Thursday, August 03, 2006

'Mother' of Jamaican culture dead at 86

TORONTO, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- The Jamaican folklore expert who gave Harry Belefonte his hit song, "Day-O," Louise Simone Bennett-Coverly, has died in Toronto at age 86.

Bennett-Coverly, whose cultural efforts also inspired reggae icon Bob Marley, died last Wednesday at Toronto's Scarborough Hospital, the Los Angeles Times reported Wedesday.

Born in Kingston in 1919, the woman known as Miss Lou fought to maintain the true culture of the island through her poems and activism to help Jamaica's women and impoverished, the newspaper said.

"I say Jamaica is ... and a lot of the Caribbean countries now are culturally emancipated," Bennett-Coverly said in a 1994 interview. "We can sing our songs ... the children can sing the song that they know."

Bennett-Coverly's body will be returned to Jamaica and buried next to her husband, Eric Coverly, during an Aug. 9 state funeral.

She is survived by one son.

No comments: