January 29, 2024
Yasus Afari, organiser of the annual Poetry in Motion (PiM), is encouraging literary enthusiasts to attend the 21st staging of the event on February 25 at the Manchester Golf Club in Mandeville.
“Every song is a poem set to music, so if we’re celebrating songs and music, and we’re not celebrating poetry, a back way wi a go. If you have an interest in Jamaican literature, performing arts, culture, anything within the artistic and creative spectrum, you need to support poetry based on how critical and pivotal it is to the creative process,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
As a special feature for the 21st anniversary, PiM is recognising five community members who have supported the development of the literary, creative, cultural, and performing arts in the communities across central Jamaica, who have fittingly contributed to community ad national development.
As usual, the event will also feature the Golden Tongue Awards, where the top three entrants will be selected.
This year’s festival performers include Horace Andy; Professor Clinton Hutton; Lemon; Steppa, Viv Morris Brown; Mik; Dr Gooden-Monteith; Prim Lewis; Stephen Wise; Dr Ann-Marie Wilmot; Georgia Allen; Aldith Hunkar; Sammoya Banton; Elaine M Campbell; and, of course, founder, artistic director Yasus Afari, as well as Golden Tongue awardees.
There will also be a charity dinner preceding the showcase.
“One hundred per cent of proceeds from that dinner will go towards a charity, the Jasmin Wynter Education Fund. The other charity, Friends in Need, will benefit from the show itself,” he explained.
Yasus Afari also said that preparations have been well underway to make this year’s show a success.
“Preparations have been going very good, I must say thanks to the performers and our sponsors,” he told the Observer.
Born in St Elizabeth, Yasus Afari was influenced early on by folklorist Louise “Miss Lou” Bennett-Coverley and the firebrand Linton Kwesi Johnson.
His career surged in the early 1990s as a member of the Christian Souljahs, a Rastafarian collective from central Jamaica that also included singer Garnett Silk and deejay Tony Rebel. They are usually credited for inspiring a return to conscious themes in dancehall music, which had been dominated by a decade of violence and “slack” content.
In addition to promoting events like the Jamaica Poetry Festival, he has released a number of albums through SenYAcum.
Yasus Afari and Garnett Silk recorded three singles together — I Can See Clearly in 1991, People Dancing in 1992, and I-Pen in 1994.
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