Denbigh gospel concert on Sunday

By Howard Campbell
Observer senior writer

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

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As he winds down promotion for Sunday's Hi-Pro Denbigh Gospel Extravaganza, Tommy Cowan says the blend of spiritual music and agriculture plays an integral role in his life. While the show has grown in popularity since it was first held in 1996, Cowan hopes fans grasp the contribution of those who till the soil.

“The growth has been consistent in terms of turnout, and the concert is a highlight of the Denbigh presentation, but we are even more satisfied with the significance of having gospel in an agricultural setting,” Cowan told the Jamaica Observer. “This is a thanksgiving; a thanksgiving for the crops, a thanksgiving for the farmers, a thanksgiving for food.”

Held annually for over 60 years, Denbigh Agricultural Industrial and Food Show is the major showpiece for Jamaican farmers. It takes place August 3-5 at Denbigh showground in Clarendon.

Denbigh gives Jamaicans a better sense of how the agricultural sector functions, and attracts buyers from chain supermarkets and smaller retail interests across the country.

Twenty-two years ago, as a new wave of gospel artistes entered mainstream music, Cowan introduced Gospel Extravaganza which consistently attracts over 15,000 people.

Cowan identifies with the agricultural sector. He was born in St Elizabeth, the parish largely regarded as the bread basket of Jamaica, given its bountiful production of ground provision.

His father, Thomas Cowan Snr, was a Methodist minister and farmer from the town of Newmarket in south St Elizabeth. He would pay tithes to the church off returns from his farm.

“So, I've always had great admiration for farmers and the work they put in to feed a country,” he said.

This year's Hi-Pro Denbigh Gospel Extravaganza will again feature a strong line-up of Jamaican acts. They includ Papa San, a former dancehall star who converted to Christianity in the mid-1990s. Kevin Downswell, Marq Johnson, Courtney Cooke, Prodigal Son and revivalist singer Sister Pat are also on the event.

They will be backed by the Transformation Band.

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