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Finding Romance in Jamaica

Romance isn’t something I think about when I travel as most of the times, I’m traveling solo. When I travel with my partner, it’s an entirely different trip as every activity we engage in, whether we’re looking at art, admiring the architecture of an old building or sharing a meal, is infused with the passion we have for each other, and romantic feelings bloom.

That’s not to say that when I travel solo I don’t notice places that evoke romantic feelings or ooze romance and make me wish he’d come with me – I do – but I focus on what interests me. So in celebration of romance and Valentine’s Day, I’m sharing some of the places and things that, to me, scream romance.

Sunrise

Sunrise, especially those moments when night is slowly giving way to day, always stir romantic feelings. I was halfway up Jamaica’s Blue Mountain as the glow of the moon receded and the sun began to stain the sky with a muted palette of colors that made me feel just warm and fuzzy.

Early morning romance on the Blue Mountain

Sunrise on the Blue Mountain, Jamaica

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Soulful Sundays: Aswad

British reggae band, Aswad, has been around since the mid 70s.

Aswad

Aswad

Take a listen to one of their big hits, Don’t Turn Around.

Happy Sunday!

Soulful Sundays: Judy Mowatt

Though Judy Mowatt is best known as a member of the I-Threes, Bob Marley’s back up vocalists (Rita Marley and Marcia Griffiths were the other two), she is also an accomplished songwriter who enjoyed a separate career as a solo recording artist.

Born Judith Veronica Mowatt in Kingston around 1952, Mowatt sang in a church choir and as a teen, was part of a dance group that toured the Caribbean. Later, she was a member of the trio, The Gaylettes, which had a major hit with the song, Silent River. Mowatt continued recording following the break up of the group and wrote several tracks for Bunny Wailer. However, because of contractual disputes, she used a number of different pseudonyms. Two of her tracks were on The Wailers’ Burnin album.

In 1974, Mowatt had a second hit with a cover of I Shall Sing, a song recorded originally by Miriam Makeba. When she and Rita Marley backed up Marcia Griffiths, they hit it off and a new group, the I-Threes, was born. They joined Bob in 1975 and continued to back him up until his death in 1981. During that time, Mowatt continued to record on her own. Her first solo album, Mellow Mood, was released in 1975. Her second, Black Woman, the first album recorded at Marley’s Tuff Gong studios, is thought to be the best album by a female reggae artist.

Mowatt followed up with Only a Woman and Working Wonders then took over producing her own music. She even founding her own label. In 1985, she became the first female to be nominated for a Grammy in the reggae music category for her album Working Wonders.

Formerly a member of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, a Rastafarian group, Judy Mowatt converted to Christianity in 1990 and now sings Gospel music.

In 1999, the government of Jamaica awarded her an Order of Distinction for her contribution to reggae music.

Here’s Mowatt’s Many are Called.

 

 

Soulful Sundays: JC Lodge

Born June Carol Lodge in London, England in 1958 to a Jamaican father and British mother, JC Lodge was taken to Jamaica as a child. She’s probably best known for her international hit, Telephone Love.

JC Lodge, image from the internet

JC Lodge, image from the internet

An accomplished artist and actress, Lodge recorded more than 12 albums. She returned to live in the UK in 2001.