Thu | Oct 6, 2022

Inaugural Kromanti Fest for Portland this weekend

Published:Tuesday | May 17, 2022 | 12:07 AMSade Gardner/Staff Reporter
Dre Island is confirmed for Kromanti Fest this weekend.
Dre Island is confirmed for Kromanti Fest this weekend.

Maurice Lee’s personal philosophy is to never change the vision, but instead, the method. Ten years ago, he envisioned orchestrating a musical event, and it will manifest on Saturday with the inaugural staging of Kromanti Fest in Moore Town, Portland.

The event is being presented by his tour company Kromanti Experience, initially inspired by their seven-year anniversary in April and Lee’s birthday on Friday.

“I wanted to do a drum circle, and the more phone calls I make and the more people I talk to, it’s like them excited ‘bout it, and it turn into something bigger and bigger each time,” Lee told The Gleaner. “Ten years ago when Chronixx just came out, I wanted to do an event with them, but I didn’t have the network, resources and experience.”

He’s acquired these over the last few years through operating Kromanti Experience and being part of the event planning for Chronixx’s 2015 ‘Capture Land’ tour. Kromanti Experience provides a time warp to the stories and legacy of Moore Town and its ancestors, including Nanny of the Maroons. The brand has served as an income generator for the community, and Lee sees the upcoming event as an expansion of his goal to bring revenue to the area.

“I’m really looking for a good turnout, but at the same time, this is more creating a product that we can sell to other big companies next year to see how well they can support it, to make it a bigger and better thing for the community at large,” he said. “Portland nuh really have nothing like this now, and Portland represents culture, eco, the whole naturality. So it’s only fitting that Portland has an event like this in the Mecca, Moore Town, where the culture really started from the Maroon days.”

Between noon to 11 p.m., patrons can expect to be entertained by artistes, including Dre Island, Imeru Tafari, 5Star Celestial, Amlak Redsquare and two unconfirmed female acts. Edutainment will come in various forms from the Accompong Town and Charles Town Maroons, Bongo Shem (Kumina) and Ras Pele (Nyahbinghi).

“We don’t really waan mimic nobody, really, but it’s like a mini Rebel Salute in some ways; but more than that in many ways ‘cause of the authentic part of it,” he said. “We a bring it from Taino straight back to Nyahbinghi. We have Kumina and all of the different transitions we made over the years. Plus, it’s Jamaica 60 as well, so it ties in with the whole timing and everything.”

Lee said Kromanti Fest will also serve to regenerate positive media messages in light of the way “the media recently draw we through the mud”. There are also spiritual purposes.

“It’s a dry time and the ancestors need it now, too, as we haven’t done any gathering since COVID. We haven’t played any drums and celebrate in that fashion for the ancestors, so I just see it fit.”