|Tivoli High School dancers perform Celebration/Flirt Anancy at Mello Go Roun’ on Thursday night at the National Arena. (Photos: Garfield Robinson)
The 2007 Festival of the Performing Arts season culminated last Thursday night inside the National Arena in Kingston with Mello Go Roun’, the annual grand melting pot of cultural performances which allowed gold-medal winners in several categories to show off their prize-winning pieces in drama, speech, music and dance, bolstered by some powerful African drumming.
Under the theme ‘Freedom – The Roots and Branches’ and hosted by cultural icons Oliver Samuels and Fae Ellington, the show boasted a diverse line-up of performers who essentially paid tribute to the spirit of our African ancestors.
“Ancestral Riddims” featured a colourful and vibrant traditional dance presentation from Maryland All-Age (Maypole), Liberty Learning Centre (Ballroom Quadrille), Holly Hill Primary (Gerreh) and Morant Bay High (Brukumini).
The dazzling display continued in “The Riddims of Life” featuring Mineral Heights Primary (A Fi Wi Culture) and Lannaman’s Prep (A Fi Wi Rhythm). Ten-year-old Jamilia Smith brought the audience to its feet with her performance of the speech item Teacher Stress, which highlighted the challenges that teachers often face in the Jamaican classroom.
Storyteller Jean Brown performed Anancy and The Prophet followed by the Tivoli High Dance troupe, perennial medal winners, who fully won over the large audience with their Celebration/Flirt Anancy piece.
|Students from Lannaman’s Prep perform A Fi Wi Rhythm at Mello Go Roun’ on Thursday night at the National Arena in Kingston.
Gospel was also represented through dance and song with Eltham High performing their riotously funny Amen Corner, blending DJ Nicholas’ What Kind Of Church Is This? with Shaggy’s controversial hit Church Heathen. Glenmuir High’s Jody-Ann Pantry (now a Digicel Rising Stars finalist) wowed the audience with a sweetly seductive rendition of the popular negro spiritual Soon Ah Will Be Done, while JCDC Gospel Festival Song winner Garfield Reid performed his winning entry Sign Of The Times.
Young Jahzan McLaughlin then took over with her Lament of a Five-Year-Old declaring that she is “running away to the back of the yard” as her life as a five-year-old is way too hard. The Glenmuir Festival Choir then encouraged everyone to Rise Up before a boisterous female trio from Rousseau Primary came on stage demanding a Name Change as too many persons with names beginning with the letter ‘B’ were being killed and they didn’t want to become victims.
The show would not have been complete without popular dance items and the Portmore Dancers (Shock The Energy) and students from Morant Bay High (Dun Di Place) were only too eager to entertain with their fancy footwork and body contortions, much to the delight of the audience.
Gunty, the winner of this year’s JCDC Popular Song Contest, brought the show to a close with his piece Woman A Di Beauty, during which he was joined onstage by the cast of performers.
But, of course, the show could not have ended without some antics from the hosts, Ellington and Samuels, who at one point treated the audience to their versions of the local dances Tek Weh Yuself and the Dutty Wine.
Overall, Mello Go Roun’ 2007 was a night of colour, energy, good vibes, rhythm and originality with emphasis on celebrating the freedom of cultural expressions, driven by the power of the beat.