Jamaica Sings Robert Burns – Promotional trailer.

In 1786 Robert Burns, national poet of Scotland, booked a ticket for a ship’s passage to Jamaica… In 2015 Jamaican singers and musicians began recording Robert Burns’ songs.

Ultimately Burns did not sail to Jamaica, his first book of poetry was published, and the rest is history. But what if Robert Burns had gone to Jamaica, how would his songs and poems have sounded and been sung?

This documentary will answer that question through the songs of Burns performed by Jamaican artistes and bands including the legendary Ken Boothe O.D., Cherine Anderson, Scottish based Jamaican singer Brina, Nickeishia Barnes, Berri, Rootz Underground, Raging Fyah, Dubtonic Kru, Addis Pablo and others. Musicians on the recordings have played and recorded with the likes of Bob Marley, The Wailers, and many of Jamaica’s leading acts.

The songs of Robert Burns performed as if he had made that journey to live and work on a plantation in Jamaica, beg the question of how Burns’ songs and poetry might have been influenced by this experience, and what would his songs have sounded like had they been absorbed into the Jamaican musical repertoire and sung today in Jamaican popular musical styles such as Reggae, Mento, Nyabinghi and Dancehall – in a mix of Scots, Patwa (the Jamaican language) and English.

Robert Burns’ songs and poems cry out for the freedom of mankind from slavery, poverty and social injustice – he also penned some of the greatest love songs. Jamaican songs have long used these same themes. This documentary captures the Jamaican singers and musicians in action – recording these new and innovative interpretations of Burns’ songs as they tell their stories, what the songs mean to them, and what connections they have with Burns. While these songs are being created the film will visit places in Scotland associated with Burns and the events preceding his intended departure from Scotland, and in Jamaica the film will visit places associated with Robert Burns like Charles Douglas’ former plantation where Robert Burns was invited to work. The film will also examine how the participating artists journeys have helped in creating this fusion of different cultures.

The film will show how the cross-cultural fusion of Burns’ Scottish songs and Jamaican music can be a force for uniting cultures. Jamaica’s national motto is “Out of Many One People” This common theme of the oneness, or brotherhood of man also occurs in Robert Burn’s songs, and is demonstrated in these recordings.

We are seeking partners to assist with funding to complete the shooting of this feature length documentary, and share this incredible project with the world. The film will be directed by Rick Elgood (Dancehall Queen – with Cherine Anderson, One Love – with Idris Elba, Ky-Mani Marley)

For more information please contact kieran@tribalglobal.com