners on the Main Stage close out this all-encompassing day of food, fun and fantastic entertainment!
Festival director Abdul Muhsin is fired up about this year’s Main Stage lineup, as the artists were selected, not just for their musical prowess, but for the different eras of uniquely Jamaican music that they represent. Muhsin says, “We are espousing a part of our culture that’s endemic and that we share with the world—our food, our music and our culture. Everybody loves jerk, everybody loves reggae and everybody loves Morgan Heritage, Alison Hinds, Konshens and Barrington Levy.”
Cultural Stage coordinator Bridget Edwards is also excited about the performances she has scheduled. She says, “It’s Jamaica’s 55th year of independence, so we want to make it extra special and memorable for our patrons. With the theme ‘Celebrating Jamaica 55’, performances will be focused on various factors of Jamaican heritage and traditions.”
Beginning at 12:30 pm, the cultural stage will be in full swing, with entertainers dishing out a high level of performances patrons have come to expect from this festival. Singers will include rising stars Yoncia whose music is inspiring and uplifting. Brooklyn based Caribbean Hip-Hop artist Dylan will bring his special flavor to the stage, connecting with the younger patrons. Kinetic Afrique a Queens-based performing arts dance company will dazzle the audience with their colorful costumes and energetic dances rooted in the African tradition.
Comedian and Storyteller Blakka Ellis, from Bello and Blakka fame, will have everyone’s attention with his humorous true to life stories reminiscent of a simpler time. Another not-to-be-missed group is the Braata Folk Singers, performing from their solid repertoire of traditional folk songs which always inspires audience participation of their ring ding style games, a treat many will not want to miss.
The Lion Palm Twinnz will hit the stage with their original song “Jerk Chicken and Sauce” while, Jamaican Folklorist Dr. Sue, no stranger to the New York audience, will be there to grip the audience with her engaging storytelling and poetry. She will also engage writer Hyacinth Holder, who will share Jamaican proverbs from her book “My Papa Used to Say”. This will really take the audience on a cultural trivia ride.
Advance tickets to the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival NY are available online at www.jerkfestivalNY.com or at selected retail outlets in the tri-borough area. Children 10 and under are admitted free. The gates will open at 12 p.m. and patrons are encouraged to come early, enjoy this day of food, and fun.