Tag Archive: Music


My past weekend in Kingston, Jamaica was by far the best or one of the best I have ever had. In part because I was so busy. There is always some activity going on to entertain people here. One of my favourite places to eat out in Kingston is Jamaica Pegasus and they are up to date with Social Media. They tweet a lot and I follow them. Check out their Twitter Page. They had a Jazz Competition where they invited their followers on twitter to take a photo that signified Jazz. Interestingly, I won and instead of the two tickets, we got four. The winning photo is below.

The Winning Photo by Craig Bloomfield

Event: Jazz in the Gardens – Organs and Vocals in Harmony

MC: Michael Cuffe

Featuring: Dean Fraser, Robbie Lyn, Keisha Patterson, Desi Jones (drums), Diana Rutherford, Glen Browne, Dalton Browne, Ronald Buchanan and Lloyd Denton.

Celebrating ten years, the staging of Jazz in the Gardens at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in association with Capital and Credit Financial Group Limited was a huge success. With a cold front and chilly weather patrons were on time to relish and dance to the good music emanating from the stage.

To kick things off Diana Rutherford was amazing in her set, belting songs that Jazz lovers appreciated. She impressed many with her soulful voice and had many eating out of her hands, singing every line. She was charming throughout. After her performance, the emcee Michael Cuffe invited her back onstage for a second applause. She is married to a French national who resides in Jamaica. Of course, she said a few sentences in French which the audience did not understand but it sounded good.

Continuing an evening with lovely music, Dean Fraser, Robbie Lyn and Desi Jones lit up the stage with their set. The night was cold but you ignored you were outside and continued rocking to every beat they played on stage. I listened to jazz music all day Sunday before attending the show. I was surprised that they used an organ in their set. Normally they play the traditional piano, this was different. It worked though, it sounded very clean. Many of the ladies who came inappropriately dressed, based on the unexpected shift to the cold weather did not complain much. I guess the music had their full attention.

After the first half of the show, Jazz in the Gardens had an intermission which allowed the patrons to partake in the hors d’oeuvres which was lovely apart from the extra spicy chicken – it’s still hot :). Surprise guest artiste of the night Taurus Riley who flew in on the night sang to Nancy McLean (employee of Jamaica Pegasus) in honour of her birthday. This was well received and had the audience participating. Even more, a segment was dedicated to patrons who were celebrating/celebrated birthdays and anniversaries. They were feted to cake and drink which I am sure was good.

For the second half of the show Keisha Patterson took the night away. Belting out many songs, she was incredible. She performed Jazz Standard songs which had the audience singing.

I love Jazz music because of its rhythm and how smooth it flows. There was this gentleman sitting in front of me who was having a great night. He would hold his hands to his chest in awe as the music played. He gave a thunderous applause after each performance. Not to be outdone, there was a lady behind me who seemed to have known all the songs, even if they played the instrumental. Overall the night was amazing. I think I would be correct to say everyone got their monies worth – Jazz in the Gardens was ecstatic.

During the show they promoted the next staging of Jazz in the Gardens which will be on April 25, 2010. Even if I am not privileged to have a free ticket I will pay to experience an event like this. It felt like paradise. The event hit the right jazz notes to make you want to be there. From a marketing perspective I think the sponsors could have branded the location better. They must have known the night would have been windy and that should have given them ideas as to where they could have strategically placed their branding materials. They were out of sight; this means they are out of mind too. From a business point of view it would have been good to see them. It was also sad to have not seen more young adults there experiencing the good music. They are being fed mediocre styles of music so much that they have begun to think that popular music in Jamaica is all there is. It would have been heart warming to see more young adults at Jazz in the Gardens. We will get their though.

I do think for the April Staging that there should be a designated area for patrons to dance. On Sunday night, I saw patrons acting ‘wildly’ in their seats, they wanted to dance. I would have loved to see an area where persons could dance and really enjoy themselves.

While I am experiencing all of this, the journalist in me could not be contained and so I got two interviews. One is with Diana Rutherford and a gentleman called Patrick. If there is a patron who totally enjoyed it more than everyone present it would definitely be Patrick. The emotions he showed during the show, that will make me remember him.

Photos & Video

Diana Rutherford on stage

Hors D'oeuvres

My Interview with Diana Rutherford

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I received an invitation from a friend inviting me to the Edna Manley School of Dance Faculty in Concert titled “Physical Labrish…Reflections of the Moving Mind”.

For my international readers the word ‘labrish’ in the Jamaican culture means to gossip or to chitchat.

