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Enjoy Jamaican food and entertainment at farewell party

BIG NOISE: Spicy is returning to Jamaica

HE’S BEEN a vital part of the Birmingham community for more than four decades but the call of home is proving just too strong for popular poet Spicy Fingers who is returning to his beloved Jamaica with plans for a new project to help his homeland.

The award-winning poet and djembe drummer plans to help launch community-based micro farms in the parish of St. Mary, where he grew up, along with the building of a 500-home eco village. The ambitious plans hinge on funding applications which he hopes will be successful within months.

His aim is to encourage families in St. Mary, particularly those who are struggling financially, to become more self-sustainable by growing their own food and living healthier lives for themselves and their children.

Spicy, who is also known as O’Neil Gabbidon, is part of the talented Gabbidon family which includes brother Basil, one of the founding members of Steel Pulse and successful artist and musician, Colin Gabbidon.

This is not the first time that Spicy has stepped up to support Jamaica – three years ago he cycled the length of Britain in just nine days to help raise funds to reprint his book of poetry called Reflecting Black.

He then distributed the books across Jamaica to help youngsters understand the beauty and power of the written word.

STRUGGLED

Poignantly, he left Jamaica as a teenager who struggled with literacy, yet went on to become a published poet of several books. He had 5,000 books printed and returned to his Caribbean island to talk to children in schools about his work.

He told The Voice:

“I have learned a lot in England but it has never been home to me.

“I think the time is right for me now to return home and help to put something back into the community where I grew up. It’s time people in Jamaica grew more of their own food instead of being intimidated by stories of ‘reapers’ who they claim steal their crops.”

But Spicy insists this is not the final cutting of his ties with Birmingham as he hopes volunteers from the UK will help in the projects as they develop and grow.

To help raise funds, Spicy is hosting his own leaving party on 18 March at the Mango Lounge, Aldridge Road, Perry Barr from 8pm, which will include a raffle and sale of Spicy’s art, along with a jamming party thanks to help from Jazz and Blues singer Judith Emeline, Basil Gabbidon and many other artists.

Tickets for the evening, which include food, are £10 each. For further information contact Spicy on 07831 940206 or visit his O’Neil Gabbidon Facebook page.

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