My Big Fat Jamaican Wedding

Counting down to the big day

Jump for Jamaica 50!

on July 29, 2012

This year is Jamaica’s 50th year of Independence from Britain.  Celebrations are underway.  This is a huge deal since we Jamaicans tend to be very patriotic and proud of our nation.  Not just on the island but in the Jamaican diaspora.  There have been several events here in Canada already and more to come.

This video features some famous Jamaican-Canadians reflecting on their Jamaican heritage.

Plus, my choir the Heritage Singers will be performing at a swanky Jamaica 50 gala and dinner that is $ 500 a ticket.  I am sad that I can not participate in these events due to my limited time (and energy) to learn all the songs and perform on the day.  My energy and time are going towards planning and putting the finishing touches for our wedding, a very significant event I’d say.  At least I will get to see the Jamaica 50 Festivities first hand in Jamaica.  A lot of Jamaicans from the diaspora (mostly in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain) are heading home this summer which means that the airlines have taken full advantage of this opportunity to capitalize on the increase in travellers.  Our destination package rate was higher than our agent has seen it in the past and flight rates have been unusually high for this time of year since summertime is typically Jamaica’s low season.  Not this year!

Our Big Fat Jamaican Wedding will incorporate two Jamaican holidays.  First, there is Emancipation Day on August 1.  According to wikipedia:

The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 ended slavery in the British Empire on August 1, 1834. Emancipation Day is widely observed in the British West Indies during the first week of August. In many Caribbean countries the Emancipation Day celebration is a part of Carnival, as the Caribbean Carnival takes place at this time.

Second, there is Independence Day on August 6 marking the day in which  Jamaica received full independence  from Britain in 1962, fifty years ago.  The early 1960s were also the time in which the new country developed its own musical styles– ska and rocksteady– which mirrored the optimism and rhythm of the time.  This was an important time musically since these genres laid the worldwide stage for reggae music.

In true Jamaican fashion, there are several songs written to mark these occasions.  One such song is When August Morning Come which is a beautiful folk song celebrating emancipation.  The lyrics are:

When August morning come

Me want to be free

When August morning comes

They say we must free

Take off the slavery chains

And give we back we name

Read the paper now

And mek we walk free

Here are also some songs specifically for the Jamaican 50th anniversary.  Warning: Some of the lyrics to the songs are a little corny.  However, it is so evident the sincerity, pride, and creativity of the people.

I have no idea who sings this song.

Jump for Jamaica is by the Jamaican All-Stars.  I wish they had a music video.  It was made here in Canada with a lot of Jamaican celebs both locals from here like Kreesha Turner, Kardinal Offishall, and Jay Douglas and from the island like Marcia Griffith and Beenie Man.

You can even learn the Jump for Jamaica dance here.  (There are about a million Jamaican dances for every occasion.)

Here is the Find the Flag In Your Heart song by local Jamaican artists.  Earlier I had said, I have no idea who sings this song.  If you click on the song, you will see a long list of singers including  Ken Boothe, Freddie McGregor, Capleton, and Tarrus Riley.

This one is called On A Mission and includes artists like Shaggy, Damian Marley, and Tarrus Riley.

This one is called Yeh Man Jamaica by Lenya Wilks.

This one is called Jamaica 50 by the Tennors.

This one is my absolute favourite and called Come Home Jamaica by Grub Cooper of the Fab 5, singers of Jamaican Woman.  This style of music is a little different and features a modern mento, the genre that preceded ska, rocksteady, and reggae.

Then there is this one called Sweet Jamaica by Mr. Vegas, Shaggy, and Josey Wales.  This song is not specifically for the 50th anniversary but it is certainly patriotic.  This is a beautiful music video and while watching it, I realize I can’t wait to be there.

So this is the list folks.  Listen at your leisure and I hope you’ll be in Jamaica soon.

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