When I received the invitation I made up my mind in earnest to attend this concert. One, I have not been to many and since I am free why not? That same evening I had a group meeting for my Supervisory Management course which was near the dance school. I was late because of my group meeting but I could not miss it. I literally ran to the venue, paid the entry fee and walked right in, head upright as if I were early.

Looking back, I have been to a concert at Edna Manle before but it was in a different studio. The Dennis Scott Studio the venue for the concert was exquisite. I liked the interior, very modern. It made their presentation look credible. They utilised a huge projector and lighting to enhance their routines, which was pleasing to the eye. I will not continue to describe the aesthetic appeal but just to say, the stage without the dancers was good.

The faculty concert was dedicated to the late Professor the Honourable Rex Nettleford, O.M., O.C.C., F.I.J., who has been integral to the dance community in Jamaica and the Caribbean region. He was a Jamaican Scholar, choreographer and Vice-Chancellor Emeritus at the University of the West Indies. In 1963 he founded the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica, a respected ensemble which he led until he passed away.

Of the pieces I saw I could not decide on a favourite. I loved all of them. They each had something that you could connect with and appreciate.

To begin with the show had to be good. The dancers are lecturers in their field at the dance institution. How can they fail?

One of my favourites of the night was a piece entitled “Today and Tomorrow” choreographed by Arsenio Andrade-Calderon. It was very short but essentially he prepared for the rain. He sat on stage on a chair with his umbrella while dancers walked on stage opening water bottles one by one and pouring the liquid on his umbrella. It was a very reflective piece. After the pouring of the water which signified the rain he then closed the umbrella and walked out signalling the rain had ended – tomorrow.

I thought the piece could have been better presented if better use of the lighting was done. To signal the clouds and the initial preparations for the rain, the set could have been dark while brighter lights could signal the tomorrow which came after the dark moments. However the interpretation, the point was made.

The concert ended with everyone laughing. The final piece entitled”Of Tensions and Dilemma” brought to life through dance the struggles the lecturers encounter in their normal day-to-day activities as dance facilitators. The choreography began with teachers in traffic and the drama that comes with that – horrible bus drivers, persons walking on the streets etc. If you take public transportation you can appreciate it but more so Jamaican public transportation. The piece was hilarious, it included the struggles teachers go through with administration issues and student lackadaisical attitudes to education.

I could not end without telling you about my favourite Jamaican dancer, Neila Ebanks. She danced in many pieces at the concert but the two I enjoyed her in were entitled “The Edging of Sister Mitzie Margeret” and “Their work song…a moving musical soundtrack for making it through”. The Edging of Sister Mitzie Margeret was an excellent piece in terms of its production and execution. It began with Neila Ebanks on a video presentation and her obsessive compulsive behaviour to edgings/lines. The video presentation showed her entering the dance studio which was cut to show her continue her compulsive behaviour on stage. This piece showed some thought went on into its production. Leaving the stage the video presentation continued with her leaving the studio and Sister Mitzie Margeret continuing her behaviour on the outside (on video).

Based on the attendee’s reactions the concert was well received. The concert ran for the full weekend. I was their on the final night – Sunday and it was almost full house. Only some seats were empty (limited) which I think the organizers can take some compliments. I will be attending more Dance Concerts here – the quality is good.

However, I think the dancers here should take care of themselves. Jamaica has a culture where we think fat is attractive and in terms of dancing, the shapes and lines are so important that leading a healthy lifestyle is imperative to the visual senses. As I mentioned before I was not there for the beginning of the show and was aware of any states rules. I took my camera to take pictures. During the show I noticed no one was taking photos apart from the official media team. I did not want to be reprimanded so I did not.  However, I snapped a private camera phone shot and after that I noticed the persons beside me started to tape the show. This was at the end. After that, I took out my digital camera to snap the photos you see below. I am happy I did. The teachers gave a good show. I am happy the students have good role models to follow.

Faculty Members

Thank you!

This blog has officially received 40,000 hits from YOU, and YOU and YOU.

That song is dedicated to all the new viewers to this blog and all the lovely bloggers that visit this site on a regular basis. Welcome to the blog!

This blog is growing and I am excited about that. Moving on, I will be Guest Blogging on other sites officially. My first post on Young Brothas will be on March 1, 2010. We have agreed for me to officially write for that blog, once I submit entries. I am happy for the opportunity and do not worry whatever is on that site will be provided here.

Can someone say Celebration!

