Virtual Last Sundays to ft. Tori Love

On August 30, 2020 the National Gallery of Jamaica will be hosting our virtual Last Sundays on our YouTube and Instagram channels. This month we will be featuring the musical artist Tori Love and some more short interviews from the Jamaica Jamaica! opening. The videos will premiere at 1:30pm.

Victoria ‘Tori Love’ Taffe is a daughter of the soil and musician by blood. She is currently a student of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Music Performance to embolden and refine her natural affinity to music. Her dream is to continue sharing her music to bring hope to those in the world most in need of it.

Tori Love Official

Tori’s academic prowess at the Edna Manley School of Music has afforded her many musical awards, scholarships and the honor of representing her school on several platforms. This has included a tribute to the late Edward Seaga at the Little Theatre and a featured solo act for the Prime Minister’s Youth Awards in 2019. She has also worked with both upcoming and established artistes such as Rockaz Elements, Alicia Taylor, Naomi Cowan, Richie Spice and Wayne Marshall among others.

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Virtual Last Sundays to ft. Emily Ruth and Evad Campbell

On Sunday June 28, 2020, the National Gallery of Jamaica will once again present its virtual Last Sundays programme on our YouTube channel and Instagram account. This second video in our online series will premiere at 1:30pm.

This month we will be featuring musical performances by Emily Ruth and Evad Campbell.  The programme will include brief interviews from the opening of our current Jamaica Jamaica! exhibition. Originally launched at the Philharmonie de Paris in 2017,  the exhibition explores the origins of Jamaican music, its development and its rise to international acclaim. 

Born in Manchester, Jamaica, Emily Ruth comes from an artistic family and had developed a love for the performing arts at an early age. Having devoted much of her life to music and dance, Emily went on to complete a Master’s degree in Applied Music Psychology at Roehampton University in London. Her main focus is teaching piano, cello and group music for young children at The Music House and creating music programmes for individuals with developmental challenges. She is currently a member of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Jamaica (POJ) as the principal cellist; is the choir director and a pianist at Hope United Church and plays for functions across the island.

Evad Campbell is a keyboardist, musical director, arranger and soundtrack producer born and raised in Kingston. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music Degree at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA., and recently received the Berklee Achievement Scholarship Award which recognizes students who have demonstrated Academic, personal and professional success while at the college. During school breaks, he returns to Jamaica and works with groups such as the Ashe Company, UWI Panoridim Steel Orchestra, Bethel Steel Orchestra and his childhood music school, The Music House

For more educational and entertaining content subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on:

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Introducing First Saturdays: Hard Road to Travel

First Saturdays Flyer

Beginning in March 2020, the National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) will be hosting a film series entitled First Saturdays, which will be held on the first Saturdays of March, April, May and June of this year. This film series has been initiated as a part of the public programming associated with the Jamaica Jamaica! exhibition, which opened to the public on February 2, 2020 and is scheduled to close on June 28, 2020.  

The NGJ will commence the film series on Saturday March 7, 2020 with the documentary film Hard Road To Travel: The Making of the Harder They Come, by Jamaican film-maker Chris Browne. Hard Road To Travel explores the two-year journey undertaken by Jamaican film-maker Perry Henzell to film and release the iconic 1972 film The Harder They Come, for which Henzell was both director and co- writer alongside Trevor Rhone. The documentary highlights the struggles of Jamaica’s early film industry, while simultaneously providing a lens through which a period of Jamaican music can be explored and interpreted. Chris Browne’s own filmography includes another outstanding Jamaican feature film, Third World Cop (1999), as well as his more recent Ghett’a Life (2011). 

The film screening of Hard Road To Travel: The Making of the Harder They Come is scheduled to commence at 1:30pm. Attendance to the event is free of cost and is open to the public. Visitors are also being encouraged to view the Jamaica Jamaica! exhibition prior to the beginning of the film. For further details, contact the National Gallery of Jamaica at (876) 618-0654, (876) 922-1561 or (876) 922-1563.

