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Philip 7 Offers Caribbean Flavour, Turnkey Salutes Bo Diddley, I-Octane Doing Well And Others

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Caribbean flavour alternative haven for singer Philip 7

When Barbadian singer, Philip 7, hits the stage, the edgy alternative/rock sound that resonates from his powerful frame is the last thing audiences expect to hear. With an inborn love for music, Philip 7, aka Philip Scantlebury, has carved a niche for himself in a musical genre not typically known for its West Indian roots. The Sunday Gleaner spoke with the easy-going Barbadian singer while he is in Jamaica working on new singles. Having done four months of steady vocal training, Philip 7 has a powerful, raw vocal talent that has made him a blossoming artiste in Barbados. However, while Philip is currently a musical success, music wasn’t something that he pursued while growing up. “Music got involved with me. It’s fate, really. I tried running from music all my life, having never participated in singing in school or being on the choir, but music is the only thing in my life that kept coming back to me,” he said.

Early Beginnings

Philip’s stint in music started over a decade ago when he began performing with the Barbadian R&B a cappella group, Suave. Shortly after the break-up of Suave, Philip was invited to audition for the blues and soul band, Acoustic Blue. With a successful audition, Philip’s growth and evolution as an artiste began, and it was while with Acoustic Blue that he got bitten by the rock bug. Eventually gaining a spot on the local nightclub circuit, the band changed its name to Le Groove and began performing at McBride’s Irish Pub. Under the name Le Groove, Philip recorded six original tracks, notably Without You and Where Were You?

While alternative music is not as popular as reggae in Barbados, Philip soon had a following of fans in his homeland. He explained, “I started off singing an alternative flavour but I have more range to my music, having to try to appeal to everyone, so I play anything from R&B, hip hop, reggae, soul and jazz.” In 2005, Philip merged with the alternative band, Masala, and together they tirelessly rehearsed and fine-tuned their sound to set the band apart from any other.

First Big Break

However, Philip believes his first big break in music came with the single, Beautiful Stranger, which was then remixed into a reggae version by Clive Hunt at Harmony House in Jamaica. “Beautiful Stranger right now is the song everyone in Barbados knows me for. Everyone thought it was an American singer at first,” he explained. Philip’s talent was soon recognised in his homeland when he was awarded ‘Best Rock/Alternative Artiste’ at the third annual Barbados Music Awards.

With the success of Beautiful Stranger, Philip has been working with Barbadian producer Gary Serrao and Canadian-based international producer Derek Brin with new alternative tracks, Nothing Left to Say and Unconditional.

Working With Producers

Philip has released a soca song, Bring Di Wuk, which he hopes will make it big for Barbados’ upcoming Crop Over season, as well as the R&B song, Silence Me.

While in Jamaica, Philip has been working with producers such as Bulby, Stephen McGregor and Jeremy Harding, among many others. He hopes by the end of the year to release his first solo album, but he hasn’t decided which genres of music will be featured. In the meantime, Philip is looking forward to a bright career in music as he says, “I am music. It’s my love and passion.”

Source: Jamaica Gleaner

Turnkey Productions salutes musical stalwart Bo Diddley

American rock and roll singer, song writer and guitarist Bo Diddley died on Monday, June 2, 2008 of heart failure at the age of 79.

The organizers of the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival offer their sincere condolences to the fans, family and friends of Bo Diddley. According to the organizers Bo was a featured performer on the Festival and was well received by loving Jamaican audiences and had indicated an interest in returning to the island to perform.

Often cited as a key figure in the transition from blues to rock and roll, Diddley introduced more insistent, driving rhythms and a hard-edged guitar sound and was also known for his characteristic rectangular guitar. Diddley was well known for the “Bo Diddley beat,” a rumba-like beat, a style used by street performers who play out the beat by slapping and patting their arms, legs, chest, and cheeks while chanting rhymes.

In the 50s at the height of his career, Diddley recorded such seminal rock songs as ‘I’m a Man,’ ‘Who Do You Love?’, ‘Mona’ and ‘Road Runner,’ all of which have since become essential learning material for rock and blues bands, and have been covered by countless leading artists. In 2006 Diddley graced the stage of the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival where he gave a stirring, soulful 15 minute set on the drums much to the awe and delight of patrons.

Last year Diddley was admitted to intensive care in Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska, following a stroke after a concert at Council Bluffs, Iowa. Diddley also suffered a heart attack last August, from which he never fully recovered. Since then, the entertainer was undergoing rehabilitation near his Florida home. Funeral services are being planned for this weekend, with details to be announced.

