By Felicity Ingraham
MEMBERS of the Rhythm & Youth Rake n’ Scrape band are set to become some of the newest and youngest ambassadors of Bahamian music in the world.
Formed just three years ago, the band is already receiving international acclaim and is scheduled to perform at a number of events in New York City this October.
However, they are in need of $40,000 for the entourage to make the trip, as they plan to make appearances on television shows, make university visits and more.
They are well on their way after being presented with a $30,200 cheque last month from Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr Daniel Johnson.
The funds came through a variety of channels, including direct donations, performances and a gala event held at the Sapodilla Restaurant on West Bay Street.
The band is mainly made up of students of the Gerald Cash Primary School rake n’ scrape band, but also includes students who have gone on to high school.
They performed at the Cat Island Rake n’ Scrape Festival this year, where Beat Schlagenhauf from Switzerland, guest of Cat Island native Dr Johnson, was wowed by this group of children, whom he described as “very passionate” about their craft.
The performance inspired him to do what he could to help them realise their dreams of visiting the Big Apple.
He worked with the Ministry and Sapodilla Restaurant owner Elaine Pinder to arrange a gala event, where others with the ability to donate and support the group could see them perform live and up close.
The event also featured an art auction conducted by businessman Dionisio D’Aguilar, with works donated by artists John Cox, Toby Lunn and Marco Mullings.
Guests enjoyed wine and tapas in the courtyard during the event. Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis was also on hand to support the children, as he too, is a Cat Island native.
Between the donations and the gala event, the Rhythm & Youth band is just about $10,000 shy of their target to make the trip in two months.
When Gerald Cash Primary School music teacher Nathaniel Adams, Jr, first started teaching rake n’ scrape music to the young boys who would linger around the park after school, he did it with the intention of ensuring that the community children did not grow idle and wayward, but instead develop a focus in life. What he got was a whole lot more.
The band has grown in number, and devoted students who went on to high school just could not leave the group behind, and so the Rhythm & Youth band was formed.
Mr Adam’s father, musician Nathaniel Adams, Sr, is also assisting in nurturing the group and performed with them at the recent gala event.
The park where the boys once hung out has since been renovated and is now the thriving Carmichael Community Athletics Centre.
Dr Johnson said the music, sports and social programmes coming out of the centre are transforming the lives of the children. He said he wants to see rake n’ scrape music continue to carve out its place in the world and is excited that the Rhythm & Youth band has been given the opportunity to assist in this endeavour.