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Jing Ping music documentary launched for DOMFESTA 2018

by: - April 19, 2018
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Portsmouth Jing Ping Band

A documentary focusing on jing ping music has been launched as part of the 2018 DOMFESTA celebrations.

The documentary entitled ‘Jing Ping Music; Foundation to Innovation’ was launched at the UWI Open Campus site on Bath Road on Wednesday 18 April 2018. It is narrated by Dominican historian, Dr Lennox Honychurch.

Jing Ping music, a combination or mixture of European and African musical influences, was essentially created by our African ancestors in Dominica, Chief Cultural Officer, Raymond Lawrence told the launching ceremony.

“So they used the various influences including the culture that they brought from Africa and created this new music which we now know today as the Jing Ping music,” Lawrence informed.

The Jing Ping Band is made up of four different instruments; the accordion, the drum, the grater and the boom pipe.

The term Jing Ping was created to describe the scratching sound of the grater, is used to accompany most of Dominica’s folk dances.

It is very popular during the annual independence celebrations as well as Christmas celebrations and village feasts.

“So Jing Ping music is an integral part of the culture and the heritage of Dominica; it has provided a depth and a richness to our cultural expression, it has certainly helped to identify us as a Dominican people, and has been used to promote Dominica all over the world,” Lawrence added.

“We are proud of the music and we are very proud of all the musicians who’ve played and promoted the music for so many, many year,” he continued.

The script for the documentary was the combined effort of Earlson Matthew, Gregory Rabess and Lennox Honychurch while the camera work was done by Giselle Hyacinth, Earlson Matthew and Gregory Rabess.

The Cultural Elders and other stalwarts featured in this documentary are Crawford Alexis, Matthew LeBlanc, Jefferson Warrington, Harvey Saint Jean, Isma Alie, John Cuffy, Joseph Paul, Hans Francis, Steven Drigo, Alickson Laronde and Damassus Challenger.

A number of prominent Dominicans, musicians and artistes have collaborated with the Cultural Division on the production of the documentary.

They include Fitzroy Williams, Gordon Henderson, Maximen Powell, Peter Letang, Keith Goddard and Trevor Seaman.

According to Lawrence, work on the documentary was spread out over a period of over a year as the research started in 2016.

The project was supposed to have been released by September 28th, 2017 “but then this plan was interrupted by Hurricane Maria”.

“So here we are today with the final product and the launch of the documentary during our DOMFESTA celebrations. So we give God thanks in all things and once again I want to commend all those involved in the production of the documentary,” Lawrence stated.

DVD copies of the documentary were presented to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Careen Prevost, the Portsmouth and Petite Savanne Jing Ping Bands which performed at the launching ceremony, John Cuffy, Matthew LeBlanc, Hannif Francis, Davidson Charles, and Ordel Hamilton among others.

Previous documentaries by the Cultural Division includes Belle, national wear, screw pine, ti-bwa instrument, sensay costume, cassava production by Kalinagos and creole head-tying.