Sunday, November 10, 2013

Junetta Jamerson

Junetta Jamerson by Wanderfull1

Junetta Jamerson, a photo by Wanderfull1 on Flickr.
Junetta Jamerson belting out Koko Taylor's "I am a Woman" at the Calgary Public Library's One Book One Calgary launch, last night at the downtown Central branch. Junetta's band included her husband Rick Jamerson on bass. [Yeah, I was thinking maybe his name might be James... like the Funk Brothers' James Jamerson.  I wonder if they might be related; even distantly.]

The Library's program publications said a gospel singer was going to perform. I'm not a big fan of the gospel. But because I'm a photo-slut I committed to taking photos for the Library before checking the performer lineup. What a surprise, though. I thought I'd explode with joy when I heard the first blues riff.  Then Junetta sang... the joy went nuclear!

But the night was about a book... the One Book, One Calgary selection as a matter of fact.  This year, OBOC celebrates Lawrence Hill's "The Book of Negroes," a fictional account of an 1700s African woman kidnapped and sold into slavery who spends her life trying get back home to Africa.  Although the book is fiction it is based on fact; including something never mentioned in history books -- black slavery in Canada.  Lawrence Hill puts a human face to historical events. I understand they're going to film a series.

Lawrence, or Larry as he prefers to be called, was a shyly wry speaker.  I especially liked his story of why he chose to become a writer. It involved Larry wanting a kitten at age 6 and his father tasking him to write a paragraph explaining why, who would feed it, and how to keep it from having kittens in the closet. Larry got the biggest laugh when he asked if we would mind trading mayors.  He's from Toronto.

What was also cool was a huge wall map of the world on the main floor.  Using strings and pins people were invited to show the route they took to get to Calgary from their home country.  At one point I got too close and a couple people handed me their cameras, wanting me to take photos of them tagging the map.  One guy gave me his iPhone, something I have got to learn how to use some day. Give me a DSLR or point and shoot camera and I can eventually figure out how it works. But iPhones... such a thin little thing with buttons all over the place... I feel like I'm all thumbs.  I hope I gave him at least one good photo.


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