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Dream Big Part 2

I previously posted about my desire to eventually open a Music Store in Jamaica. I then used that dream as inspiration for my weekly doodle. Now I’m going to give you an update. Below is a list of the names I’ve come up with so far

  • The Drum – This would be a fitting name because I’m a drummer. Drums play a significant role culturally and spiritually in Jamaica and I hold them near and dear to my heart. The main drawback is I don’t want to give the impression that we only stock drums. I want my store to be the go to place for all things music.
  • Bare Riddims– I’m a bit of a pun nerd so naturally this came to mind. Riddims is a Jamaican word for rhythms and the pun would be on the word ‘bare’. Bare meaning ‘naked’ and Bare meaning ‘a whole lot of’ (I’m not sure if that’s a strictly Jamaican word use… I’m becoming more and more aware of words I thought were universal in meaning being strictly Jamaican but more on that later). In essence this name would reflect what I want the store to be about; music in its rawest form. LET LIVE MUSIC LIVE!
  • Blare Riddims– Another pun, go figure lol. This would be a pun on my last name, Blair and Blare meaning to play loudly. I’m not too sure I want to go the route of naming my store after myself but the thought came to my mind so I wrote it down

Which name do you prefer? I’m leaning towards Bare Riddims!

#KultureShocked

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Reggae Whiteboard Series #4

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Jesse Royal for Day 4! There is no denying that Jesse has a bionic waistline. This is one of my favourite quotes from him. The thing is I have listened to this song a million times before I really heard this song, which is really sad since it starts and ends the song. I think I like it so much because it is an interesting take on the expression “Karma is a bitch”. It’s powerful right? Be sure to give Wadada a listen. Fun fact: Wadada is Swahili for Love.

Keep reggae music playing!

#KultureShocked

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Live for Today

Music is a hell of a thing. I was about to take a nap ( as a college student when napping opportunities present themselves, you take them) when I received a link to a song I had been waiting on to be released. After listening to it the third of fourth time all thoughts of sleep had left my mind and I knew I had to write about it. A song like this needs to be shared. I might be biased because these are two members of the Reggae Revival but this song gave me goosebumps.

In 2013 Kelissa and Keznamdi Mcdonald released their inspirational song Gideon and today, a little under two years later the sibling duo is back at it. When I went to Kelissa Live late last year they did a preview of the song and I knew it was going to be good but when I heard it today it was nothing like I had imagined. The song was produced by Walshy Fire and he along with Kelissa and Keznamdi  outdid themselves. Anywho nothing I say can sum up this song so here’s a link. Enjoy!

That’s it for now.

#KultureShocked

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Live from Kingston

The original Bongo Crew consisted of myself and my three friends Autumne (Tummy), Rashida (Shida) and Minkah. All of the original members are still present but the group has definitely increased in size. Since my last year of high school, Abbey, Denni, Shanice and Shantel have joined the crew. It just goes to show that music is a universal language that brings together people from all walks of life.

All of us, with the exception of Minkah, went to Live from Kingston at Hope Gardens on Saturday December 20. Rashida, Autumne, Denni and I got to the venue at the same time. Shanice and Abbey arrived shortly after us but Shantel didn’t arrive until after the show started. By the time we entered the venue a decent crowd had already formed. We opted to stay at the front so that we could interact with the musicians as they did their thing on the stage. Although there were no barriers, the audience naturally formed about two metres away from the stage. This all changed when Jason, the owner of Base Kingston and co-organiser of the event, came on stage and emphasised there were no barriers for a reason. He invited us to come closer and we eagerly obliged.f The newly evolved Bongo Crew stood so close to the stage that we could lean on the speakers for support.

The event stared at around 8.30pm without a hitch when Runkus, also known as Paula’s Son took the stage. The 20 year old walked onstage with his little brother who doubled as his flagman for the night. His set was energetic from the beginning to the end. In between songs the sound technicians would play pre-recorded audio of what I assumed was his mother either speaking highly of her son or inquiring whether or not he did his chores. This helped lighten the mood and aided in transitioning between songs of different tempos. Although this was the first time I was hearing most of his songs I could not help being drawn into his performance. His set tackled topics of love and politics with powerful and witty lyrics. I can definitely see a bright future ahead of this young act.

