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NIFCA 2021 starts online with musical treat

NIFCA 2021 starts online with musical treat
This screenshot is from the NIFCA segment featuring Mahalia and the band 2 Mile Hill during the virtual series.

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NIFCA 2021 started Monday night with a focus on music.

Held online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, viewers saw the tribute to two James Millington awardees – the Coleridge & Parry School Band and The Most Honourable Anthony Gabby Carter in the segment titled Reminisce, hosted by Cheyne Jones.

Two former members of the St Peter school’s band, Janelle Nembhard and Abraham Millington, now a cultural officer at the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) with responsibility for music, spoke about being under the tutelage of its former director Joy Knight and the impact it had on their lives.

It was in 2001 that the band copped a gold award, the James Millington Award, and the Arden Clark Founder’s Trophy for the piece Arranger’s Holiday.

Millington, a trombonist, also performed Peter Ram’s winning 2016 tune (Crop Over) Good Morning during the more than three-hour event streamed live via

And in the interview with the cultural ambassador The Mighty Gabby, viewers got some insight into the emotions that went into writing the classic song Emmerton in 10 minutes and heard that it was late musician Janice Millington urging’s that he entered NIFCA with it in 1986. He won the award named in her father’s honour after doing so.

There was also a performance from Classical Pops in 2015 with Most Honourable Anthony singing it.

Jones also chatted with junior monarch Kenaz Bit Bit Walker, who accompanied Gabby to the interview, plus there was a video with both of them performing the iconic song – Bit Bit singing and Gabby playing on guitar.

That’s not all viewers got to experience though. Those attending the official launch of NIFCA Online also got a bonus concert featuring 2 Mile Hill and friends which was done for the UNCTAD conference last month. They saw the December 2019 tribute show honouring dancing icon the late Richild Springer, heard about the life and work of the women and men after whom the top NIFCA awards are named and watched a few performances from years ago.

In her remarks to welcome everyone to this year’s edition of the festival, the NCF’s chief cultural officer Andrea Wells said there was a “wonderful collection of shows” for people to “celebrate the talent of Barbadians of every age”.

She noted that during the Reminisce shows, some of the musicians who did well at NIFCA over the years would be examined to see where they are now, while Rewind would do the same with those in the theatre arts.

She urged everyone to join the NCF for the potpourri of events highlighting the other artistic disciplines inclusive of the tribute to renowned dancer and choreographer Gene Carson which all celebrated the arts, Barbados, its 55th anniversary of independence and the creativity of the artists. (GBM)