Source: Turn Key Productions

For the first time, dancehall night for Italy’s Rototom Reggae Festival

Originally, Rototom means a drum that is spinning. Then there was a club somewhere in the north of Italy that was so called. In a context where the meaning of the word keeps spinning, it’s not surprising that for first time in its 15-year history, the popular annual Italian Rototom Reggae Festival, will see the introduction of a Dancehall Night. And to mark its 15th anniversary, the official launch of the festival takes place today in Jamaica at Strawberry Hill.

“Usually the festival is a rootsy festival, this year for the first time, we have a night that is basically just dancehall artistes, like Voicemail, Bugle, Mr Vegas, Wayne Marshall…this the first time in the history of the festival we’ve a night that’s just dancehall, usually it’s roots and fundation music,’ Lampa, a representative of the festival organisers told Chat!. The Italian dreadlocks from Rome, who has been based in Jamaica for the past 10 years, said that the festival which started as a three-day event with one or two international artistes, kept growing.

He also said that the event which grew from two days to week and now 10 days, will also feature a cadre of new artistes headed by Etana, along with foundation artistes inclusive of Bob Andy, Errol Dunkley and Sugar Minott.

“The press conference was called to launch the festival in Jamaica, and because it is a reggae festival and it’s the 15th anniversary, the idea was, you know what, we’re going to Jamaica because it’s the land that we look up to. Majority of the artistes who are performing at the festival are from Jamaica,” Lampa who is better known for his One Love Sound system and distribution company said.

“But the festival itself,” he further explained, “is not only about Jamaica. We’ve a lot of European artistes also, Italian artistes and African music. We’ve Brazilian music, we always have different music, but 90 percent of the music is reggae. So it comes natural for us to come to Jamaica to establish a bridge, making the link and the connection more stronger, because this is what unify us.”

The ten-day festival runs from July 3 to 12, in the North East of Italy, in close approximity to the city of Venice. Most of the fans attending the Rototom Festival, come from all over Europe. France, Germany, Spain, Portugal.

“It’s not anymore just a Italian reggae festival,” Lampa said, “Maybe 10 years ago. Now it’s growing more and more as a European musical event. Because mostly, the crowd diffinitely come from Europe.”

The visiting press corp of over 40, is in the island for the special launch of the 15 anniversary of Rototom Festival. The contigent of media personalities from the UK and Europe, swooped down on the Tuff Gong Recording Studio, where a tour of the internationally renowned facility at 220 Marcus Garvey Drive in Kingston where they were met by owner Rita Marley, was conducted yesterday.

Source: Jamaica Observer

Clear skies, right mix and ‘Good Times’

This patron looks as if she is getting ready to dance up a storm.

It was the right musical mix that greeted patrons at ‘Good Times, Pump Up The Jam’ held at the Mas Camp Village last Saturday night.

What looked like a rainy Saturday evening turned into clear skies during the night as patrons came out in their numbers to have a good time.

At midnight when THE STAR team arrived at the venue, a steady stream of patrons, fashionably dressed, could be seen entering the Mas Camp. Inside the venue persons were rocking rub-a-dub style to the music of veteran sound system Stone Love, with selector Rory at the controls. An energetic Rory reminded patrons whyStone Love was still at the top of its game after so many years, as he got the dancing started earlier than at previous Good Times events.

It was an easy vibe as persons wined up to songs like Bike Back and a slew of early dancehall hits before the selectors changed the beat to disco.

Switch of Music

While a few patrons voiced their discontent with the switch of music, the majority put on their dancing shoes to get Footloose, crying I Will Survive and Frankie before Rory suddenly teased with Beenie Man’s Nuff Gal.

Changing the vibe, a slew of Bob Marley songs followed as persons rocked along to Natural Mystic, Three Little Birds, Who The Cap Fits and others.

Wacky T from Miami followed, making an impression with some Beres Hammond tunes, which the women especially enjoyed.

The selectors then touched the right mix with soca songs.

Females got down to do the Butterfly, jumped up to Tiney Winey and showed off their Dollar Wine. One man made a spectacle of himself in the middle of the dance floor as he moved his hips to the music which switched again to Madonna’s Like A Virgin, Material Girl and Here I Am by Sanchez.

Musical teasing

Around the venue, people were enjoying the choice of songs as they raised their hands in praise of some and danced to others. While some patrons couldn’t keep up with the musical teasing by the selectors, others loved the change in selections.