The final song is from The Oprah Show which featured Celine Dion and The Canadian Tenors. A little background. Both are from Canada and The Canadian Tenors have not met Celine Dion. So Oprah ‘surprise style’ she invited the male group and invited them under the premise that they were there because they were rising talents (although they are). The big surprise, watch and see. I love this.

Each time you click on this blog and some bloggers may leave a comment – I am surprised. The expression on their faces when Celine Dion walks out is the same moment I share, even now.

Thanks a million.

Pain on the Streets

On a bus going home from class, passing a church I overheard a couple arguing on the streets in busy Kingston, the capital. As the bus accelerated I heard the guy who turned out to be in his early twenties blurted an expletive to the younger female who he was talking to. His angry tone rang sirens in my head and as I stepped off the bus I ran around the corner to see what was going down. To tell the truth the journalist in me was at its highest and I literally ran until I was there. I took out my blackberry to record the final moments of the argument but because of the darkness I couldn’t. I hope the next blackberry model will have an embedded light to record in the dark. When I reached an area near this couple they continued to argue while the girl started to cry.

I love relationships. I love the stability and balance it offers for people who decide to share their lives with others. There is a glow that shines on those who share a bond. A glow so beautiful and loving that it makes onlookers jealous. Whether it is your soul mate or your best friend, a relationship with someone can make a friend’s life fulfilling.

Relationships are like living things, they go through stages and their own challenges. My friends can admit (I hope) that they have never heard me arguing with people. Writing this now a moment in time flashes across my mind where I totally went bizarre on my friend who had hurt me so bad. That is one in a million times that I can go out on someone. I do not like arguments with anyone. If I see a crises coming on I literally ignore it. If that is not possible I just zone out, if I can’t step away from your presence. I know this in particular is true and it comes from my childhood experiences. My father would have disagreements and his way of expressing his dissatisfaction or grievance would be to argue and think that would be satisfying or solving the situation. From back then I have not liked arguing with people. I think they are better ways to solve issues that affect each other and that involves sitting down like adults and speaking through issues and seeking the best solutions.

Can you imagine having to discuss disagreements on the streets? It is the most vulgar thing I can imagine someone doing. It is crude and shoddy because you are bringing your most private moments to the public arena and I do not want to be subjected to listen or see you pollute the environment with your antics. If I am not availing myself to discuss what is pertinent to you it means I am not ready to do so. It does not in any way give you the right to step in front of me on the street to make your point be known. Not only will I ignore you but I might act like I don’t know you.

Tips to deal with people who you have a disagreement with:

  1. Before you have a fit. Ask yourself if this is something to be upset about?
  2. If it is big enough and you have reasons to justify it. Attempt to have dialogue with the person about the issue.
  3. Speaking with the other individual does not include shouting, expletives, and offensive remarks and so on. Speak in a relaxed tone and air your issues.
  4. If a meeting is not forthcoming, and you genuinely need to speak with this person it may be time to have others intervene (close pals, professionals) to help you if forgetting this person is not an option.

Relationships die and you will have challenges. There is no way a face off on the street is the way to go about doing it. Sorry! Friendships and relationships will never go perfectly fine. You are two separate individuals, with two priorities, two different outlook on life and the aim is to make that one. If I am sure about one thing you will have mountains to climb with that diversity. But it can work. Next time you have a disagreement, count to ten and talk it through.

February 6 – Today is Bob Marley’s 65th Birthday.

Bob Marley

Bob Marley is a worldwide legend. He is celebrated locally in Jamaica and loved internationally. The first Bob Marley song I learnt was One Love and many will admit this is the only one they know. I also know Three Little Birds because my father would always sing this one – even hum it or whistle to it. It was like a morning ritual. He would be by the side of the house near my room window working and all you hear is “Don’t Worry, about a thing.” Can I say maybe that was the wake up call.

Bob Marley’s song One Love is a staple on Jamaica’s Tourism advertisements internationally. In many parts of the world this man is idolised. Jamaicans will argue he isn’t awarded or celebrated enough because to this day some still advocate for him to be a National Hero or to be more awarded for his work. He brought Jamaican music to the world and has paved the platform for today’s musicians from Jamaica.

Imagine today we celebrate Michael Jackson’s birthday and the television networks don’t even have a feature about his life. I am sure they will have one. However, for most Jamaicans Bob Marley is just as huge (his music) and I expected to wake up to a nice Bob Marley program but there are none. I know many people are sad, I just read a tweet from a Jamaican who expressed he wants to see Bob Marley trending.

Happy Birthday to a son of Jamaica who has touched the world musically with his gifts. He will be remembered for his repertoire of songs and for bringing Jamaica’s music, reggae to the world.