Last Sundays to ft. Heavyweight Rockaz

Heavyweight Rockaz_Flyer

The National Gallery of Jamaica’s Last Sundays programming for February 23, 2020 will feature the most recently opened exhibition Jamaica Jamaica! and a musical performance by Heavyweight Rockaz.

Co-curated by Sebastien Carayol  (Independent Curator), Herbie Miller (Director/Curator Jamaica Music Museum) and O’Neil Lawrence (Chief Curator National Gallery of Jamaica), the exhibition takes a look at the beginnings of Jamaican music and how it evolved into an international phenomenon. Utilizing art and artifact, video and interactive technology, it looks at the musical genres of Kumina, Revival, Mento, Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae, Dub and Dancehall as well as the local culture and figures that influenced their development.

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Interlocking to produce musical patterns you can feel through a sound system, the drum and bass are core elements of Reggae Music. As a Drum ‘n’ Bass duo Heavyweight Rockaz uses this synergy to create relatable music that you can groove to. Members Unga Barunga and WelshBass started a new phase of their musical journey in 2013 as Heavyweight Rockaz and had their debut performance at Wickie Wackie Live in December 2014.

The two met in early 2000 while still attending college and have been collaborating since with the goal of unifying others through their music. They have worked with the likes of Tanya Stephens, Jesse Royal and Jimmy Cliff and have performed at venues locally and internationally. Heavyweight Rockaz aims to release new music this Reggae Month including an album and the song Sweet Sensation featuring Jesse Royal.

Doors will open to the public from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. The performance will begin at 1:30 p.m. As is customary on Last Sundays, entry is free, but contributions to the Donations Box located in the lobby are appreciated. 

These donations help to fund our Last Sundays events. The National Gallery’s Gift Shop and Coffee Shop will also be open for business.

Jamaica Jamaica! to Open on Sunday February 2, 2020

Jamaica Jamaica - Sassafrass

– How our music conquered the world.

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The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, the National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) and the Jamaica Music Museum in association with La Philharmonie de Paris are pleased to present the exhibition Jamaica, Jamaica!, which opens on February 2, 2020 and closes on June 28, 2020. Doors open at 11:00am and formalities begin at 3:00pm. We will also feature the DJ Iset Sankofa.

Initially launched at Philharmonie de Paris in 2017 and titled after the eponymous 1985 hit song by Brigadier “The General” Jerry, Jamaica, Jamaica! examines how the tiny Caribbean island of Jamaica has become an extraordinary force in the world heritage and history of music.

Jamaica, Jamaica! brings together rare memorabilia, photographs, visual art, audio recordings and footage unearthed from Jamaica’s best museums and most elusive collectors and studios, while collaborating with legendary local visual artists to convey the essence of a true Jamaican music experience.

Teeming with creativity and innovation, Jamaica has produced some of the major musical currents in today’s popular music landscape; yet, its rich history and diversity is often overshadowed by its most famous icon, reggae superstar Bob Marley. This exhibition aims at showcasing a broader vision that has allowed the world to know the island’s music, by digging deep into its past and present in search for the roots of “rebel music”, beyond the cliché and the postcard.

The most ambitious exhibition ever staged on the topic, Jamaica, Jamaica! celebrates the musical innovations born on the island in its specific historic and social contexts, unveiling the story behind the musical genres of kumina, revival, mento, ska, rocksteady, reggae, dub and dancehall – as well as the impact of the local sound system culture, street culture, and visual arts on today’s global pop culture.

“What about the half/that’s never been told?”, Jamaican singer Dennis Brown wondered. Complete with interactive installations, events and panels throughout its tenure, Jamaica, Jamaica! seeks to address and pay homage to the untold half, thus explaining how and why, born from a tiny island scarred by slavery and colonialism, Jamaica’s music has been able to conquer the world.

