Braata Productions a 501(3) non profit organization is excited to host the 4th annual, "Bankra Caribbean Folk Festival" in partnership with York Performing Arts Center. The Bankra Caribeban Folk Festival will feature traditional authentic folk forms, and experiences from different Caribbean territories. A bankra basket is a Jamaican traveling basket; usually woven, and is often carried or used as a display for a wide variety of produce. The name is inherited from the Twi language of Ghana (bonkara). This is exactly what this folk festival will replicate: the largesse beauty of the folk form uniquely represented from each island. 

There will be 3 major components to the festival:
(1) The Stalls/Island
(2) The Cultural Performances
(3) Pop Up Cultural Exhibit 

This event is dedicated to Folk forms and Folk culture, it will stimulate nostalgia for those who grew up with it, provide learning opportunities for others who had no knowledge of it, and will help reestablish the importance, and relevance of Folk as a viable, vibrant contributor to the Caribbean brand.

BRAATA Folk Singers

The Braata Folk Singers are proud ambassadors of and the foremost authority on Jamaican and Caribbean folk music performance in the United States. Braata has constantly wowed audiences on some of the most prestigious stages both locally and internationally and has reaped awards of excellence from the world’s most astute connoisseurs of choral music. The group has established itself among Jamaicans and others in the wider Caribbean Diaspora for its unique and dynamic presentation of the region's folk music, combining inspired choral arrangements with drama, intricate choreography, design elements and eye catching costume using traditional folk forms from the Caribbean region. The result is a theatrical presentation best described as “choral theater.”

Ernie Smith

 Smith was born in Kingston in May 1945 and raised in St. Ann and May Pen.His father played guitar and bought him an instrument when he was twelve. He played guitar in the band The Vandals in Claremont, St. Ann, after leaving school, and was nicknamed 'Ernie' after Ernest Ranglin. He initially (unsuccessfully) sought a career as a radio announcer, but then approached Federal Studios looking for work as a songwriter, ending up recording his songs himself.

Recording initially in an easy listening style, Smith's first chart success came in the late 1960s with "Bend Down", which was followed by Jamaican number one hits in "Ride on Sammy," "One Dream," and "Pitta Patta", all produced by Richard Khouri at Federal, the latter based on Lee "Scratch" Perry's "Musical Transplant" rhythm, which was voted the best song of the year in Swing magazine. In 1972, he won the Yamaha Music Festival in Japan with "Life Is Just For Living", a song originally written for a Red Stripe commercial. In 1973, he was honoured by the Jamaican government with The Badge of Honour For Meritorious Service in the Field of Music.

Andrew Clarke

Jamaican born Actor, Singer, Producer and Artistic Director Andrew Clarke has been gradually emerging as one of the most accomplished and exciting Caribbean artists working in New York City today.

This multitalented graduate of Jamaica’s renowned Edna Manley College School of Drama and Brooklyn College in New York, has gained considerable industry respect in a relatively short time as a true quadruple threat in the world of the performing arts- an award winning vocalist and thespian whose remarkable onstage  talents exist in comfortable alliance alongside his behind the scenes directorial skills and producing acumen.

His ability to marry the worlds of art and commerce- his unwavering commitment to the BUSINESS of SHOW - has marked him as a true talent to watch and a frontrunner among the elite corps of Caribbean artists destined to bring the region’s culture to a truly international 21st century audience.