When the vibe suddenly switched to dancehall, patrons got down on the floor to Sycamore Tree, Joyride and Rubbers before Jazzy T from Renaissance took over, playing soul music that had couples slow wining together.

While not as packed as previous Good Times, patrons were obviously enjoying themselves. Renaissance continued playing good music until 4 a.m. when people finally began to file out of the venue.

Source: The Star

Beenie, Junior Gong Rock BVI Music Festival

Reports out of the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands indicate that Damion ‘Junior Gong’ Marley and Moses ‘Beenie Man’ Davis were the toast of last weekend’s eighth annual BVI Music Festival.

It is reported that The Doctor and young Gong took the patrons to new heights as they performed hit after hit on the Saturday night of the three-day festival. Marley got the crowd going, performing lively tunes and giving an energetic set which included some of his popular tunes as well as works from his late father’s catalogue, before closing with the title track form his Grammy award-winning album, Welcome to Jamrock.

King of the Dancehall, Beenie Man, followed Marley and was equally entertaining with dancehall selections such as Girls Dem Sugar and Gangsta for Life.

The festival, which began Friday night with Haiti’s Tabou Combo and its blend of zouk followed by the energetic Arrow of Montserrat, wrapped up Sunday night with performances by Jerry Butler, En Vogue and Jeffery Osbourne.

Source: Jamaica Observer (Chat)

World Premiere of Jamaican 1970’s Political Drama

The world premiere of Better Mus’ Come at the Flashpoint Film Festival is a drama/suspense film that is geared at exploring the root of many of Jamaica’s post-independence problems. Directed by Storm Saulter, the film is one that will definitely open the doors for social commentary about the 1970’s political atmosphere in Jamaica.

An explosive drama set in 1977 against the backdrop of political gang rivalry that shook Jamaica to its core, Better Mus’ Come follows Ricky (Sheldon Shepherd), a leader of a politically affiliated gang based in the southside slums of Kingston. The story charts his journey to an event that was inspired by the Green Bay Massacre.

The storyline was brought to life with the added talent of the exceptional and dynamic Nicole Grey, Roger Guenveur Smith (American Gangster, Malcolm X, Do the Right Thing), Everaldo Creary, Ricardo Orgill and Dwayne Pusey.

“Through reading about the political tensions in the seventies, I wanted to use this film to explore the root of many of our post-independence problems,” commented an enthusiastic Saulter. “I’m not aiming to show violence for the purpose of action entertainment, but to expose the cause and effect and how we are all affected in some way or another, no matter the ‘class’,” he also said.

Producing any film will of course present its challenges and Better Mus Come had its own. “It was very hard to get proper special effects material and props, such as exploding blood, blank shells, fake movie guns in the island…I give the Jamaica Defence Force the highest respect and ratings for being so professional and helping us get the job done,” Saulter also commented.

Better Mus’ Come premieres at the 2008 Flashpoint Film Festival on Saturday, June 7 at Fort Charles, Port Royal.

Source: Q-tech Communications

The 2008 Soca Awards Announces Honouree Recipients and Nominees

The eagerly anticipated list of Honoree Recipients and Nominees for the sixth Annual International Soca Awards (ISA6), to be held on Saturday, October 18, 2008, was officially announced live on various radio stations across the Caribbean on Monday, June 2.

This year’s awards will be held at the St. Kitts Marriott Center under the kind patronage of the Honorable Minister of State for Tourism, Sports and Culture, Senator Richard “Ricky” Skerritt. This red carpet, star studded gala will bring Soca entertainers and Soca lovers from all across the world together to bestow accolades upon those deserving of the honor.

Nominees for the top spots for best male and female soca performers of the year include Bunji Garlin, Machel Montano, Destra and Fay-Ann Lyons respectively, while Shurwyne Winchester and Kevin Little will be battling for the Best Male Vocalist award. Votes will open for each category on Friday, June 6 on www.socaawards.com.

Support for the International Soca Awards is provided by St. Kitts Tourism Authority, St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino, b Mobile, HYPE TV, Royal St. Kitts Hotel & Casino ZIZ TV, ZIZ Radio, socaawards.com, socatvonline.com, Win FM 98.9, Sugar City Roc 90.3 FM, Radio One 94.1FM, Red Hot Radio 98.5FM, sknvibes.com, Club Kactus, sknentertainment.com, Shabeau Magazine, Shabeau Style TV, Pour Moi – Cognac, JTE Spirits, W4 Tours & Promotions, tropicalfete.com, thefrontlineradio.com, toronto-lime.com and wukupnuff.com, www.socaordie.com, caribbeanmecca.com, tswradio.com, Soca Mix, Turner Video Productions and V.I.P Connected.

