CEOLCHUAIRT lamaice, an Irish documentary filmed in Jamaica this year, copped the award for Best Documentary Series at the first Sky Road TV & Film Festival in Galway, Ireland on September 5.
Directed by Paddy Hayes and produced by Laura Ni Cheallaigh, the film is narrated by Irish poet Gearoid Mac Lochlainn.
Ceolchuairt lamaice was filmed over 12 days and contains interviews with the Alpha Boys School’s musical director Winston ‘Sparrow’ Martin, guitarist Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith, musician/producers Sly and Robbie, poet/activist Mutabaruka and percussionist Bongo Herman.
Lochlainn said working on the documentary fulfilled a personal dream.
“The experience renewed my love of reggae and gave me a deeper understanding of its global importance. More than ever the message of Rasta and reggae has so much to teach the world,” he told the Sunday Observer.
Ceolchuairt lamaice is part of a six-piece series by TG4 (Irish Language National Broadcaster) called CeolChairt (Musical Journeys). It follows six artistes on a fact-finding mission of the music that influenced them most.
“Ceolchuairt lamaice records my own journey exploring the roots of reggae, which was a huge influence on myself since I was a teenager growing up in troubled Belfast,” said Lochlainn.
“Through cover versions by punk rock bands such as The Clash, I came to know and love Jamaican recordings.”
He pointed to similarities between the hardships many reggae acts experienced as youth and the turbulence he faced in Northern Ireland.
Ceolchuairt lamaice allowed him to come to the country for the first time and see if the message of One Love was still alive. “Or, if it had been lost or weakened because of the influence of slack reggae/dancehall music and the media images of violence still associated with Jamaica. But I found the message to be strong as ever and also on the cusp of a youth renaissance with many young artistes returning to the conscious path and Rasta,” he said.
Ceolchuairt Jamaica premiered at the Electric Picnic Festival in Stradbally,(‘Trench Town’) Ireland last month.
Lochlainn has published five books of poetry. This is the second documentary he has worked on, the first being Smugglers, about the history of Lithuanian language.