Promoting its culture

i-queen extends this year’s culture festival to two days

The Annual I-Queen Culture Festival, which was once celebrated as Royal Sunday during the second Sunday of August, spread its wings this year, staging a two-day festival promoting irie roots culture.

The Royal Weekend of events consisted of Soul Saturday and the well-loved Royal Sunday all staged on the grounds of the Frank Collymore Hall. Against the threat of an approaching storm last Saturday’s events kicked off with opening of the Culture Market, which saw on display an array of vegetarian cuisine, health and beauty products, clothing, craft and art.

Resident DJ Lion Gad and Ras CME Wild of Twelve Tribes sounds filled the air with African and reggae music, the Jakuta Drummers interspersed the music sessions with living jembe drumming.

The launch of the first ever I-Queen Livity Workshops added a new dimension to the festivities with Ayeba Asher of Uhuru Fashion giving valuable information and demonstrations on the art of head wrapping, while Empress Itrina helped attendees to guide their feminine energy.

Soul Saturday then climaxed with the Soul Shakedown Party in the Frank Collymore Hall. The first ever reggae event to take the stage of the hall, saw headliner iNDRANi Santiago, joined by Hygraid the Band, L.R.G. Tabitha, Simon Pipe, Onika Best and Dominica’s Nelly Stharre and Trevy Felix to take party goers on a music journey sweetened with homegrown and regional reggae sounds.

Royal Sunday saw the return of the Culture Market and the much anticipated open mic session in the Cathedral Courtyard. New comers Empress Sheridan, Rebel Glam and Amber Orano brightened the stage with their music and spoken word pieces. The Jakuta Drummers were back in the mix and gave some lively jam session through out the day.

The highlight of the evening was a three-part fashion showing by Ayeba Asher of Uhuru Fashion. Drawing from the dress styles of Ethiopia, Nigeria and the Caribbean, full figure and slim model, literally sashaded across the courtyard to live jembe drumming to the enjoyment of the crowd.

The evening closed with patrons rushing to make their final purchases of fresh fruit and vegetables, natural shakes, jewellery and clothing before the Culture Market closed out.

Next year, the fifth anniversary of I-Queen, will be marked by the return of the photography exhibition, with which the festival started. The exhibit will be a blend of new I-Queens with the original 22, in what photographer and festival organiser Rachelle Gray said will be a full blown visual celebration of Barbadian Rastafari roots daughters.

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