After five successful years in New York (2003- 2007) and Trinidad, the 2008 event promises to be the biggest yet, showcasing the absolute best talent that the Caribbean has to offer with the usually highly anticipated live performances by the top international Soca Artists. A very high profile international entertainment superstar is expected to be the special invited guest presenter at the Soca evening of music, culture and honours.

Source: S.O.A. Media

Appleton May Daze Ends On High Note

In the wee hours of the morning on May 31st, the 2008 season of Appleton May Daze Fantasy Fridays came to an exciting and unforgettable end.

With its first ever staging, the promoters can boast that this event has certainly claimed its position on the calendars of party goers in Jamaica, and has placed itself in the hearts of many patrons who yearned for something more to do in May. “It was really for us grown folks, who didn’t have exams to sit in May, to have something to do on a Friday night” said party promoter Stephen Willie, “many party promoters were afraid to have events during that time, because college students and high school students were studying and sitting exams, so we set out to combine favourable elements and party concepts, to ensure that May would never be considered an off season ever again” he continued.

Over the last five weeks, we have seen ‘Forbidden Fantasies’ fulfilled, where flirtatious, masked ladies exchanged favours for beads, and men stocked with beads had no issues with the proposition.

The fine selection of the hottest and most sort after selectors in the industry brought out the heat and the ‘Short Temper’ in the sexy ladies that were clad in short shorts and skimpy skirts dancing the night away and enjoying two for one Appleton mixes.

90’s Music provided the perfect backdrop for the patrons to ‘Bruk Out’ to the hits from one of the most remembered and celebrated decades of the last Millennium and speaking of backdrops the Encava bus was the perfect throwback as it was used as the backdrop for the bar on the night.

‘May-hem’ was certainly created as those patrons that were a little crazy about fashion had their night out to be themselves and be ‘krazily sexy’ if just for one night only, Akbar was stir with crazy colours and crazy fashion, proving that if anyone can get people to dress crazy, May Daze certainly can.

With the Emancipation/Independence Weekend being one of the more highly anticipated party weekends this side of the Caribbean, the promoters decided to end Appleton May Daze by bringing the vibe and energy of the ‘Negril’ Weekend to New Kingston. This saw females coming out in massive numbers in their bikini’s and shorts and men dressed in marinas and sandals all in a bid to soak up some real Appleton May Daze Fun.

Many patrons are looking forward to the event next year, one patron was heard saying “yow mi nah lie, May Daze kick off the summer mad, dem need fi have a June Daze too, better yet a whole Year Daze”. These sentiments were passed on by a few other patrons as the left the venue on Saturday Morning.

“It has been a fun ride” said the other party promoter Dwayne Harris, “there were a lot of problems each week, especially the last Friday, but our team was always up to the task, and went above and beyond the call of duty” he continued. “Though we had absolutely no experience in putting on a party series, I believe that we still did well to cover our inexperience, so that patrons never saw the obvious” said Stephen Willie.

“The party series would have never been possible without the sponsors, individuals and groups who supported the vision of the fantasy. Appleton Jamaica Rum the rum of choice for the series and Adrenaline Rush and Pepsi for being the chasers of choice. Spotlight for helping to give Akbar lighting of the finest calibre, the Bar-Code bar staff provided by IB Konteh of J.E.M (Jamrock Entertainment), our resident DJ, ZJ Ice from Zip fm who kept the party at fever pitch throughout the entire series, Supa Hype and Roxene Nickle at the homely studio Famz House, who made some amazing radio ads for us each week, and all the entertainment websites, such as yungnfresh.com, partyspree.com, partyholics.com and Jahkno.com who took on the event as their own, the gate staff, the security and everybody else who played their part, all the Facebook.com crew, Big-eye, 30Lounge, RatedR entertainment, elementary entertainment and all our other Facebook friends who helped us to promote the event.”

The promoters hope they have done what they set out to do, by having May Daze capture the hearts and spirits of all the patrons who attended, and hope that it was looked at as something fresh and different that people can look forward to every year. They have promised that next year and years to come will only get bigger and better, and include lots more fun, frolic and fantasy for all their ‘May Damez’ and ‘May Dadz’ (patrons).

Source: Entertainment Jade

I-Octane’s new single doing well

Reggae singer I-Octane’s latest single, ‘Different Page’ which enjoyed its official release last week, is already generating a good response from the market.

The single has now made its debut on the RE TV Top 20 Reggae chart at #20 and is still holding its own on the Richie B Top 20 Reggae Chat at #16 after being on the chart for only two weeks.