Happy Birthday Bob Marley.

Bob Marley One Love

Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds

Redemption Song – Bob Marley

No Woman No Cry – Bob Marley

I woke up on my birthday (January 30th) to find a Direct Message in my Twitter account from the Jamaica Pegasus. Who knew? They were inviting me to celebrate my birthday at their weekly Tuesdays on the Grill. How could I turn down an offer like this? So I immediately sent them my info through twitter account for booking. I must say thanks to the Jamaica Pegasus and Ms. Simpson who extended the invitation.

The night was wonderful. Tuesdays on the Grill goes from 7:00 pm till around 10:30 pm at the Pegasus. I had class that evening (Supervisory Management) which I remembered only the day before. However, I went after – my class ended at 8:30 pm. It was not my first time eating at the Pegasus; I normally meet with friends there for a good time. The food is always great and at the right price if you’re eating out.

On Tuesday night from the music to the food to the ambience it was lovely. It is right by the poolside which makes it more picturesque. The evening was well attended I might add – full house enjoying the food prepared by the Jamaica Pegasus.

The evening was magical. Certainly if you are in Kingston – the place to be is the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel – Kingston’s Preferred Hotel.

Dessert

Happy Birthday

I am 23 today, January 30th. I am excited, I just opened my gifts – hangover (joke) and now I am off to church to celebrate – hope the music is great.

Last night I had a blast – a party with my closest friends (and of course those friends brought guests – not a lot).

We had a ball, we danced, we laughed and we celebrated. So I continue today and hope my day will end on a high.

Of course Beyonce singing Happy Birthday to me would be a dream. But for now I will enjoy the video below.

A gift from my South African Blogger/Friend

Photos from my Birthday


Backdrop

Party While You're Still Living

The 'Unexpected' Gifts

Be YOU – Don’t Imitate

You have studied hard for your examination and there beside you is someone who is intent on copying your answers. What do you do? It may be a great feeling for those who see it as helping out another but dishonesty cannot be rewarded. In Jamaica, the entertainers here have a bad habit or it may be a culture where they imitate popular songs internationally and write lyrics to make it their own with the same mix. A more recent case saw one of Jamaica’s dancehall artistes Vybz Kartel and Spice with a song called Ramping Shop (very sexual I might add) copying Neyo’s Miss Independent Woman. Only when the song was very popular internationally did Neyo file papers to stop these unscrupulous artistes from profiting from his work. Alicia Keys, Beyonce etc are all victims of this.

Neyo’s Miss Independent – Original Song

The Imitation

Alicia Keys – Sleeping with a Broken Heart

The Jamaican Copy by Various Jamaican Dancehall Artistes

The Diva Beyonce

Do you see elements of Beyonce’s style in this video?

To imitate means to copy the actions, appearance, mannerisms, or speech of; mimic. In a recent post I expressed my admiration for Beyonce. I knew the regular readers would find that as a surprise. My love for her is more than an appreciation for her music but more so an admiration in the way she carries herself and performs in the music industry. Her team led by her dad treats her like a product – which is actually is.

I may also like her because her father has many years experience in Marketing and knows the application and the understanding of such. I will agree with her critics that she isn’t the best singer the world has seen and she is overrated. However, what Beyonce has is a commanding stage presence, her performances are amazing and insiders in the music industry express many times over again that she works hard. To her credits, she has won tens of Grammies and reached many number ones on the biggest charts internationally. Anytime she exits the stage you would have known she gave her best and you would have been entertained by Sasha Fierce her alter ego. When you look at Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Alicia Keys; these artistes are popular because of their originality and the freshness they bring to the music industry. I have a problem with people imitating established artistes. Interesting I say that knowing I have a business background where you copy an invention or a process to make profits. However, I believe artistes who imitate are short on talent and lack the creativity they need to survive. It is also interesting to observe that artistes just starting out are the ones who imitate because they idolize these established artistes.

Here in Jamaica, there is a female dancehall artiste who goes by the name D’Angel. I remember years ago in an interview she stated that her idol or the person she looks up to Beyonce. I didn’t know that idolizing an artiste would make you imitate their actions even their style of performane but that is imitation.

The trend of imitating the hardest working female in the music industry even exist in USA I saw a video recently and the props, production of the video resembles one Beyonce did earlier in her career. Many people will not notice similarities like this except for the ones who are looking for the details. What if an artiste imitated Lady Gaga, then maybe the imitation would be clear for everyone to see. It appears the more mild the imitation artistes get a free pass on stealing someone’s ideas and make it their own to generate profits.

