Photo Caption: Mighty Diamonds: Lf to Rt. Capo (Joseph Williamson), Tabby Diamond (Donald Shaw) and Judge Diamond (Lloyd Furgeson) Celebeate 50th Anniversary at IRITS Cultural Wellness & Culinary Festival, Montego Bay, January 26, 2020
Photo Credit: RIV Archives
Montego Bay, Jamaica (February 14, 2020).
The creation of IRITS Cultural Wellness and Culinary Festival by the Outreach and Education team from the Rastafari Indigenous Village (RIV) took place two and a half years ago. Founded and managed by Arlene McKenzie and Firstman (Edward Wray), the festival takes place within the Portobello community on the last Sunday afternoon of each month. It has been growing steadily ever since.
RIV hit a high note with the recent appearance and celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Mighty Diamonds on January 26, 2020, which evolved out of a partnership with Masani Productions from Rastafest Canada. Mighty Diamonds are harmony trio Jamaican recording artistes performing in the genre of roots reggae with a strong Rastafarian influence. The group was formed in 1969 and are best known for their debut album Right Time (1976) with hit songs I Need a Roof and Them Never Love Poor Marcus, which were performed. The mega hit Pass the Kouchie drew loud accolades from the crowd.. The veteran reggae group received a stirring tribute by Barry G, veteran broadcaster to the delight of an appreciative audience who enjoyed the stroll down memory lane.
Emerging from a group of Village friends and family gatherings, IRITS evolved into what it is today, a veritable cultural showcase of Jamaica’s brightest and sought-after entertainers. IRITS speaks to spiritual balance, peace, harmony with one’s inner being. It is a strictly well-mind, well-body, well-spirit event, which incorporates the literary arts, spiritual development, Nyabinghi drumming & reasoning, musical & poetic expressions, arts & crafts, always staying on the cutting edge.
The IRITS cultural showcase and wholistic philosophy has attracted an eclectic mix of veteran and youth entertainers such as: Chronixx, Kelissa and Kesnamdi, Luton Fyah, Terry Linen, Ritchie Spice and emerging artistes such as Rosh Rebel, Kali Grn and d'Rebelz, Dinho Music, Indie Allen.
On February 23, 2020, RIV welcomes Luciano to the IRITS cultural space between 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Born Jepther McClymont, Luciano is affectionately known as Jah Messenjah and is one of Jamaica’s renowned international second-generation roots reggae artist. His vast discography offers each music lover countless hits to ‘Sweep over the soul’ among others successful albums such as: Moving Up (1993) One Way Ticket (1994) After All (1995) Where There Is Life (1995) Messenger (1997) Live (2000) A New Day (2001).
The organizers drew on the Rastafari Indigenous Village for its strength and development, supported by the Nelson family at the Montego River Gardens, Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) and an army of volunteers. Business operators such as Oral Fernand from Document Solutions, Dr. Jodie Tafari from Sekhmet Medical, Mudadah Hammanut from Adwa and V-Spot Vegan restaurant came on board. The Festival has enabled new and innovative cottage industry businesses and entrepreneurs to present their products to a ready audience within the wholistic environment and beauty of the Montego River Valley.
The IRITS Festival is inextricable linked with the culinary arts; expert vegan chefs and nutritionists are ever present. The Sunday gathering where people milieu and meander within the Village, offers a cornucopia of exquisite food and is a major part of the Sunday gathering. The Village allows no alcohol or animal products.
Arlene McKenzie, Manager
Rastafari Indigenous Village