The producers are happy about the progress of the single especially in light of the fact that it has just been a couple of weeks since its release.

Word from the Arrows camp is that they have been shipping out a lot of I-Octane’s single since its release as the overseas orders are now pouring in.

That’s not surprising considering the feedback that has been coming in about the single.

The sales have been very good, and I have been getting a lot of feedback on the song itself. People have been saying that the song is of international standard and that it’s really good,” Rose Linton of Arrows stated.

“They are now gearing up to shoot the music video for Different Page and the producers are promising something really exciting. The video will be in keeping with the high standards of the song it will be hot,” Linton promised.

Different Page comes after I-Octane made his breakthrough with singles such as ‘Stab Vampire’ and ˜Poverty.

Source: Khool International

Rootz Underground Scores Four Bunnies on Playboy.com

Rootz Underground has received four bunny ratings on the popular playboy.com after the entertainment based site did a review of their new album Movement which was released earlier this year. The review highlighted the uniqueness of the Underground sound amid influences of other genres of music which permeates reggae new reggae acts.

The six member band has been together for eight years and though influences of reggae music from the roots reggae era of the late 1970s and early 1980s, it still carries a contemporary sound that attracts audiences worldwide.

Their new hit single Hammer is a slice of conscious reggae broad enough to sound new in the 21st century. Like American jam bands, Rootz prides itself on stellar live performances (not surprisingly, Stephen Newland’s charismatic singing here is surpassed only by killer grooves). In this respect, the band is poised for greatness.

Cezar Joins The Coke Side of Life for Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

Jamaica’s Reggae Soul singer Cezar has been invited by Coca-Cola to be a part of their Beijing 2008 Olympic Games ‘WE8’ series. As the world joins together for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games this summer, Coca-Cola invited sixteen artists, eight visual artists from the East and eight musical artistes from the West, to jointly represent eight corresponding themes reflecting the possibilities for happiness and connection from both the Coke Side of Life platform and the upcoming global gathering in Beijing.

Impressed by the inspiring and optimistic lyrics of Cezar’s award winning single Keep On, Coca-Cola approached Ultra Records to use the Electro Reggae remix by German house music production duo Spencer & Hill to express the theme ‘Active Optimism’. Spencer & Hill then remixed it once again to incorporate the five signature notes from the melody of the award-winning 2006 Happiness Factory Coca-Cola advertisement.

“For this project, we sought music artists – both internationally renowned stars and emerging acts – who share our passion for positivity,” said Umut Ozaydinli, worldwide music marketing manager, Worldwide Sports and Entertainment Marketing, The Coca-Cola Company. “They are key players in our mission to inspire people to see the positive side of life, and we also will help them reach new audiences all around the world. We believe in the power of music to build relationships with people – it’s part of the heritage of Coca-Cola.”

With musical artistes Tiësto from the Netherlands, Benny Benassi from Italy, Kaskade, Jes, Lucas Prata and Jay-J from the USA and Serge Devant from Russia, Cezar is the only Caribbean artiste to be included in the Coca-Cola ‘WE8’ series and the first Caribbean artiste to get an endorsement from Coca-Cola International.

“This is an amazing opportunity for me and a great platform for my music. Music plays a critical role in bringing people of different cultures together because it exists as a truly universal language” commented Cezar

Cezar’s name and the web link to download the Keep On remix will appear on the bottle representing ‘Active Optimism’ designed by Chinese artist Chen Shaohua. From May through September 2008, the ‘Active Optimism’ design and Cezar’s Keep On are available for DRM free download, which works on all devices, at: http://coca-cola.com/we8. The actual bottle will be available for purchase in New Zealand, the USA, Beijing and online from June to August 2008.

Cezar will be performing at all the upcoming Coca-Cola ‘WE8’ events to be announced in June 2008.

Source: Alykhat PR

The Journey – The Very Best of Sizzla drops on June 26

Greensleeves will release the essential Sizzla anthology, The Journey – The Very Best Of Sizzla on June 26. The collection features the legendary singjay’s most cherished tunes, new bonus tracks , and an exclusive DVD.

This musical voyage features 21 tracks comprising hits from the early ’90s to the present.  The early ’90s tunes Praise Ye Jah, Black Woman And Child, Good Ways and Like Mountain, have proven to be classics. While the unforgettable hits Just One Of Those Days and Thank U Mama from his popular album Da Real Thing (2002) produced by Bobby Digital and creative experimental tunes Be Strong, Give Me A Try and Rise To The Occasion produced by Don Corleon, highlight the new era of Sizzla hits.

Also Sizzla veers between infectious dancehall laced with hard hitting social commentary and stirring expressions of black history with a profusion of producers. As an added bonus, the limited edition DVD features media interviews and features, as well as a photo collection.

Source: Jamaica Observer (Chat)

Kirk Brown Launches Solo Album for 2008

Kirk Brown, bajan multi-genre sensation, has portrayed consistency, energy, entertainment and appeal and since his nomination for Reggae Artist of the year, his musical efforts have intensified.

He has launched his solo album, Must Get It, as well as individual music videos to the tracks Baby (Kirk Brown feat Danny Reid) and Chimmie Papa (Tejay feat. Kirk Brown) subsequent to his award nomination. Fresh from the launch in Barbados, Kirk is already getting his bags packed and ready for a mega Caribbean promotional tour, which will see him and his international sound touch the islands of Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Trinidad, St. Vincent, Antigua, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Croix, Bahamas, Bermuda and St. Kitts.

Noting that the region deserves the first taste of their solo talents, Kirk has not denied that plans are underway to make headways with the album in the UK and US where he has enjoyed previous success, even appearing on BET’s 106 and Park in 2006.

As if the name doesn’t already speak for itself, Must Get It has to become the part of any serious enthusiast’s album collection. His eleven track mega album features an impressive DVD combo showcasing music videos for the hit singles Chimmie Papa and Baby.

Throw into the mix behind the scenes footage, a steamy photo gallery and eleven pulse pumping tracks showcases Kirk’s focus on the Reggae/Dancehall Genre mixed with samples of infused Hip Hop. Then as if to cement the fact that he calls Barbados home, the totally soca track J’ouvert Carnival forces you to hit repeat and take in the experience all over again.

The album features productions from the likes of Danny Champagne, Tony Kelly, Alan Sheppard, Deepu Panjwani, Mr, Strategy, Matthew ‘Fewwture’ Ashby and Greg ‘GK’ Knight. Incredibly versatile, Kirk Brown has taken years of hard work, a honed skill set and the energy that can only be gained from endless nights on stage and delivered a winner for local, regional and international consumption.

Soca Power in T &T Captured in New Film

The power of soca takes centre stage in a new film set to premiere in Trinidad on June 11 in Movie Towne. Soca Power in Trinidad and Tobago follows four of the genre’s most influential local talents throughout one Carnival season, moving from behind the scenes at large concerts to the heat and heart of Carnival: the streets, where mas unfolds and passions reach their pinnacle.

The film’s main characters are Machel Montano, considered the most powerful man in soca; Bunji Garlin, revered, even feared, for his biting lyrics and bold, outspoken personality; Fay-Ann Lyons, soca royalty and one of the genre’s brightest young stars; and Isaac Blackman, son of soca’s creator Ras Shorty I.

Through the interwoven portraits of these four stars, Soca Power is an energetic immersion into the world of soca. “From the beginning of the film to the very end, it keeps you interested, especially with the way everybody’s story unfolds,” said Blackman, one of the leading voices of Jamoo music, known as the gospel of soca. “It shows the wide diversity of our culture, and is as real as it can get in every dimension. I think it’s excellent and I’m very proud to be a part of it.”

Jean Michel Gibert of Maturity Music (West Indies) Limited, one of the film’s producers, agreed, saying, “The power of soca is a reflection on the Trinidadian society; the sensuality, the passions, the release, the paroxysm of our cultural celebration on one side and the spiritual, more conscious, some times even more conservative attitude. The film is an excellent illustration of this double psyche,” he explained.

Maturity Music co-produced Soca Power in T&T with ADN Production Paris and Trace TV, with the support of French National Cinema, the T&T Film Company and the European Union. Claude Santiago, who is well known for his treatment of music-related features, directed the film, which was filmed and produced using the latest audio-visual technology. It was filmed using real High Definition technology and boasts Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.

Soca Power in T&T is part of a six-part series of films called Musique Creole, which is based in the Caribbean. The music of T&T is featured alongside that of Guyana, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique and Puerto Rico. The film has already met with rave reviews. It first premiered in April at Canal+ Studio in Paris, where it was well received. It will also be released in Barbados, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Jamaica and Martinique; and broadcast on French television and on Trace TV, which airs in Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Source: Pyramid Entertainment

Kaj Designs Offers An Explosion of Sensual Safari an Animal Prints at FWTT

Kaj Designs, Trinidad and Tobago’s newest couture fashion house, offered the Fashion Week Trinidad and Tobago (FWTT) audience a sensual take on jungle wild life when it unleashed WILD THINGS on Friday May 30, 2008. Kaj’s newest collection awakened the feline senses with lavish infusions of safari and animal print in soft chiffons, silk chamois, crinkle cotton and lambs wool. With only the fashion forward and confident woman in mind, WILD THINGS featured daring asymmetric cuts, plunging necklines, cold-shoulder blouses and draped layered skirts with bold slits.

