Emmanuel ‘Bo’ Durand receiving his plaque. Photo credit: Gregory Rabess
The following article was written by Gregory Rabess and published in Dominica Vibes, Dec. 22, 2011.
One the high points of the Waraka Séwinal Festival held in Atkinson last weekend was the awarding of a plaque of recognition to séwinal stalwart, Emmanuel ‘Bo’ Durand.
Mr. Durand received the award at the Grand Séwinal Concert held on Saturday evening December 17 for his contribution to developing and promoting the séwinal tradition. He has been involved in the séwinal tradition for over forty years. A multi-instrumentalist, Mr. Durand plays the steel pan, accordion, tanbou, gwaj and boom; typical instruments used in séwinal.
The séwinal tradition runs very strong in the Durand family. His grandfather Mr. Emery Zake Durand and uncle Medland Durand and his father Rockson Durand were the leading séwinal musicians during the 1940s and 50s.
Bann Akayo featuring Emmanuel Durand on the Accordion. Photo credit: Gregory Rabess
According to Mr. Durand, he started ‘running séwinal’ from his teens. He recalls the use of steel pans in the late 50s as part of séwinal. He was a member of a steel pan group in Atkinson.
The group went from house to house in Atkinson and the Kalinago Territory entertaining families and spreading the joy of Christmas. In more recent years, he concentrated on the accordion and tanbou, performing with his own group of musicians and with Bann Akayo.
After receiving the plaque of recognition, Mr. Durand entertained the crowd with a guest performance on the accordion.
The festival organizers, the Atkinson Village Council and the Waraka Séwinal Festival Committee intend to recognize other séwinal stalwarts at future editions of the Waraka Sewinal Festival.
The following article appeared in Dominica News Online, in it homage is passed to musical icon Jeff Joseph who passed away on Wed. Oct. 24, 2011.
Culture Minister Justina Charles said Dominica’s Goodwill Ambassador and cultural icon Jeff Joseph should be remembered as a National Hero.
Jeff Jo died at a Martinique hospital on Wednesday following two major surgeries.
“It has been a shock and it’s a sad occasion for the people of Dominica. As a musician and cultural icon he has inspired many people in Dominica and even Martinique and Guadeloupe. His contribution to the development of Creole music and Cadance-lypso is particularly most phenomenal. His talents his dedication and perseverance have yielded legendary hit songs over a period of three decades. We know that he dedicated his whole life to music. Through his music he promoted love, togetherness, Caribbean unity while remaining true to his Dominican culture,” she said.
According to Charles, when he performed at the last WCMF, no one knew that would have been his last performance.
Jeff Jo in action at WCMF
“We know we have lost a patriotic son, a cultural icon and a hero,” she said.
Meantime Dublin Prince has added her voice to the number of Dominicans expressing sympathy to the family.
“When he was in Dominica for the WCMF, I never thought that this would be the last hug I was getting from Jeff. We have lost an icon. We will miss him because the country has lost an icon. He has taken Dominica to the highest level in terms of Cadance music,” she explained.
She said the Dominican people should never forget a man like Jeff Jo.
“The people of the west coast should always remember him too. The young artist should take a leaf from his music because he was a true ambassador,” she said.
Yvette Galot President of the Commission for Culture and Patrimony of the Regional Council of Martinique described Jeff Jo as “an illustrious son” and an artiste “who linked us together.”
“A singer of cadence-lypso, Jeff Joseph has re-established our links and connections to the Caribbean,” she said.
“For all off us who are attached to his music and to his immense stage presence, say on tracas,an deba!” she noted. “An artiste who linked us together we say thank you to him and pay homage for his inestimable contribution. May his memory remain with us so that our knowledge and understanding of our Caribbean identity be preserved and developed.”
Condolences had been pouring in after reports of the passing of the musical icon yesterday.
Events Director of the Dominica Festivals Committee Nathalie Clarke-Meade said she will remember Joseph, popularly known as Jeff Jo, for expanding her knowledge of Creole.
“He was such an energy. He taught me all I know about the history of Creole,” she said emotionally.
Jeff Jo, of St. Joseph, has been known for marketing the World Creole Music Festival in Martinique and Guadeloupe. His colleague Leroy Wadix Charles said Jo’s death will signify a tough time for those who have worked to preserve the Creole language.
“There was a time when people didn’t want Creole spoken on the radio. Many cadence-lypso songs came out in the Creole language and many different messages were in those songs,” he said.
Jeff Jo was on life support at the intensive care unit of a Martinique hospital. His family confirmed he had been unconscious since Tuesday and was taken off life support about 2 p.m. on Wednesday. He died around 2:30 pm.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has described Jeff Jo as a true ambassador to Dominica, and said his death has left Dominica in shock.
