We hope you tried out our featured Jamaican recipes last month. This month, as we look at the story that led to the birth of Jamaica’s own cultural heritage, we’re going to feature traditional music.
Back in November, we saw how the current economic inequality in Jamaica stems from its history as a European colony. The sugar plantation system, which dominated many of the Caribbean islands in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, created a society of haves and have-nots. Either you were born into a life of advantages, or you struggled at the bottom of the ladder.
Plantations ran on the labor of people brought from many parts of Africa. We at Creators of Hope know the essential importance of home, which drives our mission. Imagine, then, what it was like for the displaced people who were brought across the ocean by force, who were separated from their homes and from everything they knew and loved. When you have lost your roots, what do you have? When you are in an alien world, where nothing is familiar and nothing is safe, where danger surrounds you, and when you know you will never recover the things you loved: where you do find strength? What helps you to keep going?
Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll look further at how Jamaica’s culture evolved and how people with different backgrounds came together, finding common ground and helping sustain one another in their harsh new world. Meanwhile, listen to this week’s featured music, the iconic Jamaican folk song “Linstead Market.” This song treats the sad and difficult story of a mother trying to make enough money to feed her children with beauty and grace. The song is in Jamaican Creole patois, but you can find English lyrics here.