CPTC celebrates the life and work of the late Ethnomusicologist, Dr. Olive Lewin, O.J., C.D.
The CPTC’s association with the late Dr. Olive Lewin began as far back as 1985, when she was in charge of Culture in the Office of the Prime Minister.
A few years later, Dr. Lewin would partner with the CPTC in documenting her accumulated suite of folk songs, instruments and ring games. This resulted in a programme called, “Yerri Mi” (1989) which is a three (3) part series, and has had repeated broadcast on local television. The success of the “Yerri Mi” series, spawned visual documentation of other works, whether they were a part of the Hill an’ Gully Ride programme on a Sunday afternoon, or at Christmas. Not to be forgotten is her work with the maroons. CPTC accompanied Dr. Lewin to Moore Town in 2002. This trip was important to her, as UNESCO was seeking worldwide nominations for masterpieces of oral and intangible heritage. A year later, the Maroon Heritage of Moore Town was on the UNESCO’s representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. A proud achievement.
Dr. Lewin believed that folk music comes from the lives, experiences and memories of people. Our memories of her are of that passion to share her knowledge and to learn any new songs that the production team, would attempt to sing for her. These attempts she would welcome with that smile and wonderful humour. Hill and Gully Ride’s Director/Producer Carey Robinson, will tell you that he also worked with Dr. Lewin at the Office of the Prime Minister in the 1980s. According to Robinson, Dr. Lewin marshalled all the folk songs that she came across into a remarkable collection. She further polished them into lovely choral pieces with her Jamaican Folk Singers, without removing the authenticity of the songs.
In Dr. Lewin’s later years, she recorded a “Treasury of Folk Music with Dr. Olive Lewin”, a 55 minutes programme, which is now an important reference material for folk music.
In 2010, she was awarded the CPTC’s Cultural Medal of Honour for her outstanding and pioneering work in preserving our folk culture.
In celebration of Dr. Lewin’s work, CPTC is happy to showcase all her work on Flow Channel 116 until the end of this month.
Dr. Lewin receiving Cultural Medal of Honour from the Governor General.
Credit: Lorna B. Napier