Thursday, 4 December 2014

EDITOR'S CHOICE: This week's round-up of cool picks, great performances and must-see clips

RECALLING THE FIRST PEOPLE: Writer Fred Kennedy, whose first work, Daddy Sharpe: A Narrative of the Life of Samuel Sharpe (2008), was received with critical acclaim, may have found his niche in historical fiction. In his forthcoming novel, Huareo: Cacique of Yamaye, the veteran educator-turned-author unearths the way of life of the Tainos living in Jamaica during the 15th and 16th centuries, using literature to construct a modern interpretation of their history. According to Ian Randle Publishers, who are releasing the 400-page paperback soon, Kennedy succeeds in presenting Jamaica's first inhabitants not as the gullible, benign race that some historians would have us believe, but as a fiercely proud and confident clan who resisted the conquistadors who came on a quest for God, gold and glory. 

MAKING HISTORY: The buzz surrounding Selma (named for that storied town in Alabama) is that it has the heft and gripping storyline to bag multiple awards in the run-up to next year's Academy Awards. This latest cinematic rendering of Dr. Martin Luther King's tireless efforts at the height of civil rights unrest in the United States is anchored by a critically praised lead turn by David Oyelowo as the iconic freedom-fighter and strong supporting work by Oyelowo's The Butler co-stars Oprah Winfrey (who co-produced the film) and Cuba Gooding Jr, and Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton, In The Bedroom). Officially opening in January, Selma has been hailed as the season's must-see film for Black audiences. Watch the trailer. 

SPEAKING HER MIND: Modern dancehall vixens don't come any more audacious than Grace Hamilton, better known to fans as Spice. In the wake of her sizzling performance in Destiny (her feature-film debut), the versatile deejay has just released the 5-track EP So Mi Like It, featuring her signature mix of female empowerment and hardcore lyrics. Highlights include "Conjugal Visit" (which gets a cameo from "Rampin Shop" collaborator Vybz Kartel) and "Whine Inna Di Dance," which samples a flavourful old-school dancehall riddim. Stream the EP here. 

ROCKING THE CITY: Back for a second instalment, Kingston Music Week is bringing a wave of energy and excitement to the capital throughout this week, with concerts scheduled for the Countryside Club, The Essence, Tracks and Records, Triple Century and the School of Music, to name only a few of the participating venues. Patrons are in for a treat. Bounty Killer, Duane Stephenson, Tanya Stephens and the Jamaican Folk Singers are among the acts sure to draw large numbers and help make the week another memorable one. For more on KMW, go to rjrgroup.com/kgnmusicwk.

STANDING OUT: Much of the comic relief audiences experienced while watching Bad Apple at the Theatre Place recently came at the hands (and light tongue) of Shauneca Woollery, a young lady of considerable ability and can-do spirit who played her busybody character, Poochie, to the letter. Unsurprisingly she's on our Watch List for 2015, along with costars Shantol Jackson and Nicholas Amore. Here's hoping this talented trio make good on the promise they have shown. 




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