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Jamaica Music Museum Taps Into Mento Sweetness for Reggae Month 2017

Jolly Boys among the mento bands for 'How the Mento So Sweet' Reggae Month 2017

For Reggae Month 2017 the Jamaica Music Museum will be searching for sweetness. The JMM’s annual Groundation events will be exploring the rhythms and message of mento under the theme ‘Mento: Is ow de Music So Sweet’, using film, music and discussions. Groundation 2017 boasts another impressive roster of participants including Colin Channer, Dionne Jackson-Miller and Carlos Malcolm. Three mento bands: The Jolly Boys, Blue Glaze and Mento Madness are also on the line-up

Groundation 2017 will officially open on Saturday, February 5, 2016, with the premiere of Pimento and Hot Pepper: The Mento Story at 1:00 pm. The documentary was directed by Rick Elgood and produced by Bill Monsted.

The first lecture takes place on Sunday, February 6, exploring the relationship between mento and tourism. While the overall theme for the event is ‘Take Her to Jamaica where the Rum Comes From: Mento and the Calypso Phenomenon in Tourism’, it will take place in two parts. The afternoon begins with Dr. Daniel T. Neely’s presentation on the Emergence of Native Music in Jamaican Tourism after which he will be joined by Dr. Matthew Smith. The Jolly Boys will close the afternoon’s session.

Sexologist Dr. Karen Carpenter will take a deep dive into the sassier undertones of mento with ‘Noisy Spring: Mento’s Sexual Innuendos, Double Entendre and Downright Slackness’ on February 12. The Mento Madness Band closes out this session.

Writer Colin Channer takes over the following week with ‘Healing in the Balm Yard: Mento, Obeah and Other Jamaican Folk Forms and Culture. Channer’s presentation on February 19, will be followed by a performance by the Blue Glaze Mento Band.

Groundation 2017 will close out with a conversation between Dionne Jackson Miller and Carlos Malcolm on February 26, as they discuss class and music under the topic ‘Legitimizing Mento: From Country Chune to Uptown Music’. A Carlos Malcolm Tribute band will bring the 2017 edition to a close. 

Groundation 2017 will take place in the Lecture Hall at the Institute of Jamaica, Downtown Kingston at 2:00 pm each week. The annual series has each year explored different elements, topics and genres of Jamaican music.