Parliamentary representative for St. Joseph Kelvar Darroux has also expressed sympathies.
Fans of Jeff Jo here and overseas have been sharing their thoughts of the artist on radio.
The Grammacks New Generation artist performed at the 15th World Creole Music Festival this year.
Jeff Joseph was born in the village of St. Joseph and his musical career began around 1972 in Guadeloupe. From that base he has toured the world with a focus on the Antilles.
Many of his classic recordings were done in the legendary Debs Studio in Martinique and he had added various Caribbean styles to his musical identity. Not only was Jeff a lead member of the original Gramacks, the follow up Gramacks International, but he was also a founding member of the Antillean group Volt Face along with Georges Decimus.
WELCOME… to fifteen years of pulsating rhythms! DOMINICA’S WORLD CREOLE MUSIC FESTIVAL sets the stage for you to make a memory and come dancing with us on the Nature Island of the Caribbean THANKS to our headline sponsor DIGICEL…the Bigger, Better Network
DOMINICA’S WORLD CREOLE MUSIC FESTIVAL created in 1997 has brought to you Creole music for fifteen years. The festival has grown to be the Caribbean region’s main avenue for exposing the various genres of popular music forms in the Creole speaking world. This mix of fusion composition laced with generous samplings of Dominica’s folk traditions, Creole cuisine, a great festival atmosphere, and the hospitality of Dominican people make it a unique celebration check out the Discover Dominica Authority’s (www.discoverdominica.com) for things to do while on island.
DOMINICA’S WORLD CREOLE MUSIC FESTIVAL brings you melodic genres rooted in harmonious fusion from the countries of the Creole-speaking world. Musical forms that have gained exposure and dominance at the festival include Cadence-lypso, Kompas, Zouk, Soukous, Bouyon, even Zydeco (from the US state of Louisiana). Here’s your chance to come on down and join us.
Musical line up this year Friday 28 – 8:30pm to 4am… Kolo Barst, Harmonik, Ali Campbell –the legendary voice of UB40, Dominica’s finest Creole artiste and band Jeff Joseph –Grammacks New Generation and Dominica’s creators of bouyon WCK!
Saturday 29 – 8:30pm to 4am … Dobet Gnahoré West Africa visits Dominica, Jean-Philippe Marthély & Jocelyne Béroard bringing a taste of Zouk…a musical genre created by the famous band Kassav. THIRD WORLD…reggae ambassadors! CARIMI bringing a fresh hip cool Compas to the Windsor park Sports Stadium and the oldest Cadence kings weaving their memory spell over us…Dominica’s Midnight Groovers.
Sunday Night 30 – 4:30pm to 1am…Dominica’s Swingin’ Starz and the Calypso / Soca Monarch winners circle, Gyptian…the reggae lovers rock King of romance, Zouk Allstar Band featuring the currently hot Fanny, Jocelyne Labylle and Alex Catrin from the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe. Bunji Garlin and Fay-Ann Lyons bringing us party soca Trini style so make sure your shoes have plenty wear because you are going to jump right through to Dominica’s TRIPLE Kay buoyon’s young masters!
DOMINICA’S WORLD CREOLE MUSIC FESTIVAL is traditionally held on the last weekend of October and it is strongly rooted in Dominica’s Independence celebrations. Our regulars and visitors to the island have many opportunities to get an appreciation of the rich cultural attributes of ‘DOMINICA…The Nature Island’. Come for Creole in the park…stay for WCMF!
Know Your Culture dancers shone vibrantly in a variety of Dominica’s cultural attire at their second annual cultural gala held on Saturday July 30th in New Jersey.
The groups founder, Sabina George-Mingo works tirelessly with Dominican citizens and their children, in teaching dances such as, flirtation, waltz, belle’, quadrille, heel & toe. Adults got rave reviews from the audience as they graciously danced the 18th century waltz and kids bounced around on stage with bows and arrows, performing Karifuna, while teen men & women danced the quadrille, all showcased on Saturday.
A live band serenaded the audience and dancers with cultural rhythms and musical instruments such as the boom boom, shack shack, accordion and drums.
Sitting in amazement was a hall filled with Dominicans and foreigners, who felt deep memories as their island’s culture came alive. Sabina ensures that every segment was perfect! From the dancers array of brightly colored attires, including jazzed up fullers and head pieces, hyped movements and stunning smiles.
Enticing dishes such as salt fish with bakes, peleau, fruit juices and other delicious foods were served.
Please visit knowyourculture.org for more information on upcoming events, pictures and information on the organization.
A special thank you to all supporters and sponsors.