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“Inna de Yard: The Soul of Jamaica”, a New Film on Jamaican Music

KINGSTON, Jamaica – In Jamaica where veteran musicians are often shunned as out-of-touch relics, films like Inna de Yard: The Soul of Jamaica are welcome exposes.

Officially released in the summer of 2019, it focuses on some of reggae’s elder statesmen who recall personal stories and times when the country’s music stood for something.

Directed by British filmmaker Peter Webber, ‘Inna de Yard’ features artists including Ken Boothe, Winston McAnuff, Cedric Myton, Kiddus I and Judy Mowatt.

They perform acoustic versions of some of their hit songs, and share views on what makes reggae and Jamaican culture great.

Some of reggae’s new generation are also in the film, including Jah9 and McAnuff’s son, Kush.

Inna de Yard has been shown throughout Europe; in Germany, the United Kingdom, Poland, France, as well as Australia, New York, South Korea and Cancun, Mexico.

It has drawn comparisons to similar projects including The Buena Social Club, The Blues and Standing in The Shadows of Motown.

In his review for, Kambole Campbell writes that the personal stories provide Inna de Yard’s most poignant moments.

“A couple of the singers even experienced fleeting international stardom through American music studios, but soon found themselves conned — some ending up deported and separated from their families on menial charges. This is where the film’s power lies — it’s less about the history of the music itself as it is these artists’ personal history, their ties to the land and their struggles.”

In his early 60s, McAnuff is the youngest of the old-stagers. His career actually started in the early 1970s with the Cari Folk Singers, a folk ensemble; he began recording reggae songs later that decade after accepting Rastafari and today is one of the most popular Jamaican artists in France.

McAnuff has attended several Inna de Yard premieres and performed alongside Myton, Kiddus I and Boothe across Europe. He is not surprised the film has been such a hit with audiences and critics.

“This is the most significant thing happen to reggae in the last 35 years. It give di music more visibility,” he said, adding: “I see people in the screenings wid tears running down their face.”

Webber, whose credits include the Oscar-nominated film Girl With A Pearl Earring, met the musicians three years ago while they were recording Inna de Yard, an album for French company, Chapter Two Records.

He was so taken with the music and their recollections that he decided to document his interviews for a documentary akin to The Buena Vista Social Club, which revived interest in musicians from pre-Castro Cuba; and The Blues, Ken Burns’ epic look at the history of an American art form.

Inna de Yard: The Soul of Jamaica has not been shown in Jamaica, but McAnuff plans to change that with a screening at his Winston McAnuff and Friends show in Kingston on January 25.

According to the singer, “Is something people mus’ see.”

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