Jamaica Gleaner

Ja­maica’s 53rd In­de­pen­dence cel­e­bra­tions cli­max with Grand Gala

- Shere­ita Griz­zle Gleaner Writer

JA­MAICA’S PROUD and free cel­e­bra­tions came to an end in fine style as the fes­tiv­i­ties mark­ing the coun­try’s 53rd year of In­de­pen­dence cul­mi­nated with a grand spec­ta­cle at the Na­tional Sta­dium on Thurs­day.

Scores of Ja­maicans turned up at the venue decked out in their na­tional col­ors or the ban­danna and denim mix, flag in one hand and horn in the other, to soak up the show put on by the Ja­maica Cul­tural De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion (JCDC).

Start­ing promptly at 5:30 p.m., the show high­lighted the best in Ja­maica’s cul­ture as a num­ber of per­form­ers gave their best in song, dance and po­etry. The Port­more Dance ensem­ble, An­cient Priest Laud dance min­istry and the Tassa band put in good per­for­mances that were well re­ceived by the au­di­ence. How­ever, the evening be­longed to the vet­er­ans.

Ex­pe­ri­enced acts like Roy Rayon, Eric Don­ald­son, Lovin­deer and Fab 5 stole the show and were the high points in the evening’s en­ter­tain­ment pack­age. The first of that group of vet­er­ans to touch the stage was Eric Don­ald­son. Backed by the ex­pe­ri­enced Fab 5 band, the for­mer fes­ti­val song win­ner got the crowd in cel­e­bra­tion mode and had their full at­ten­tion from the be­gin­ning of his set un­til he made his exit. He thrilled with pop­u­lar hits such as Cherry Oh

Baby and Land Of My Birth, which were clear crowd favourites. He had the mas­sive au­di­ence out of their seats, singing and danc­ing along with him.

The fes­ti­val vibe con­tin­ued when Roy Rayon mounted the stage. Also a for­mer fes­ti­val song win­ner, Rayon kept the

mo­men­tum go­ing with a few of his own hits. He led a sin­ga­long to Give Thanks and Praises, as the au­di­ence belted out the lyrics to the 1987 fes­ti­val song, many say­ing that it was just as en­joy­able to­day as it was when it first won.

Lovin­deer per­formed to­wards the close of the show and was also one of the per­form­ers the au­di­ence ab­so­lutely loved. Songs like Wild Gil­bert and Po­co­ma­nia Day con­nected with the crowd as they danced up a storm in­side the venue.

Kevin Down­swell was another of the night’s high­lights. Per­form­ing hits such as Al­ready Done, Stronger and If Its Not You, the gospel singer did as well as the vet­er­ans to keep the energy lev­els up.

I-Oc­tane and Noddy Virtue were the night’s other per­form­ers, and they, too, put on a good show.

Although there was a lot of tal­ent and cul­ture on dis­play in­side the Na­tional Sta­dium, when the show ended just be­fore 9 p.m., many pa­trons were left with mixed feel­ings about this year’s stag­ing. Some pa­trons felt they were robbed be­cause the show ended ear­lier than pre­vi­ous years, while oth­ers be­lieved that, com­pared to pre­vi­ous stag­ings, this year was one of the weak­est. Still, there were those who en­joyed the show, say­ing that the JCDC man­aged to, once again, put on a show peo­ple would re­mem­ber for years to come.

Fab 5 closed the show af­ter a dis­play of fire­works, but not be­fore they were recog­nised by the JCDC for their con­tri­bu­tion to mu­sic. Prime Min­is­ter, the Hon Por­tia Simp­son Miller and Min­is­ter of Youth and Cul­ture Lisa Hanna pre­sented the award to An­drew Camp­bell, son of band mem­ber Frankie Camp­bell.

 ?? PHOTOS BY GLADSTONE TAY­LOR/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER ?? Grand Gala cel­e­bra­tions in full ef­fect.
PHOTOS BY GLADSTONE TAY­LOR/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER Grand Gala cel­e­bra­tions in full ef­fect.
 ??  ?? Fab 5 band was recog­nised by the JCDC for their out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to mu­sic. Prime Min­is­ter Por­tia Simp­son Miller (left), and Min­is­ter of Youth and Cul­ture Lisa Hanna (right), pre­sented the award to An­drew Camp­bell, son of band mem­ber Frankie...
Fab 5 band was recog­nised by the JCDC for their out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to mu­sic. Prime Min­is­ter Por­tia Simp­son Miller (left), and Min­is­ter of Youth and Cul­ture Lisa Hanna (right), pre­sented the award to An­drew Camp­bell, son of band mem­ber Frankie...
 ??  ?? Eric Don­ald­son dur­ing his per­for­mance at the re­cent Grand Gala in­side the Na­tional Sta­dium.
Eric Don­ald­son dur­ing his per­for­mance at the re­cent Grand Gala in­side the Na­tional Sta­dium.
 ?? PHOTOS BY GLADSTONE TAY­LOR/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER ?? I-Oc­tane brought his usual high energy to the Grand Gala stage.
PHOTOS BY GLADSTONE TAY­LOR/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER I-Oc­tane brought his usual high energy to the Grand Gala stage.
 ??  ?? Rep­re­sent­ing with the Ja­maican flag.
Rep­re­sent­ing with the Ja­maican flag.
 ??  ?? Kevin Down­swell lifted the spirit in­side Grand Gala 2015
Kevin Down­swell lifted the spirit in­side Grand Gala 2015

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Jamaica