Rae Town missing old hits party

December 05, 2017
Residents of Rae Town talk about the community's musical legacy.
Briggie, owner of the Dumpling Shop in Rae Town, Kingston.
Rae Town was once the place to be on Sunday nights in the capital city.
Rae Town was once the place to be on Sunday nights in the capital city.

Smack in the middle of Rae Street is a bar known as Capricorn Inn, owned and operated by Norma 'Sister Norma' Wright. The little cool-out spot was the place to grab a drink with friends, especially on a Sunday, and later enjoy old hits.

It quickly transformed into the event, Rae Town Old Hits Party, hosted by Capricorn Inn and resident sound system, Klassique Disco, guided by founder and veteran selector Senor Daley. The music would start as early as 6 p.m. on some evenings when Daley and his crew would set up, and go on until the wee hours of the morning.

"It mek the place nice. All tourists knew bout it an' stop inna di community fi experience it," said Merlene Blackwood, who has lived in the community for more than 30 years. "Mi did love it because of the sweet ole time music that play."




With the fishing village to the south, the Tower Street Correctional Centre to the western end, and houses and a few shops lining Rae Street, the area was considered an all-round safe environment, thus receiving support from local communities outside of the Kingston area.

Sundays were very busy for the community, especially, Capricorn Inn and the Dumpling Shop, which is on the opposite side of the road. However, the event which has catered to the older generation and earned the attention of younger people is no longer kept in Rae Town. Instead, it has been held at Sabina Park for the past five.

"To be honest, the move affect mi. When tourists come fi Rae Town Old Hits dem want the traditional fry fry. And I always run out of ackee and saltfish fritters. Ask anybody, sales did good," said Briggie from the Dumpling Shop.

Another resident and small business owner, Tony Bucknor, said, "Back then the place was crime free, we never need security and from music start play people could come with them little stall and get good earnings fi throw partner."

While the old hits party has clearly left a void in Rae Town, there are some persons who feel a sense of relief. According to those persons, who appeared to be in the minority, the noise generated by the music was having an adverse impact on children and the elderly.

Blackwood, however, is not convinced the situation was that bad. "Music never kill nuhbody and we would welcome it back," she said.

When contacted, Wright said that the move from the community was necessary, but unfortunate.

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