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Papa Screw – Black Scorpio Headquarters, 1985 Image: Beth Lesser

EXHIBITION HIGHLIGHTS

  • Interactive installations, an “operate it yourself” sound system and touch-screen riddim navigator.
  • Dedicated web radio and app, “Radio Jamaica”.
  • A true multimedium exhibition, Jamaica, Jamaica! mixes classic fine arts (Mallica “Kapo” Reynolds, Everald Brown, Sydney McLaren), contemporary art (Ebony Patterson, Matthew McCarthy, Leasho Johnson.), mural art (“Bones” Williams, Errol “Gideon” Reid, Ras Lava), photographs (Peter Dean Rickards, Beth Lesser, Arthur Gorson, Cookie Kinkead, Peter Simon), audio, video and musical artifacts – including equipment from Studio One, King Jammy’s and Randy’s studios, Peters Tosh’s M16 guitar, Count Ossie’s percussions, drum kits from the Skatalites and Sly and Robbie, and Hedley Jones’ guitar.

PROGRAMMES

  • There will be a full range of programming, including film screenings, and artist and curator talks.
  • The regular National Gallery Last Sunday programme on the last Sunday of every month continues. Each one will explore a different aspect of the exhibition.
  • Special Language Group Tours. Free German, French, Japanese and Jamaican Language tours available by appointment.
  • Children’s Musical Programming on Saturdays.

SECTIONS

 

The exhibition is articulated in six sections, each section focusing on a key moment or a specific aspect of Jamaican music.

All photos from an original exhibition presented at the Musée de la Musique – La Philharmonie de Paris. 

Skalatlites Drum Kit

Exhibition view featuring the Skatalites Drum set

INTRODUCTION: Seeing Sounds, Hearing Images

A prelude and a synthesis, this introductory section juxtaposes two elements that have made Jamaican music unique: its secular aspect and its ritual aspect – by showcasing together iconic items of sound system culture (equipment, photographs, video), and spiritual musical instruments. This section will also feature a monumental series of portraits of Jamaican iconic music makers from all eras and musical styles – courtesy of downtown legends, mural artists Ras Lava, “Bones” Williams and Errol “Gideon” Reid.

1— Freedom Sounds

The musical heritages born from slavery are showcased in this historical room: from revival, kumina, and the maroons, all the way to Count Ossie’s drummers and nyabinghi music. This section incidentally examines how these ritual genres mixed up with local folk and (seemingly) more innocuous mento drew the blueprint of Jamaica’s own “rebel music.”

2— Voices of Independance

Ska-talites AlbumWhen founding members of The Skatalites met at Alpha Boys School, a revolution happened: for the first time, the music “from the streets” entered the musical spectrum. From a Jamaican blend of jazz to ska and its next embodiment, rock steady, these new sounds preceded reggae throughout the 1960s, echoing the island’s physical independence from England.

3— Studios: The Echo Chamber

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Studio One Reproduction in Paris

As ska entered the picture, Jamaica’s music industry became a crucial part of daily life, intertwining music and social issues – as a subsection about cult movie “The Harder They Come” reminisces. This section is a voyage through Jamaica’s top studios over the years: from Studio One to the synthetic sounds of Sly and Robbie, via Lee “Scratch” Perry’s Black Ark, Randy’s, and King Jammys.

4— Get up, Stand up

At the beginning of the 1970s, Rasta philosophy seeped through the whole music fraternity, gathering more and more steam beyond the strict nyabinghi drummer circles. From then on, why would the freshly born reggae, also known as “roots music”, call on to Jamaican Pan African visionary Marcus Garvey and Ethiopian Emperor Hailé Sélassié? This section details who these two often-quoted figures are, and their everlasting presence in Jamaica’s popular music.

5 — Trench Town to the World

Bob Marley in His Tuff Gong studio

Bob Marley in his home-studio Tuff Gong, 1978. Image: Adrian Booth

A social experiment of communal living eventually scarred by political violence, Trenchtown’s tenement yards contributed to the musical destiny of Jamaica. Honouring Trenchtown’s greatest, this section explains how Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer brought reggae to the world from their humble beginnings in this West Kingston neighbourhood.

