History Professor Produces CD for Jamaican Cultural Group After Visit to Campus
In September, eleven members of a Jamaican Maroon ensemble called the Moore Town Granny Nanny Cultural Group traveled to Georgia State University to perform as a part of history Assistant Professor Harcourt Fuller’s Jamaican Maroon Project. Now, Fuller has produced a CD for the group.
“The Granny Nanny Cultural Group is featured in my documentary, Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess, as actors and performers of traditional Maroon drumming, singing and dancing,” said Fuller. “After that project, I really wanted to bring the Maroons to Georgia State so that the students, faculty, staff and the wider Atlanta community could experience their culture first hand.”
The Granny Nanny Cultural Group was able to travel to Georgia State, and the recording was produced thanks to grants Fuller received from sponsors including Georgia State’s Center for Collaborative and International Arts (CENCIA), Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and the Jamaica Tourist Board.
The group spent three months in the U.S., traveling to a number of major cities including Atlanta, New York City, Ft. Lauderdale and D.C. While in Atlanta, the group performed at the Rialto Center, Hurt Park, the Troy Moore Library, Agnes Scott College, the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, and the High Museum.
“As professors, we typically teach history from books and articles in the comfort of our classrooms, but I don’t want my students to always be confined to a classroom,” said Fuller. “I think when students study history and world cultures, any opportunity to directly interact with the actual people about whom they’re learning makes the information come alive for them. That’s what happened for my students when the Jamaican Maroons came to Georgia State.”
The double-CD (with a 40-page booklet) that Fuller produced is titled “Granny Nanny Come Oh: Jamaican Maroon Kromanti and Kumina Music and Other Oral Traditions.” The Maroon Kromanti music and dance traditions of Moore Town are inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Moore Town is also part of the Blue & John Crow Mountains UNESCO World Heritage Site.
While Fuller’s work is an academic project, the release of the album also helps to keep Jamaican Maroon culture alive for both Maroons and world at large.
“The album contributes to our understanding of the history, music, language, spirituality and other aspects of the Jamaican Maroons, and how contemporary Maroons use their past to address present-day challenges,” said Fuller.
Fuller is currently working on a number of books and journal articles about the Jamaican Maroon experience, and their history and culture.