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.