Kevin Ayoung-Julien, the designer behind Kaj, has established a reputation for one-of-a-kind, custom-fitted, provocative creations with an unorthodox use of fabrics that reveal his natural affinity for colour and different fabric textures. In the designer’s musings on his recent showing he said, “It gives me a great sense of fulfilment to be able to show my work in my homeland and to feel the appreciation of my peers and members of Trinidad and Tobago’s fashion industry.”

For this collection, Kevin took his inspiration from the textures, tones and prints of the wild bringing an explosion of tiger, leopard and cheetah prints and the bold stripes of the zebra to the catwalk. Against a backdrop of Michael K. and Gab Logan’s nature-inspired rhythms, Kaj’s opening piece caused a stir as sultry Kim Lee-Inniss crossed the runway near topless with decorated nipples and a low-seated safari print skirt with alligator-inspired detailing. Angel Ross offered another highlight in a brown and black zebra print envelope blouse that was paired with ivory and black zebra print ultra hot shorts. Following this, Kimi See Tai graced the runway in an elegant guipure lace bandeau top with tiger and snake print details and a black low-rise skirt that floated from the hips. One of the closing pieces was a fresh take on the zebra featuring Shari Demas in a flowing mixed zebra print dress with a camouflage waistband and exquisite peacock fringe accents.

WILD THINGS with its fifteen avant-garde pieces made its mark on the FWTT catwalk leaving the audience of fashionistas, fashion photographers and critics thirsting for more. This has paved the way for Kevin’s latest work being captured by the lens of Trinidad and Tobago’s master fashion photographer, Calvin French for Caribbean Belle magazine. To add to Kaj’s already extensive list of publicity which includes coverage in Britain’s daily newspaper, The Independent; the US magazine, Sister 2 Sister; New York’s West Indian newspaper, New York Carib News; Guadeloupe’s newspaper, La Gazette Des Caraïbes; Caribbean Airlines’s in-flight magazine, Caribbean Beat; Primaris Airlines’s in-flight magazine, Caribbean LIFE; the international lifestyle and fashion publication, Ocean Style and; Caribbean lifestyle and fashion publication, SHE Caribbean, the designer looks forward to an extensive summer fashion spread in New York’s exclusive Ins&Outs Magazine.

Kevin is looking ahead to the future as he embarks on establishing novel marketing strategies that will position his creations in exclusive boutiques regionally and internationally.

Source: Estuary PR

Jewish reggae artiste Matisyahu takes his first trip to reggaeland

It has dawned, albeit late for some persons, that reggae music is a mature, multifaceted, global cultural expression. For others, this clear reality is only dimly obvious. There is yet another category of persons, the cognocenti, who were among the first to recognise the worldwide influence of the indigenous Jamaican rhythm.

It is to the first two categories of persons that we recommend the knowledge that a growing stream of foreigners have long been trekking to Jamaica to revel in, or to make their own brand of reggae.

One of the most recent of such arrivals, is Matisyahu, the latest offshore rising reggae sensation who, along with his producer David Kahne, made his first visit to the fountain of the internationally acclaimed reggae music. In addition to working with a number of reggae kingpins – Sly and Robbie as well as Stephen McGregor – Matisyahu also drew on the services of Kingston College choir, to include on his latest set to which he is adding the finishing touches at Anchor Recording Studio in Kingston.

“We’re trying to get the kids to sing on a track we’ve called Bread of Destitution. And we’re trying to get some drums also, some of the songs I was writing, I was visioning in certain parts of it, a Nyahbinghi-like kind of vibes,” Matisyahu told Splash in an exclusive interview at the Hilton Hotel.

“And just to be here,” he added, ” is like, it’s about time.

People always asked me, when you coming to Jamaica, have you been to Jamaica yet. This my first time coming. But next we come, we definitely going to do shows. Trying to find the right festival to come for, and then do some club shows as well.”

A relatively unknown reggae singer/rapper, Matisyahu was born Mattew Paul Miller, in West Chester, Pennsylvania, but his parents later settled in White Plains, New York. He was brought up a Reconstructionist Jew, and one stage in his journey from Mattew to the reggae musician Matisyahu, he would perform under the alias MC Truth for MC Mystic’s Soulfari Band.

