BackaYard Magazine Music and Art Kingston Tour

It has always been an interest of mine to be hired as a personal photographer to tourist or travelers who come to the island. Last Monday, I got a similar opportunity thanks to the collaboration of BackaYard Magazine and Hotel Mockingbird Hill. Known for their music trips around Kingston, BackaYard Magazine was contacted to curate a special tour for two of the hotel’s guest Cassandra and Stephanie. Then as you can figure I was called in to document this special tour. 

The Tour began at the National Heroes Park, seeing as it was heritage week at most basic and primary school, the park was filled with little ones eager to learn about the ones who made it possible for them to live a slave free life. 

At Heroes Park, the ladies were very fascinated to learn about our past Prime Ministers, National Heroes and some of our notable icons such as Miss lou and the crowned Prince of Reggae Dennis Brown.

From here we moved on to the Institute of Jamaica. This part of the tour taught them about the history of Rastafari as well as the History of “Xaymaca: the land of wood and water”; now known accross the globe as “Jamaica,Out of Many One People”. The ladies enjoyed this part of the tour, I had a little chat with them and I was told they found it very informative. Also that the only thing they knew prior to this stop was what they learnt from the Reggae songs they knew. The tour of the IOJ was done by none other than Abebe Payne who even gave the ladies a chance to play the Nyahbinghi drums. Stephanie took the Thunder(Double sided bass drum, played with a Mallet.), Abebe on Funde(which mimics the beating of the heart) and Cassie dominated the Keteh drum which provided the high bitch range that was needed to complete the Nyahbinghi drum arrangement. 

After consuming so much knowledge and working up a sweat learning to drum, the ladies as well as the team grew rather hungry and where else was there to go but Life Yard, the home of a group of young rastas who had changed their outlook on life as well as a plot of land the acquired into an urban eco-farm in the heart of Downtown, Kingston.  I know these fellows personally and trust me when I say, their food is some of the best oil-free, life filled ital food you can get around town, not to mention their Life juices, with my personal favourite being the Beetroot blend. The ladies also got a tour of the farm and  even went next door to the Paint Jamaica Project, which wow’d them even further and was guided by myself and Gladstone Taylor(Did I mention he has is own book? Click here to purchase.)

Where to next? 

Augustus Pablo Record Shop, Here Mitchie with the assistance of Music Phill, educated Steph and Cassie about our musical history through the spinning of some classic and antic vinyls, starting from Mento all the way up to Dancehall in the  early 2000s. 

Last on our trip was the Alpha Institute formally known as Alpha Boy’s School, home of some Jamaica’s most talented musicians and artists. The ladies were greeted by Joshua Chamberlain who escorted the ladies around the property and educated them on the long history of the institute stemming from when it was just a simple  boy school into the prestigious vocational institution it is today. 

It was great following and documenting this tour and I look forward to the  new travelers I’ll meet through the next tour. What a pleasure it was travelling around with Steph and Cassie. If you or anyone you know is interested in doing a similar tour please contact Amilcar Lewis:

I hope you enjoyed the imagery and the read. Thanks for reading, until next time…

Full Album:

-Jik-Reuben, Visual Ninja, 2015.

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