6 — Dancehall Stylee

DANCEHALL_Bounty Killer by Peter Dean Rickards

Peter Dean Rickards – Bounty Killer

Following Bob Marley’s passing in 1981, Jamaica once again invented a new musical paradigm – a new genre called dancehall. Dancehall felt as if the country wanted to talk to itself again – by celebrating the sound system culture it created and had perfected over decades, and its bubbling visual, linguistic and graphic creativity. From the early days of dancehall culture to its most contemporary icons and movements, this last section showcases the visionary pioneer spirit born in Jamaica that global pop music has been tapping into – without always crediting its origins.

About the Curators

Sebastien Carayol, Independent Curator. Born and raised in France, Sebastien Carayol initially discovered Jamaican music through the power of Jamaican-English sound systems in London and developed his passion from this initial experience. His quest led him to interview key characters in reggae’s history for music magazines such as Wax Poetics, Natty Dread, Riddim, Vibrations. He directed the acclaimed 10-episode documentary series Sound System for the ARTE channel (France/Germany) in 2017. As a curator, he has developed exhibitions on the topic in Paris, France (Jamaica, Jamaica!, Philharmonie de Paris, 2017; Say Watt, le Culte du Sound System, La Gaîté Lyrique, 2013) and Los Angeles (Hometown Hifi, Sonos Studios, 2015).

Herbie Miller, Jamaica Music Museum.  Herbie Miller is a cultural historian specializing in slave culture, Black identity and ethnomusicology. He is the Director/Curator of the Jamaica Music Museum where he introduced the popular Grounation series. Miller managed reggae stars The Skatalites, Toots & the Maytals, Third World and Peter Tosh. In a career that spans over 40-years, he has produced exhibitions, concerts and recordings of ska, reggae and jazz, locally and internationally. He also composed and produced the critically acclaimed “Aluta Continua” done by reggae artist Big Youth. Two of his songs, “Feel It” and “Survival Plan” were used in major Hollywood movies Something Wild and The Manchurian Candidate.  A prolific writer, Herbie Miller has had his essays published in journals, magazines and as book chapters.

O’Neil Lawrence, National Gallery of Jamaica. O’Neil Lawrence is the Chief Curator of the National Gallery of Jamaica, and also has curatorial oversight for their western branch National Gallery West. He was the lead curator on the exhibitions Seven Women Artists (2015), Masculinities (2015), I Shall Return Again (2018) and Beyond Fashion (2018). Lawrence is an artist whose photography and video work has been included in several international exhibitions. His research interests include race, gender and sexuality in Caribbean and African Diasporal art and visual culture; memory, identity and hidden archives; photography as a medium and a social vehicle; Caribbean and general art history and museums and other public cultural institutions. He has contributed essays to publications on Caribbean art most recently Histórias Afro-Atlânticas Vol 2 Antologia (MASP 2018). In 2018 he served on the Board of the Davidoff Art Initiative and he is currently on the Advisory Council of the Caribbean Art Initiative.

About the National Gallery of Jamaica

The National Gallery of Jamaica, established in 1974, is the oldest and largest public art gallery in the Anglophone Caribbean. It has a comprehensive collection of early, modern and contemporary art from Jamaica along with smaller Caribbean and international holdings. A significant part of its collections is on permanent view. The NGJ has an active exhibition programme, which includes retrospectives of work by major Jamaican artists, thematic exhibitions, guest-curated exhibitions, touring exhibitions that originate outside of the island, and, its two recurrent national exhibitions, the Kingston Biennial and the NGJ Summer Exhibition. The NGJ offers a range of educational services, including guided tours, lectures and panel discussions, and children’s art programmes and also operates a gift shop and coffee shop.

The National Gallery of Jamaica is a Division of the Institute of Jamaica, an Agency of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.