He counts Bob Marley, Sizzla, Phish, God Street Wine and Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach among his musical inspirations. In 2004, Matisyahu, after having signed with JDub Records, a not-for-profit record label that promotes Jewish musicians, released his first album, Shake Off the Dust…Arise. He did not rise to prominence until Bonnaroo 2005, when Trey Anastasio of the band Phish invited him a guest spot on his set. This would prove to be the event that launched his career.

His live album, Live at Stubb’s, released in 2005, was recorded at a concert in Austin, Texas. This concert album and Youth, both received critical and popular acclaim. Throughout 2006, Matisyahu toured extensively in the United States, Canada and Europe, making a number of stops in Israel, including a performance as a supporting act for Sting.

In late 2006, he released No Place to Be, as well as a cover of the Police’s Message in a Bottle. In that same year, the live version of his song King Without a Crown, broke into the Modern Rock Top 10.

“The natural link is the music, reggae music in a lot of ways is the bridge that promotes Jamaica out to the world,” Matisyahu, who became connected to reggae 12 years ago, attested. “I started out rappin in a hip hop kind of style,” he explained, “but I started listening to artistes like Sizzla, that kind of conscious stream of music, it’s like rappin, but with melody to it. So that style started really to become attractive to me, not to mention that the vocals, the lyrics on a lot of those songs stem from the Old Testament, comes from the Bible, the Torah, Psalms….so that also made me feel like I’ve some connection.

“Then I started kinda singing more and getting into that reggae style because I was listening more and more to it…..I just didn’t stand in the way, I just let it happen. The song that did the best for me was King Without A Crown. That was like the number one song on the Alternative Kroc radio station in California.”

Matisyahu said the new album that is going to be coming out this fall, is almost done, but it was missing a couple of things, and lacking a certain touch, hence his trip to Jamaica a week ago. “What it needed was that touch, certain touch, y’know, and a few songs that have reggae style rhythm section like a one-drop, steppers kinda rhythm to it. So I know from before, having recorded with Sly and Robbie, a song called, Jeruselam when they came to New York and recorded it with me.

“I knew from that, that was the sound that I was looking for. Some people you can try to explain to them a certain feel, you know what I mean, and they might get it, but my experience, particularly with Robbie, when he starts playing the bass, is that he hears it, he hears something, you know what I mean, that a lot of musicians don’t hear. So, I wanted to get him doing that, and figured that this was a good chance to come,” Matisyahu said as he added that Stephen McGregor, was also recommended highly to him by Maxine Stowe.

He told Splash that he is thinking about launching the album here in Jamaica. “We’re trying to put it (the album) out here first, before we put it out in America, put out a track here, have a launch, come play a bunch of shows and have a bunch of parties, invite the international press to Jamaica. For sure for the bass, you have to come to Jamaica,” said Matisyahu who is slated to do a punk rock tour in the summer.

Source: Jamaica Observer

Women’s Business Owners Offer Free Entrepreneurship Training

Women Business Owners Jamaica Ltd (WBO) is launching a new round of workshops to share their knowledge with business owners islandwide about how to be successful entrepreneurs.

During the month of June, three free seminars will be hosted in Ocho Rios Tuesday 3 June, Mandeville, Tuesday, 10 June and Kingston, Thursday, 19 June from 5.30 – 7.30 pm each night. The sessions are being sponsored by the European Union’s Private Sector Development Programme and Scotia Bank Small Business Banking.

“By strengthening the capacity and increasing the knowledge base of existing and potential women business owners and managers, we aim to enhance the competitiveness of local organizations. The workshops should provide attendees with the necessary information to help them increase in their profitability,” said WBO President Eleanor Jones, also of the leading environmental science and technology firm, Environmental Solutions.

The sessions in Ocho Rios and Kingston will focus on Entrepreneurship and Networking and the Mandeville session will focus on Financial Management and Sustainability in the Business. Dr. Rosalea Hamilton, Vice President of Development at the University of Technology, also well known as an international trade expert, and Karen FitzRitson, a financial analyst and experienced practitioner in research analysis, portfolio and fund management, will lead the islandwide sessions.

Everyone is invited to the Sandcastle Hotel, Ocho Rios commencing on Tuesday, June 3, the Mandeville Hotel and Jamaica Trade and Invest, Kingston to learn important skills in entrepreneurship, leadership and management.

Source: Q-tech Communications



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