London Prepares for Reggae With a Regimental Difference


London is set to be brightened up by the sounds of Jamaica this summer, but rather than familiar reggae tones it will be the unmistakable sound and look of the military bands of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) that will be filling the air.
A combined Jamaica Military and Jamaica Regiment Band is now in the UK as part of the annual military exchange: Calypso Hop. They arrived at the start of July to support the JDF contingent engaging in ceremonial duties, including the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace starting on Tuesday 17th July.
The combined band is also due to make several appearances in and around central London, as they prepare to commemorate two of Jamaica’s most significant dates, Emancipation Day on 1st August and Independence Day on 6th August.
The 34-strong band members, led by their Director of Music Major Roy Wade, are particularly striking, not only for their distinctive music, but also for the highly unusual ‘Zouave’ uniforms worn by the Jamaica Military Band (JMB) and the full-dress scarlet tunic worn by the Jamaica Regiment Band. The JMB’s return to London is being greeted with much excitement and anticipation by the Jamaican community both at home and here in the UK. The Jamaican High Commissioner to the UK, His Excellency the Honourable Burchell Whiteman, OJ, comments: “This is a very proud summer for Jamaicans in the UK. I urge Londoners and Jamaicans to unite and enjoy together the spectacle of these remarkable men, both soldiers and musicians, whose colourful uniforms, together with their musicianship, capture the pride and glory of the Jamaica Defence Force, and indeed our wonderful country”.
Schedule of Appearances
July 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, at 11am – The Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace
July 31 at 11am – Windsor Castle Guard
August 1 from 12-2pm – St James’ Park Bandstand
August 3 at 11am – The Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace
August 5 – Time TBC – Brixton, Windrush Square
August 6 from 12-2pm – St James’ Park Bandstand
August 19 at 3pm TBC – Grand Carnival Costume Splash, Alexandra Palace
August 23 – TIME TBC – GLA Slavery Memorial Day

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