The thing about live music is that band changes are a must. The MC for the night, Donisha Prendergast (Bob Marley’s granddaughter) came onstage to help kill time. After what felt like forever the audience was finally able to welcome the Beautiful and talented Sevana. She opened with what she called her sob story (I cant remember the title :(). It was a song that told of the struggles she faced growing up. She then put all sadness aside as she dived into her line-up of love songs. She did a cover of Bob Marley’s Satisfy My Soul and two of her original songs ‘Chant It’ and ‘Bit Too Shy’. She glided around the stage in a white mini dress and a fabulous pair of tan heels. Her set was short and sweet and she certainly left the audience wanting more.

After another band change a group I have seen perform a million times came on stage. No Maddz have created a new genre of music which they call Bongo Music (They were the inspiration of the name ‘Bongo Crew because our outings started because we would go places just because they were performing). No Maddz are dub poets with a twist and their performance could go from comedic to serious to romantic in a matter of seconds. No matter how many times I’ve seen them perform, each performance is different and even if they perform the same songs over and over there is bound to be some adjustment that makes each time different. Despite technical difficulties which delayed their performance this group kept the audience moving. They performed new songs like ‘Shotta’ and ‘Romance’ as well as old songs like ‘Ganja Stain’. The Bongo Band  closed their performance with the crowd favourite, ‘Rise Above Profanity (Poo Puku Poo)’.

No Maddz (From Left: Birdeye, Sheppie, Onie P, Evie)

No Maddz (From Left: Birdeye, Sheppie, Onie P, Evie)

Next to take the stage was Kabaka Pyramid. This man is a lyrical genius. He too juggled topics of love, romance and politics. The crowd stood in silence as they listened keenly to how he twisted and morphed words to suit whichever purpose he chose. Words were his weapon and the audience would erupt in cheers as he cut away at the social, political and economic issues which plagued the island. He held his audience’s attention from beginning to end. His band, the Bebble Rockers aren’t to be forgotten as without them, Kabaka’s set would not have been as effective. Their playing was on point! I really am glad that they’re finally getting the recognition they deserve.

Kabaka Pyramid :)

Kabaka Pyramid 🙂

Protoje was the last performer for the night. He expressed how glad he was to be back home after spending such a long time on tour and then he jumped right into his performance. He sang songs like Rasta Love and Arguments from his first album, Who Dem a Program and Hail Rastafari from his second album and Styling and Resist No Evil from his yet to be released third album. He gazed into the audience in amazement as we sang his songs word for word. Before finishing his set he called onstage the guest artiste of the night, Chronixx. The two sang their song ‘Who Knows’ after which Kabaka Pyramid came and sang ‘Mi Alight’ with Chronixx. They thanked us all for coming out and showing our support and just like that a wonderful show came to an end at 2am.

Protoje

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From left: Chronixx, Kabaka Pyramid, Protoje

Thanks for stopping by!

#KultureShocked

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Dream Big

I’m evidently not as young as I used to be so after several late nights or early mornings, depending on how you look at it, I’ve caught a wicked cold. Such is life I guess. Mommy (yes I still call my parents mommy and daddy) now has me on lockdown. I’m not allowed to leave the house until I’m better. With all this free time there’s not much to do but sleep and dream.

It’s my dream to open a music store like no other in my beautiful island home. I’d sell vinyl records, vinyl players, posters, CDs and musical instruments and equipment by day. By night I would transform the store into a mini concert venue where album launches and concerts can be held. I’d also have an amateur’s night where fresh musical acts can get some exposure.

That’s all I’ve dreamt up so far though but I really want to see it through. If you have any ideas or suggestions feel free to share.

More next time,

#KultureShocked

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Nanook!

The second event I attended was Nanook last week Thursday the 18th of December. I honestly don’t really know what exactly Nanook is so I’ll describe it based on what I’ve seen and heard. Apparently is a bi-weekly event. On Tuesdays a DJ plays rootsy music while artists paint the walls of the venue and on Thursdays the DJ plays from 8pm until around 10.30 when a live band takes over.

My friends, Shida and Abbey and I walked into the venue at about 10 pm. We walked through the rustic two story building that was made almost entirely of wood. The ground floor housed what looked like a bar while the second floor was a sort of look out point where guests could view the band. This is at least how it seemed to me as I didn’t spend much time in either locations because my friends and I were instantly drawn to the outdoors. Once there we met up with another of our friends, Bugsie, who happened to be performing that night. We pulled up a seat in front of the stage and waited patiently for the show to begin.

