The Braata Folk Singers have risen to become one of the foremost ambassadors of Jamaican and Caribbean folk culture in the eastern United States, earned standing ovations on some of the most prestigious stages across the nation, and have reaped awards of excellence from some of 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 new choral arrangements with intricate choreography, design elements and costume. The result is a theatrical presentation best described as “choral theater.”
Founded in July of 2009 by Jamaican born Actor & Singer 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 Jamaican Consulate in New York, City Hall in Manhattan, Brooklyn Borough Hall, Bronx Borough Hall, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture among many areas across the New York Tri-state area. In early 2012 the group took it cultural message up north to Canada in its first out of country assignment. Later that year the choir travelled 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 professional 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 and as far as Boston the group has been fortune to be well received wherever they go.
The group fuses music, movement 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 as well as Reggae and Dancehall.