Trench Town's Rebirth? Manifesto Jamaica Heads To Famed Home Of Reggae
Another attempt to revive interest in Trench Town's musical legacy will be made on Tuesday with the all-day Trench Town Rock event which is being organised by the Manifesto Jamaica group.
Live performances from bands, singers and deejays are scheduled to dominate the proceedings, but Janine 'Jah 9' Cunningham of Manifesto Jamaica says nyabingi drumming, storytelling, kumina dancing, an agricultural seminar and a martial arts exhibition are also planned.
"It's going to be a full day of arts-based activities, things to uplift the mind," Cunningham said.
Trench Town Rock is the latest in a series of culture events involving Manifesto Jamaica, which was formed approximately one year ago. The 20-member group has overseen similar projects in August Town, Greenwich Farm, Seivright Gardens and Seaview Gardens.
Manifesto Jamaica is mainly funded by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives. They promoted a three-day Manifesto Festival at the Jamaica School of Music in October.
Cunningham, a singer, is just one of the many acts down to perform.
Others include the Uprising Band, Doniki, Torch, I-Cient-Cy Mau and the Mau Mau Warriors, Earl 'Chinna' Smith and Inna The Yard, Buddy T, Rawyal Afrikan Souljahs and Hugo English.
Many of Jamaica's influential artistes came out of Trench Town. The most famous of these performers were The Wailers which included Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny 'Wailer' Livingston, who all went on to have successful solo careers.
Alton Ellis, The Heptones and The Abyssinians also started their careers in Trench Town, which was an expanse of shacks up to the late 1960s.
There have been attempts to honour the community's entertainment history, including the establishment of the Bob Marley Culture Yard in the 1990s. The Culture Yard is the restored tenement where Marley once lived and which inspired some of his most enduring songs, such as No Woman No Cry.
The site, which houses a bed and van once owned by the reggae superstar, has not drawn the hundreds of tourists administrators hoped it would. They blame gang violence in Trench Town and neighbouring areas for the low attendance.