On this occasion we remember 2 benefit concerts with Chris Barber in favour of the SOS Children's Village in Jamaica. Much has been written in the press about the musical career of the famous musician. At this point we would like to remind you what a generous person Chris Barber was.
Hurricane Gilbert in the Caribbean
September 12, 1988 went down in Jamaica history as one of the worst natural disasters on the island. Hurricane Gilbert crossed the island lengthways from Morant Bay to Negril, leaving a trail of total devastation. The storm with over 200 km/h, 800 mm of rain and 6 meter high waves washed away houses and streets, covered a large part of the corrugated iron roofs and claimed 49 lives in Jamaica alone.
The SOS Children's Village in Stony Hill, for which the German-Jamaican Society (DJG) had been involved with relief measures for a long time, was also badly damaged. It was immediately clear to Anne Gierlich and Betty Henne that they should not only call for donations on behalf of the DJG, but that more should be done.
Relief actions from the Ruhr area
The idea of a solidarity concert came up quickly, and in Chris Barber, the popular jazz musician from England, an absolutely committed and convincing artist was found.
On October 17th, the concert was a huge success in the Gelsenkirchen Revierpark under the patronage of the Lord Mayor. More than 6,000 DM were raised and, in addition to other monetary donations, aid items such as clothing and medication worth over 90,000 DM were also sent to the Caribbean.
In order to be able to complete the necessary reconstruction of the SOS Children's Village, the active members of the DJG in the “Ruhr Pott” followed up with Chris Barber and his band with another Jamaica information and concert evening on October 9, 1989.
In this context, the DJG is very grateful to Chris Barber, who was born in England in 1930 and was awarded the Order of the British Empire, for his commitment. This is all the more true since Chris Barber and his big band had turned to the blues from New Orleans in many pieces. In doing so, he paved the way for a musical culture in Europe in which the diverse influences of the Caribbean and the Afro-American south of the USA still come together today.