Braata Folk Singers preserving Caribbean folk culture

The Braata Folk Singers

The Braata Folk Singers are proud ambassadors of and the foremost authority on Jamaican and Caribbean folk music performance in the United States. Braata has constantly wowed audiences on some of the most prestigious stages both locally and internationally and has reaped awards of excellence from the world’s most astute connoisseurs of choral music. The group has established itself among Jamaicans and others in the wider Caribbean Diaspora for its unique and dynamic presentation of the region’s folk music, combining inspired choral arrangements with drama, intricate choreography, design elements, and eye-catching costumes using traditional folk forms from the Caribbean region. The result is a theatrical presentation best described as “choral theater.”

As a Caribbean vocal ensemble, the Braata Folk Singers have expanded their repertoire in another live production called REBIRTH, since the pandemic began. The New York-based group, primarily focused on showcasing and preserving Caribbean folk music, now performs inspirational and reggae songs. The Braata Folk Singers, under the creative direction of Jamaican-born actor, singer, and producer Andrew Clarke, and the musical direction of Joel Edwards, will once again present “Rebirth.” The title of the show is a metaphor for the world emerging from the pandemic. This year, the ensemble is armed with brand new songs with a specific focus on celebrating the 60th independence of Jamaica & Trinidad and Tobago. The show is designed to celebrate some of the most remarkable aspects of each of these nations/countries – looking back while also looking forward.

The Braata Folk Singers

Founded in July of 2009 by Jamaican-born actor/singer/producer Andrew Clarke, the singers have racked up an impressive array of national and international achievements that many similar groups with far longer histories have not managed to attain. As part of its mission, Braata Folk Singers seeks to serve as a proponent of culture, through the promotion and preservation of Caribbean folk culture and its history.

The company has performed to great reviews at venues including the Consulate General of Jamaica, New York City Hall, Brooklyn Borough Hall, Bronx Borough Hall, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Queens & Brooklyn Museums, and the Oracabessa Jerk Festival among many areas across the New York Tri-state area. In early 2012 the group took its cultural message up north to Canada in its first out-of-country assignment. Later that year the choir traveled to Cincinnati Ohio to participate in the World Choir Games, an international choral competition featuring choirs from all over the world. Braata, one of the smallest choirs in attendance secured two silver medals and a bronze for their efforts, quite an achievement in their first-ever competitive outing and against choirs much larger and with more experience.

The awards also marked a wonderful gift to Jamaica in her 50th celebration as Braata was the only Jamaican choir in attendance, carrying their Jamaican flags wherever they went and spreading the warmth of the island. Having made stops in neighboring New Jersey for performance as well as Connecticut, Boston, Maryland, D.C., and as far south as Atlanta, the group has been fortunate to be well received wherever they go.

The group fuses music, movement, poetry, song, and drama with an emphasis on a cultural context. Included among its repertoire is a wide range of folk forms including Mento, Kumina, Dinki-Mini, Revival, Ring Games, and Nine Night.