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Jamaica’s ACAFEST 2011 will have Straight Company with visual art twist

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Straight Company for ACAFEST 2011


ACAFEST, Jamaica’s premier gospel festival designed to showcase the diversity and versatility of the human voice, is this Saturday, December 3. From Louisville, Kentucky USA, the legendary Straight Company group returns to be headline performers at the slated venue at Merl Grove High School’s Karram Speid Auditorium, Kingston, Jamaica. This year also an added feature will be an exhibition of Jamaica’s raw talent through the visual arts, following an agreement with the OAaSIS International Foundation.

The Straight Company group’s career spans over 3 decades, since the 1980s. From early, they developed a loyal fan base with hit albums like Kentucky Fried Gospel Vol. 1 and 2 and On Your Mind.

In the 1990s, their unique southern soulful sound earned them a contract with the major Christian recording label Benson Records (responsible for the careers of Fred Hammond, Commissioned, Yolanda Adams plus others). Their debut album, with Benson Records, titled “So Excited” is still listed among the best-selling a’cappella and gospel albums of all times, Other hits include Taff Zali, Put A Little Love in your Heart and the perennial title-track So Excited.

ACAFEST, since, its’ inception in 2003, continues to exceed expectations with guest artistes/groups such as K.E.Y.S., Humble, Acappella Flames (from Montego Bay), internationally acclaimed Acappella group from Nashville, Tennessee.

Director of the event’s organizing company Christian Arts and Entertainment Jamaica, Dwayne Bailey, explains that by tradition the event usually slates one internationally-acclaimed group. This year’s choice is the Straight Company group, as headliners. He is excited about the renewed interest in the a’cappella music genre. He said “There is a fresh global appeal for a’cappella music… NBC’s Sing Off, an a’cappella music competition, now in its second season, remains one of the highest rated music shows in America, and, locally we are proud that after 8 years ACAFEST continues to be the trailblazer in showcasing the immense talent we have here in Jamaica.

ACAFEST 2010 held at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre was one of the most talked about events on the gospel music calendar. This year, the line up of local artistes include K.E.Y.S, AGYEI (from Northern Caribbean University), Merry Brothers, Acappella Flames (from Montego Bay), Voice of Harpers VOH (2011 Rising Star Finalists).

The OAaSIS International Foundation exists to empower the creative mind of today’s youth, as well as to sensitise and develop the creative power of Jamaica. Visual artists volunteering with the foundation will have another opportunity through the new partnership with Christian Arts and Entertainment Jamaica, to showcase their art and if funds are garnered will contribute to OAaSIS projects. So far, the entity’s projects include creative workshops, CXC workshops and a specially tailored library is being built for over 10,000 residents and neighbours of the Edward Piece Community in Saint Catherine.

ACAFEST is being produced by Christian Arts and Entertainment and is sponsored by NCU FM, TBC RADIO, KOOL 97 FM and Visual Vibe.

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Written by Staff Writer