CNCF releases album of Caymanian folk music

| 01/08/2018
CNS Local Life

The Cayman Islands Folk Singers

(CNS Local Life): The Cayman National Cultural Foundation will be releasing a double CD of traditional music, “Come Back Home”, featuring the Cayman Islands Folk Singers and North Side Kitchen Band. The official release will be marked by a launch party set for Thursday, 16 August. Tickets for the event, which is open to the public, are $60 each and include a copy of the album, appetisers and a Cayman-style buffet dinner.

The event will also feature live performances by the Folk Singers and Pa’lante Jazz Band.

“It is necessary to preserve our folk music; we need to remove these songs from ‘behind the breadfruit tree’, where they were being obscured from the imagination of our young people, and bring them centre stage for all to enjoy,” said CNCF artistic director Henry Muttoo in a press release.

“This album is a collector’s item and a must-have for any person who is a fan of Cayman’s musical culture and history. We celebrate the contributions that these two groups have made to advancing the Cayman story.”

CNCF formed the Folk Singers in 2009, as a company of amateur singers and musicians dedicated primarily to preserving, celebrating and propagating the musical traditions of the Cayman Islands.

The group exists to bring the people of the Cayman Islands folk music works of the highest possible artistic and technical standards and production values,” the CNCF said in the release, adding the works reflect the Caymanian image and its place in the Caribbean and the wider world.

The group showcases Cayman’s rich musical heritage, telling the “Caymanian story” through song, the release stated. Songs on the CD included both Caymanian and regional compositions, such as “Gummy Yard”, “Cardile Gone to Cuba”, “Beef in Cane Piece”, “You Have To Wait Till My Ship Comes In” and “Come Back Home”.

The North Side Kitchen Band was formed by Ned Miller in 2002. Ned (fiddle and mouth organ), alongside his brothers Coburn (guitar) and Rexford (drums), Burke Ebanks (guitar), Darvin Ebanks (guitar), Freddie Ebanks (guitar) and Harvey Whittaker (percussions/maracas), play traditional island music, the majority of which was composed by their Caymanian ancestors.

Dedicated to preserving and exemplifying ‘kitchen music’ as it was called when the craze first began, the band plays songs that, instead of being written down, have been passed down orally for many generations. Songs such as “Under the Coconut Tree” and “Munzie’s Boat” describe island life as it was many years ago.

This album follows CNCF’s previous release of traditional music with “Aunt” Julia Hydes, and Radley Gourzong and the Happy Boys, which has become “a tangible reminder of the heyday of kitchen music”.

Muttoo said he hopes the music on the new CD, “now beautifully rendered by the Cayman Islands Folk Singers and the North Side Kitchen Band, will be enjoyed by all, while affording Caymanians, especially the young, another resource to help them recapture and retain some of their treasured musical heritage”.

For more information on the “Come Back Home” launch party, being held at Grand Old House, and to purchase tickets, call 949-5477 or email CNCF

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Category: Arts, Culture, Music

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