Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Poet Jennifer Lumley: 'Impressive to say the least'

Jennifer Lumley
Photo credit M. Fletcher

Review: “Souldancing” with Jean Lowrie-Chin in New York
By Jennifer Lumley
Published Nov 28, 2011

She warmed the room with her smile like the Caribbean sun and the audience anxiously waited while they basked in the beauty of her gentle presence, a scarf, with the colors of the Jamaican flag, gently cascading down the front of her dress. A little behind her scheduled arrival at Ruder Finn, Inc. because of the unceasing evening rain, her pleasant personality just shone right through and put everyone at ease. Jean Lowrie-Chin, fellow author, columnist and mother, read a few pieces from her book “Souldance” and had the crowd in an uproar at times and at other times reminiscing on the Jamaican paradise that we left behind. It was impressive to say the least.

Her writings are prolific and her book cover design was remarkably authentic – two little caramel colored angels with dread locks and a ribbon with the Rastafarian colors. The art work is obviously Jamaican and brings home a deliberately sweet setting for the 170 pages of writings within. Jean keeps it real. Jamaica has its paradise but it also has its ‘plagues’. David Heron, a Jamaican playwright and actor in New York and good friend to Lowrie-Chin, also read a few pieces and expressed them in a very feeling manner. He got your attention and gripped you for as long as he read.

Dave Rodney, moderated the evening’s affairs. Gail Moaney, executive Vice President of Ruder Finn, did the welcome. Ambassador Audrey P. Marks, whose arrival was also affected by the inclement weather, spoke enthusiastically about the book and recommended it highly to all Jamaicans. Anthony Turner delivered the vote of thanks after folks lined up to get their autographed copies of “Souldance”. Spirits were lifted and souls were fed for having attended this “dance” session...and Lowrie-Chin is ranked as another one of Jamaica’s poetic DJs.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Souldance for Your Soul

Friday, November 18th, 2011 | Posted by Veronica Keitt

If you’re looking for that perfect gift I have the perfect [one] for you. Jean Lowrie Chin’s delightfully charming and yet compelling new book of poetry & writings ‘ Souldance ‘ takes you on a journey into the quintessential Jamaican paradise where she shares stories of her growing up in Jamaica, societal issues and its impact on Jamaican life, and the beauty of a culture that is totally immersed in today’s pop culture.

At her recent New York City launch hosted by Gail L Moaney, executive vice president, Travel & Economic Development, Ruder Finn Inc., Lowrie-Chin dazzles the crowd with her charm, laughter, and infectious spirit. She invites you into her world filled with triumph, pain and a few myths, as she share stories about her childhood and growing up, 911, liberation and love. In her poem “Your Son Too”—which was read by David Heron at the event, she talks about the tragic ending for Lee Boyd Malvo as seen through the eyes of the mother. Powerful—primarily because sometimes we forget about those affected in cases like this. It reads:

Man nice can done

Treat mi chile like a son

Mi boy get a father

To take him to America!

“Ole Lord, Kumbayah”

I hear bout sniper and pray for mi son

Lord, protect him from that wicked gun…

Oh God: The news reach me!

It buckle me knee

Mi boy chain like slave

In the land of the free

Oh Lord Kumbaya

Lowrie-Chin’s writings forces you to look at the world from a non-judgmental, practical sense, while poking fun at the everyday life of rich Jamaican culture and traditions in which she was brought up on. In Jonkunnu Baby” she talks about how she became a Jonkunnu baby after her mother saw a Jonkunnu which caused her early delivery. The audience laughed as they identified with the story—including Chip Smith of the Caribbean BillboardMusicTV who spoke of his personal experience with a Jonkunnu as a child in which he says he still remembers the image as clear as it was yesterday. “I remember the Jonkunnu as a child. It was in the shape of a horse head which clamped down like that” He claps his hands together. “It’s so vivid in my mind,…it scared me as a child.”

Although I would generally delve into mysteries or novels, Souldance, now available on amazon.com is a page turner and I book I can’t put down. For those who are from Jamaica it will make you want to go home, for those who have never been, you will be packing your bags on the next flight out to explore the rich beauty and culture that Lowrie-Chin so eloquently speaks about.

How wondrous is the truth I found

The soul is not by body bound

It travels like a ray of light

And see with universal sight

And so my soul will keep me whole

When senses fail and steps grow slow

This body is a tiny stage

On which the soul performs a phase

Come, fly beyond the day and night

Sway your soul to strains of light

God’s music falls like sweet soft rain

Takes you past all fear and pain

Clap soul-hands, tap soul-feet

And dance to Heaven’s mighty beat! –Jean Lowrie-Chin

Those in attendance included, David Heron, actor, producer and playwrite, Chip Smith of Caribbean Billboard Music TV, Lester Spaulding, chairman of the Radio Jamaica Group, legal luminary and member of Jamaica’s Electoral Advisory Committee Hon. Dorothy Pine McLarty, and Selma Brown, marketing director for the Caribbean Tourism Organization, to name a few. Sponsors for the event included Rhum Barbancourt, Touch of Elegance Catering, Nakasaki Restaurant and Uptown Vegetarian Juice Bar in Harlem. The Souldance launch was designed by Dave Rodney and Anthony Turner of IMAGES Media LLC, New York.