Jamaican-born Claudja Barry, a Juno Award winner of Canada’s music industry has called for increased music appreciation in schools. She made the call against the background that Jamaicans have for too long been feeding on a rich diet of dancehall music that speaks death, hate, the degrading of women, and intolerance of persons with different biews and sexual orientation.
As the producer/director of one of the much talked about entrants in this year’s Reggae Music Festival (August 1-5, 2013), Barry believes the images that emanates from dancehall music are generally negative, and often shows a dark and evil side.
“Music appreciation in school, or even in the home and via the airwaves, not only provides a unique opportunity for literacy preparation, but is a more potent instrument than any other for education. With dancehall, being the local dominant music spewing out hate, death, intolerance, then there is no doubt as the type of education our children are getting, and there manifests itself what we see are playing out in society by the youth,” says Barry, who recently went a to quest document the negatives of dancehall and to find something positive , which resulted in the filming of the documentary, “Losing Paradise & Music”.
Not one to call for censorship of the music, Barry says society must realise that without exposure to other forms of music this could lead to dangerous trend.
“I understand that there are a generation of listeners who have heard only dancehall reggae and obviously enjoy that form of music. I am not trying to change anyone’s preference, but, there should be music appreciation in schools, so that from an early age all children would have knowledge of all types of music, and then they are able to make better and informed behaviour choice,” said Barry, whose documentary film “Losing Paradise and Music” had it’s premiere earlier this year (February 17) on OMNI 1 TV in Canada. “Losing Paradise & Music” focuses on dancehall’s dark side.
Barry says numerous research have found that music uses both sides of the brain, a fact that makes it valuable in all areas of development.
“If music affects the growth and development of a child’s brain academically, emotionally, physically, socially, and spiritually, can you imagine our young minds feeding non-stop on a rich, dark diet of dancehall music?” says Barry.
“Do you foresee what’s going to happen to them in their teenage and adult life? I wouldn’t want to hazard a guess, because we are already seeing the type of anti-social and aggressive behaviours being acted out against one another, against authorities, and against persons who hold different views and are of a different sexual persuasion,” adds Barry.
According to Barry, childhood is an exciting, fun and challenging and very critical period of one’s growth and development. “It is perhaps the most critical time for them to building the emotional foundation that will support them for the rest of their lives. Therefore, she urged parents, guardians, teachers to always strive to give children the tools needed to build successful lives, and one of the those tools is an appreciation for all genres of music.
“We should encourage our children as early as possible to listen to and appreciate the different shades of music. This will help them to develop a rounded sense of fairplay, justice, and tolerance to others,” so argues Barry, who studied acting at the world-famous Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York City, then studied voice in Berlin and Vienna. She has recorded several albums and appeared in the 1985 movie, Rappin’. She was also inducted into the Canadian Black Music Hall of Fame in 2003.
Delroy A. Whyte-Hall