The acclaimed Braata Folk Singers of New York will mark their fifth anniversary celebrations with their 2014 concert production - A Likkle Braata… Goes A Long Way.
There will be of two performances of the show - on Saturday June 21 at 8 pm at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, 153-10 Jamaica Avenue in Queens, and on Sunday June 22 at 6:30 pm at The Kumble Theater at Long Island University, 1 University Plaza, Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn.
The group was founded in June of 2009 by its Artistic Director -award winning Jamaican actor, vocalist and producer Andrew Clarke - to celebrate and preserve Jamaican and Caribbean culture through the performance of the region's folk music.
And as a celebration befitting this milestone year in the group's journey, A Likkle Braata will showcase remounted and restaged performances of some of the group's most popular items as well as exciting new additions to the company's repertoire.
Returning favorites such as Ole Ma'as Charley, Dis Long Time Gyal, Sammy Dead and Yellow Yam, will take their place alongside premiere stagings of Nah Gi Up and Wheel O Matilda, among others.
In keeping with the popular format of choral theater the group has made its own over the past five years, the songs will be presented against the backdrop of a story set in a rural Jamaican village, chronicling the trials and triumphs of its humble residents, who lift their voices in song during times good and bad.
Founder and Artistic/Musical Director Clarke, is both proud and somewhat amazed that five years have passed from the beginnings of Braata to what he now calls "the most significant and inspired Braata production we have done to date."
"Like our show Boonoonoonooos in 2012, which also marked the fiftieth anniversary of Jamaica's independence, A Likkle Braata is yet another milestone event in our young history and for a number of reasons" he says.
"Firstly, as an artistic entity, you usually chronicle your development in five year increments, and, incredibly, we are already at our first. The group was started – very humbly- in the summer of 2009, when we started meeting in the living room of one of our members. And when we reflect on what we have been able to achieve in these five years- artistically and otherwise, this show provides a unique opportunity for us to celebrate the past, assess the present, and look ahead to the future."
"Secondly, the story within the show we have created this year is, in many ways, the story of Braata. The challenges faced by Miss Matilda, Ma'as Charley and the villagers- big dreams, hard times, little money- have been ours as well. But like those villagers, we have used the music as the unifying force that has helped us stay true to ourselves and our goals, no matter the obstacle. It has kept the group going forward, onward, upward."
"Finally A Likkle Braata is our love letter of thanks to our incredibly supportive audience, who have been there from day one and who have grown with and supported us through thick and thin. We want to share this pivotal five year birthday celebration with them, even as we invite them to continue to stay with us for the next five, ten, fifteen years to come."
Clarke is again joined by a respected and highly accomplished creative team that includes award winning playwright Karl O'Brian Williams, in charge of script and staging, and renowned choreographer and actor Jermaine Rowe, responsible for movement.
As Clarke puts it, "We have managed to keep the creative team together for the better part of our existence and there is now a feeling that we have all been nurturing this amazing child that is really starting to find his or her feet. We've been through the teething pains and we crawled for awhile before we could walk. But we are firmly on our feet now and striding ahead with purpose, using all we have learnt to become better, wiser, stronger. And that, more than anything, is what A Likkle Braata…Goes A Long Way is all about."
See also www.braataproductions.org .