Montreal Caribbean Jammers

Egbert Gaye

In Trinidad they call it the “engine room” …  a collection of percussion instruments struck, scraped or shaken to keep time and provoke audiences to dance. It’s a place where rhythm lives. In other parts of the world that place is called the rhythm section, referred to as “the backbone” or “the heartbeat” of the music.
That definition comes alive when you listen to the Montreal Caribbean Jammers, a local group of percussion players who use a variety of skinned drums, congas, a drum set, a scratcher, and different types of steel made from the rims of automobile wheels (called irons) to create rhythms that can be tantalizing as they are pulsating.
The five-member group include Jimmy, Neville, Nick, Junior and Carlene, each one an accomplished percussion player who have been members of various musical groups here in Montreal and the Caribbean.  And for the past two years they have been making the rounds at different events around our community and across the province thrilling audiences far and wide with the captivating beats, which they categorize as Afro Caribbean rhythms.
This past February, they brought their music to the far reaches of Quebec in Nunavut, Iqaluit where hundreds turned out to bounce to their rhythms at a Black History Month celebration.
The way Neville and Jimmy (group captain and group manager, respectively) tell it, it was an eye-opening experience for those who dwell so far up north, as it was for members of the Jammers.
“We had all different types of people in the audience, (indigenous people, French and English Canadians, and even a good number of Black people, and they were all equally moved by our rhythms,” says Neville.
Jimmy says they were surprised at the warm reception offered up by the community to their acceptance of a form of music that many would have considered foreign to them.
It shows, he says, “that rhythm has no barriers and everyone can be moved by it.
He says the Montreal Caribbean Jammers perform at about 12 to 15 events every year in everything from weddings, birthday parties, fetes, concerts and wherever else guests and audiences need to be spiced up musically.
For the past years, they have been performing at the annual Caribbean Boat Ride parties, which kept revelers sweating through a jam session that lasted for several hours.
They say in Montreal, where there’s always something to celebrate, promoters and event organizers now have at their disposal a rhythm side to keep the people moving. Call Neville or Jimmy at 514-974-6026 or 514-884-4245.