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Billy D airs “Cradle of the Nation” to massive listenership of SOS 95.9 FM

Great Bay, St. Martin (November 9, 2011) — Broadcaster and popular talk-show host Jacques “Billy D” Hamlet aired “Cradle of the Nation” as a St. Martin Day radio special at 12 midnight on November 11 and at 3 PM of the same day, said Jacqueline Sample of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).

Billy D aired “Cradle of the Nation” as radio-theater on 95.9 FM for St. Martin Day.

The radio station SOS 95.9 FM will air the 13-minute dramatic poem, written and recited by Lasana M. Sekou, accompanied by an orchestra of music sampling and sound effects by Angelo Rombley, from The Salt Reaper CD, an HNP production.

“Cradle of the nation,” which mythologizes St. Martin people to the island’s Great Salt Pond has been called “magisterial” by Jamaican scholar and reggae critic Dr. Carolyn Cooper.
St. Martin Day was celebrated island-wide on November 11 with official speeches, sports, beach picnics, and music activities. “This is very encouraging to have Billy D add a literary expression in celebrating St. Martin Day through radio,” said Sekou.
In the poetry-music drama it is the “voice” of the Great Salt Pond speaking to the St. Martin people about aspects of their history. “Airing ‘Cradle of the nation’ also raises more awareness about the meaning and value of the Great Salt Pond to our history, culture, identity, and the health of the natural environment,” said Sekou. HNP has a protect-the-pond petition open for everyone to sign at the Jubilee Library and the St. Maarten Museum, said Sample.

Sample and Sekou said the Nature Foundation water tests this week are added proof of how the pond is being degraded by human activity. The testing found high levels of “pollutants and sewage … in the Great Salt Pond,” and “the possibility of fish die-offs and increased midge activity between now and the early part of 2012,” according to the foundation.
“We want to involve the nation’s people as wide as possible, in signing the petition and in being aware about the deep cultural identity and extreme environmental importance of the Great Salt Pond. This radio-theater may help to spread the word a bit more at some level of consciousness and hopefully it motives more positive and protective action,” said the author.
“Imagine a stronger awareness among people, ranging from research-conscious teens like those at SIMARC to the hardcore fans and participants of pop culture activities like the motor races organized by the undaunted Miguel Mingau,” said Sekou.
Both SOS 95.9 FM and 98.1 Pearl FM will simulcast the radio-theater “At midnight St. Martin Day, and at three o’clock in the afternoon on November 11. Listeners can follow along with The Salt Reaper book or just enjoy or be inspired by the radio recital and music of this original story of the St. Martin people,” said Sample.

The official St. Martin Day celebration is hosted this year by the government of the South of the island with a chock-full calendar of activities beginning at 5:50 AM.
“Tuning in for ‘Cradle of the Nation’ just adds a dramatic piece of radio-theater to the pot on 98.1 Pearl FM and SOS 95.9 FM,” said Sample.

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