CaribbeanTales International Film Festival
Pimento and Hot Pepper – The Mento Story
Rick Elgood | Feature | 59 mins | 2016 | Jamaica | English | PG 13
Originally, in Jamaican music, there was Mento. It was, not only the name of a musical style and a type of band, but also a song form, a rhythm, and a dance. And yet for a century, Mento music and its performers have hidden in plain sight. This documentary explores the origins of Mento and where it is today.
Mento’s socially aware and often bawdy lyrics spoke to the lives of the people of the countryside and downtown, which didn’t square with the sensibilities of uptown Kingston. A “polished” version of Mento was marketed (to capitalize on the popularity of its Trinidadian cousin — caypso) as Jamaican “calypso”, but it could not compete with emerging musical forms like Ska. While Mento became a symbol of cultural identity in the years after Jamaican independence in 1962, it was overshadowed by Reggae’s international superstars.
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Short Film Presentation
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