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Nice And Easy with Folk Singers

Observer writer

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Musical director of the Jamaica Folk Singers, Christine McDonald Never, says there is no great appreciation for their value or folk music in Jamaica.

She was speaking with the Jamaica Observer after Sunday's culmination of their 2019 concert season at the Little Theatre in Kingston. It was held under the theme 'Remembering'.

“Too often we downplay the musical value of Jamaican folk singing. They don't understand the work and musicality. People think it's just coming and singing the songs. It is much more than that, there is a lot of quality and beauty in it,” she said.

After overcoming several challenges, including lack of support, the group pulled off a spectacular show which told different stories through song. The five-part presentation was delivered through popular folk songs and some unfamiliar, yet exhilarating numbers.

The show started out with Nice And Easy and ended with the proclamation In God We Trust. In between, there were ring games and play songs and pieces about Jamaican History. The singers also gave a comedic presentation of Court in Session.

Patron Akeem Brooks said he never thought the show would be interesting.

“Coming here tonight, I was very impressed. I'm sure a lot of persons have never heard the folk songs like this. I didn't expect it. You can tell a lot of work goes into this,” he said.

His sentiments were echoed by Taphia Spence, who was entertained.

“I love folk songs and this was an amazing delivery. The men in the show surely brought the excitement,” she said.

McDonald Nevers said positive comments from the audience made her believe the show was exactly what it needed to be.

“The feedback that was received from the patrons reflected an excellent show. Majority of them were pleased with the way we used the mix of familiar and unfamiliar folk songs. They appreciated the way we incorporated everything into the presentation. They were able to hear and sing along to those they know and learn new ones,” she expressed.

Despite the low turnout, McDonald Nevers says she appreciates the support the Folk Singers received over the weekend. She hopes that appreciation, and the genre, will grow.

“We see it as an integral part of our history and it's a story worthy to be shared...the story is still relevant and can still be applied to life today. One thing that we are big on is education through entertainment. There are many lessons to be learnt from folk songs,” she reasoned.

“People just need to come out to experience. There is so much to gain, just give it a chance,” she continued.