Sunday November 8, 2009 may just be the most culturally rich event the City of Sunrise, Markham Park will host this year. The 8th Annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival, presented by Air Jamaica and Publix, will not only offer Caribbean gastronomic delights; patrons will also experience the best music, entertainment, fashion, and cultural acts coming out of the region.
Headliner Alison Hinds will spice up the main stage with her chart-topping hits. The “Soca Queen”, who busted on the music scene with the band Square One and is currently riding high on a successful solo career, is set to ‘hot up di place’ with her hit Roll It Gyal and current chart-topper Soca In My Body plus all the songs that won her the Road March title at Barbados’ Crop Over Festival year after year. Definitely a crowd pleaser, the attractive soca songstress will show the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival throngs why she a di bess female in soca!
Another crowd favorite, Byron Lee’s Dragonaires, the Caribbean’s number one dance band, promises to stir up the musical pot with some of their most popular dance numbers. The versatile Caribbean style big band will take audiences on a ride with ska, reggae, dancehall, and some of their own original calypso and soca hits such as Tiney Winey, Dancehall Soca, and Butterfly Soca. Although the Dragon (Byron Lee) himself has passed on, the group’s still bears his musical genius.
Reggae/Rocksteady crooner Ken Boothe will share his treasured collection of Studio One hits that still rock Jamaica today. The internationally recognized singer and songwriter is sure to please with the songs that bring back good memories of home.
Rounding out the main stage offerings is the inimitable saxophonist Dean Fraser. A musician’s musician and talented producer, Fraser’s own musical creations and famous versions of Bob Marley songs will surely electrify audiences to fever pitch. Backing band, Miami-based Benaiah and vocalist Ambilique, will demonstrate why they will soon become household names.
The Festival will also highlight the Caribbean’s indigenous history. Lessons will be learned about Jamaica’s rich history through stories and song of national heroes told by Mrs. Norma Darby and her group the Jamaica Folk Revue. Telling ‘our story’ for more than thirty years, the Jamaica Folk Revue will shine a light on Caribbean indigenous culture.
Adults and children alike will reminisce back to a time when trickster Bro’ Anancy, brought to life by noted Jamaican actor Christopher Daley, used his wit and cunning to get his way. The fun and edutainment will continue with Joan Andrea Hutchinson’s unique yaad poetry and readings in Caribbean life from Miss Ivy. Patrons will also get a sample of Indian culture through music and dance, presented by Jamaican Indians of South Florida. A fashion show showcasing bandana ‘bashment’ style a go be di lick for fashionistas all bout. The cultural immersion will continue with moko jumbie stilt walkers, limbo dancers, and much more.
“The lineup reflects the fact that we are exposing the totality of our culture. We are selling Jamaican culture as a part of the Caribbean whole. Because Jamaican culture really encompasses not just the African influence, but everything else that includes all of our nationals — the Chinese, the Indians, the Jews, the Middle Easterns, the Germans, the Irish, the Scandinavians, we try to fuse all of these cultures and expose the comprehensiveness of who we are, says Abdul Muhsin, Director.