Chrysta Jaye Walker (left), PR and marketing manager, Huawei Jamaica, and Aldene Ellis pose with a Huawei P9 at one of the stops along the recent Tru-Juice Moonlight Walk and Bonfire party held in Bog Walk, St Catherine. Some pieces which started out as poetry were later put to music. One was the well-known Keep Cool, which Lewis told me he saw performed in dance by Jamaica’s National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC).
Garvey also wrote hymns and contributed his “fair share” to the UNIA’s hymnody. Unfortunately, there is no collection of the hymns, which included the UNIA anthem Ethiopia, Land of our Fathers, and there is a single collection of Garvey’s verse, which was published posthumously by another Garvey scholar, Tony Martin.
Lewis said that while he has no evidence that Garvey wrote music himself, “he had people around him who put his material to music.” He then showed me a Daily Gleaner advertisement he had recently come across for a “music and poetic programme” produced by Garvey in collaboration with a former bandmaster
of the West India Regiment at the Ward Theatre in 1934.
“At the 1934 convention, he [Garvey] makes a speech saying the race cannot only pay attention to the political, the economic, the religious; it has to pay equal attention to the arts. That’s explicitly stated in the convention held in Kingston. The arts was, for him, the vehicle that would connect with people on a creative level,” Lewis said.
Next week: Garvey the playwright, producer and publisher. UWI Professor Emeritus Rupert Lewis. The Rt Excellent Marcus Garvey, National Hero, founder of the UNIA.