Jamaica Magazine

Review: BRAATA – The Little Engine that Could!

RawHTML:BRAATA Productions, headed by the dynamic and passionate Andrew Clarke, hosted its second annual fundraiser and award ceremony on Saturday September 14 at the beautifully appointed Jamaica Performing Arts Center in Queens, NY.Now in its 4th year of existence, BRAATA, which I will forever refer to as ‘the little engine that could’, continues to fly the flag for Caribbean arts and culture in the Tri-State area and beyond. The Braata Folks Singers, one branch of Braata Productions, were recent winners of Bronze and Silver medals at the 2012 World Choir Games in Cincinnati. The fundraiser, necessitated by a pressing need to obtain operating funds, also honored two very deserving individuals and one organization. Frederick Skervin, CPA, Braata supporter and owner/operator of his own Accounting firm; The Jamaica Nurses Group (JNG) of New York Inc., formed in 1962 as a response to challenges faced by migrant nurses in NYC and Pat Chin, co-founder of VP Records, New York’s biggest reggae imprint record label. All received Braata awards for their invaluable work, not just in the immigrant community, but also to the fields of arts and culture. The Jamaica Performing Arts Center, occupying the now completely renovated 1858 building which once housed the First Reformed Dutch Church of Jamaica is an aesthetically pleasing space for this type of event and the patrons were seated in an intimate salon-type setting, so arranged to foster conversation and networking. Now afforded 501(c)(3) status, BRAATA’s expansion encompasses three branches – The Braata Folk Singers (mentioned above), tasked with showcasing culturally rich Caribbean folk songs and stories; Braata Theatre Workshop which explores the political aspects of theatre as evidenced by the last production, Trevor Rhone’s’ acclaimed Positive, a play about Aids in Jamaica and the current production “Not About Eve” which was successfully reprised at the fundraiser by Diane Dixon, Hodecia Daley and Carlene Taylor. The final arm of the reorganized group, Braata Education & Outreach is already planning its next major community outreach in the form of a Grand Market to recapture of spirit, excitement and anticipation of a Jamaican Christmas holiday and all the festivities associated therewith. The Grand Market will take place on December 14, 2013 from 1 pm to 7 pm at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center and tickets are priced at a recession busting $10.00. Dubbed a Caribbean Christmas Celebration, the event will include a grand concert at 5pm featuring acts from different Caribbean islands including the Braata Folk Singers, Susan Kennedy & Something Positive of Trinidad & Tobago, Quake USA a group from Grenada and special guest Tony “Melodian” Brevett among many other to be added!

About the author

Sheron Hamilton-Pearson

Sheron Hamilton-Pearson was born in London but now resides in New York. Her popular Conduit Show can be heard Saturdays 11 am to noon at www.theenglishconnectionmedia.com and Sundays 6 - 9 pm at www.e2onair.com