Grand Market New York style

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This article by Howard Campbell appeared in Jamaica’s Observer.

In its push to maintain a sense of Caribbean culture among people of West Indian heritage, New York City’s Braata Productions presents ‘Ole Time Grand Market Celebration’ on December 13 at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center in Queens.

The third staging of the day-long event is a showcase of music, cuisine and folk activities synonymous with the West Indian experience.

Andrew Clarke, founder of Braata Productions, said keeping the Caribbean vibe among West Indians, their American children and grandchildren, is critical.

“Second and third generation (West Indians) are very out of touch with traditional culture. Most persons associate Jamaican culture with just dancehall, and while it is a part of contemporary Jamaican culture it is not what I consider authentic, traditional culture which refers to ‘ole time sinting’,” Clarke told the OBSERVER ONLINE.

This year’s Grand Market will again have a diverse cast. Performers include the Braata Folk Singers (Jamaican ensemble), Todo En Uno Caribeño Parang Band (Trinidad and Tobago) and the St Lucian Cultural Organization.

Clarke, a Jamaican, launched Braata Productions in 2009. It has staged a number of cultural events throughout Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, the New York City boroughs where thousands of West Indians have lived since the 1960s.

Their flagship production is the Bankra Caribbean Folk Festival in June. That event focuses on the region’s theatrical history.

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