For those who are able to dig up the singers Beyonce imitated will agree that some of her ideas may not be new but she uses her own style to add to what was done before to make it her own.

I believe in making your own self. Each one of us has unique talents and gifts that make us special. What if everyone blogged the same way, sang the same way, listened to classical music etc we wouldn’t have diversity.

Oprah recently produced a show to highlight the crises in Haiti. On the program Rihanna was featured singing Bob Marley’s Redemption Song. Here she sings an established song – sang it word for word but added her own style and creativity to the song – which turned out great. I cannot stop listening to this song which was produced to help raise money for the Haitians.

Entertainers should desist from imitating artistes all in the name to make a profit. These songs are played on the internet and on local radio stations and I would assume they make money from appearance fees singing these songs. I am tired of it.

Do not forget to enter my blog competition which ends on January 30, 2010 midnight. Enter on the post below.

Precious – Review

This movie has been out for a while now and it was on my heart to watch. I think being from the black race made me even more want to watch the movie. Living in a developing country and seeing the realities here in some ways connect with the realities the movie projects from the plot in Precious.

The movie Precious is produced by Oprah Winfrey. The movie is based on the novel Push by Sapphire. Precious has been receiving many accolades since it was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The story is gruesome, gut wrenching, emotional because it tells a tale that is reality but we hide the stories. I am happy this film was produced because it is a story worth telling. The actors in the film are outstanding, some more than others.

Precious will receive some Oscar nominations but the biggest will be Mo’Nique who plays a pivotal role in the play. She was amazing from the beginning to the end. She starts out being very aggressive, demanding, abusive towards Precious but she gets some heart by the end of the movie.

It is worth watching. Precious is a school girl who is on Welfare and happens to be having her second child (with her own father) and is forced to attend a special school. At this school, she meets other girls who lead troubled lives just like her. One of the girls is from a Jamaican background. This character acted out to the tee preconceived images of Jamaicans who move to the United States. Personally, I was not thrilled with her depiction of Jamaicans but it is like black people who complain why the image of them eating fried chicken is always in their face. There is more to Jamaica than cursing ‘bombo’ and dancing which is in the movie.

Precious is not the movie that is slow to build. It moves pretty fast which they could have slowed down. Most people would have heard that the movie will make you cry but it moves so fast, you do not get that opportunity. We will never get tired of abusive parents but this move shows the real after effects of abusive families.

I did not like the music. I think it lacked that punch the movie needed. With better choices maybe I would have cried.

My rating is four stars out of five. It is not a stellar movie, the story shouts at you more.

Sitting here at home thinking about life, pondering about the next move and the opportunities that will come. However, something happened today and it made me really think about the word ‘reputation.’ In college, students can fool around and get away with it. By that I mean, if you fool around ‘well’, you can still have a great job and command a good salary too. I remember years ago when sex tapes were becoming a trend. A tape was released through hackers with a college couple. Of course, no one cared about the male who was also visibly on camera but more emphasis was placed on the girl. With all the reasons for that, it must be a horrible feeling for your most intimate moment to be seen by hundreds of people and the internet!

MagnifyGlassIn the professional world, you are recognized and are judged by your latest project. People tend to forget what you did years ago but the blunder you created minutes ago will remain fresh in their minds.  Being on the job keeps you on your feet. More than ever, job security is on everyone’s mind; forcing people to be productive and efficient. Having people’s trust is critical because they depend on you not only to perform but to surpass expectations. The mere fact you got the project to work on wasn’t a trial and error judgement, more so, it was a deliberated process (most times) based on your skills and competencies. When someone who entrusted you with a duty and in the middle of it withdraws that responsibility to give someone else, it shows you’re incapable of delivering on what is expected. It is alarming because those who you expected to look up to you and who you wanted to impress will now have second thoughts. Because they had high expectations of you and they are now saying and thinking you are not the ‘big fry’ you claim to be.

Sitting here at home, after a lovely Jamaica meal I think about those who are being referred to others because of their tremendous quality and delivery at what they do. Recently one of my acquaintances was referred to a new project. Although there are options in taking a decision, there are ramifications if you turn down someone’s recommendation, especially if it comes from an esteemed, prominent person.

All we have in our professional life is our ‘reputation’. Without it, it may cost you the next job opportunity. I will encourage employees to start creating a reputation that has hard work and Excellency as its foundation in the workplace. The only thing we can build and hold on to is our own reputation. The next time you get that job/responsibility from your boss, suck it up and complete it with pride and hard work; See the forest not the trees.