Sista Gracy still a yardy

May 29, 2018
Veteran dubstyle reggae entertainer sits at the outside Tracks and Records on the hip strip in Montego Bay.
A framed record sits on the wall at Tracks and Records, reminding Sistah Gracy that time is her master.
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Sista Gracy still a yardy

In the space of merely three decades, the reggae culture in Germany has been considered a replica of the local sights and sounds of Jamaica. Sista Gracy, a former resident of Epsom district in St Mary, has been proud to say that she contributed to the endorsement of the music and food in the European country.

As the daughter of two sound system owners, Sista Gracy was always at home with all the musical genres, especially the old school dub style, dancehall and reggae. She migrated in 1985 and married a musician, a member of popular Herbman Band, who motivated her to take a chance on the microphone at one of their performances.

"The band did not allow mi to leave after I performed Jacob Miller's Tenement Yard at a show with them. We [my husband and I] made music together, our love became music," Sista Gracy told the WESTERN STAR during a recent interview in St James. She was vacationing with her family in the second city and making the most of the time.

Sista Gracy's accent and strong use of patois resonates as she speaks, it's as though she has never left. She takes her time to pick dried callaloo seeds she has collected, in hopes that she can take it back to Germany to add to her already thriving Jamaican-plant garden.

She was born Clover Braham, but most of her fans know her as the lady from Jamaica who won the Reggae Queen Title at the 2005 German Reggae Awards, 10 years after she was invited to perform at Reggae Sunsplash Festival. A copy of her album, Time Is The Master, is encased in glass, hanging on the walls of the recently opened Usain Bolt Tracks and Records on the Montego Bay hip strip.

The band is now called Gracy and the Yardy Crew and is known for the Yardy album that features a rough, yet rhythmic cut of traditional reggae stylings of the musicians. She says, the word 'yardy' to her means the strong bond to the Jamaican tradition, family and reggae music.

 

Conscious lyrics

 

"Reggae music wise, mi a listen from mi likkle an a grow to artistes like Leroy Sibbles, Sugar Minott and mi grow up to the sounds of Bob Marley," said Sista Gracy.

At a period when reggae music was emerging from underground, Sista Gracy and the band decided to tour and host small events that continued to bring it closer to the fore. Her home became a hotspot for the celebration of conscious lyrics following the launch of Gracy's Bash on her birthday. Artistes like Tony Rebel, Tarrus Riley and Sugar Minott (who she collaborated with on a single called Jah Praises right inside her home) have made appearances over the years, attracting a crowd of approximately 2,000 reggae music lovers.

"It's a yaad ting, real Jamaican ting; you can find me multitasking between cooking and performing at the event. This year, July, will make 13 years," said Sista Gracy. "Mi jus haffi keep the vibes, a lot of artistes are trying to do the same thing."

Even though she has been living in Germany for most of her adult years, Sista Gracy still instills the values of St Mary, Jamaica, living. Her singles, Spiritual And Humble and Dub Praises also speak to that.

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