After a while the Jazzy music the DJ was playing started to stir something within me and the overwhelming urge to drum started to take over. It seemed to have the same impact on Shida and as she is definitely the more ballsy of the two of us, she asked Bugsie if she could borrow his drum until the show started. So we sat there improvising on Bugsie’s djembe for the next five or so songs. Eventually members of the band walked onto the stage and started setting up so we returned the drum.

They did mostly covers of songs and musicians were free to come on stage and show their stuff. This is how I met my newest drumming idol, Hector. This talented man walked onto the stage, stole the set with a wicked solo on the djembe then walked off the stage, just like nothing happened. He later returned to play the drum set. He played with such confidence and power it was so magical. Can I keep him? Please?

Anywho my friends and I left before the show ended as it was a weekday and Shida had work the next morning. It was definitely a wonderful experience so if you have time to kill on a Tuesday or Thursday you should definitely swing by Nanook at 20 Burlington Avenue.

More to come but until next time,

#KultureShocked

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The Journey to Reggae Mountain

Okay I’ve been out and about very regularly since coming home so there’s lots to talk about. The first event I had been to since coming home was Kelissa Live. I got home on December 12, 2014 and this event was on the 13th. Like I’ve said time and time again I’m very serious about Reggae music. This is why even though I spent the entire Friday either on a plane or at the gate waiting, sleep had to be sacrificed in order to see Kelissa’s set at Levels.

This concert was on Reggae Mountain. I’ve been to Reggae Mountain before but either because I wasn’t late this time or because it wasn’t as crowded as the last time I think I enjoyed this experience better than the last one. The last time I attended a concert there I went with my fellow reggae activist Rashida and we saw Chronixx perform. Check out her blog to see how that went. Now you might be asking what is this Reggae Mountain. I’m not 100% sure if that is like the official name you would see on a map or just a nickname but it does sound much cooler then Skyline Drive which is the name of the road that leads to the venue. My friends, Reggae Mountain is the place where if you die, you will be met by the great Reggae Legends such as my hubby, Bob Marley; The Crown Prince of Reggae, Dennis Brown; Garnett Silk and Bunny Rugz to name a few. The journey there was breath taking. I’m still trying to decide if that was because of how incredibly steep the roads were, the ridiculous 270 degree turns, the way one had to maneuver the narrow roads as speeding motorists charged down the hill without care since they had every turn memorized or the fact that one could see a panoramic view of Kingston, Jamaica.

The tickets were $700 with a Student Id. and $1000 otherwise. It was definitely worth every cent. Granted I was very hesitant to attend because I only knew like five Kelissa songs but I’m glad I brushed those thoughts aside. Her outfit was stunning (Kelissa if you ever read this introduce me to your clothing store, thank you). This woman started on such a high note (excuse the pun) and it only got better and better as the night progressed. I should probaby try writing about these events as soon as they happen because I have forgotten some stuff.

If you have ever been to an event put on by any member of the Reggae Revival (a group of young Jamaican musicians who have added a new and welcomed spunk to the reggae music we all know and love) you will know that you will not only be Edutained ( entertainment that educates) by the person who headlines the concert. I have discovered that the group of artistes is a very supportive one so if you go to a Jesse Royal concert there is a chance that you will see Chronixx or Jah9 or Protoje. It just depends on who is on tour. This is one of the most admirable qualities of the Revivalists. Consequently I was able to see snippets from Runkus, Dre Island, Jesse Royal and Kabaka Pyramid. She closed the night by singing with her brother and fellow Reggae Revivalist Keznamdi.

Being a Reggae concert, the beliefs of the Rastafari culture were expressed. Food was provided by an I’tal (no meat and little or no salt) business called Veggie Meals on Wheels. Chakula, the owner of the venue and father of Kelissa, also had a little shop where beverages could be purchased including beers, soft drinks and a variety of fresh and natural fruit juices.

That’s basically how the night went. I had a great time with great people listening to great music at an amazing location. I’m terrible at remembering to take pictures so check Shida’s account of the night for pics 🙂

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

#KultureShocked