Mr. Edward Christopher Sheeran Pt. 1

Friends, tonight when the sun sets I want you to go outside and find the beautiful moon in the night sky. If you look just above the moon, you will see a star shining brightly. That star, will be the brightest star you see tonight and may even be the brightest star you will see in your lifetime. That star… is me. Mi seh mi ova di moon!

In 2012 while my dad was scrolling through the channels one day, he paused at some award show. I watched as this red headed kid walked on stage with a guitar. He was simply dressed in a green t-shirt and jeans. He looked shy and awkward and I was intrigued. My dad promptly changed the channel. I yelled and he quickly switched back. I had no clue who the kid was but as he sang I knew I had to learn more about him.

And out of all these things I’ve done, I’ll love you better now

I memorised that one line of the song and as soon as he walked off the stage, I googled the lyrics and found out his name was Ed Sheeran. I played “Legohouse” for hours on repeat, but I eventually ventured off to songs like “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You”, “Drunk” and “Kiss Me”. I dived deeper and deeper into his music and then the music gods granted me Ed’s full + Deluxe album on youtube. That night, I fell asleep halfway through the album and got the best sleep I’ve ever gotten in my entire life.

I have never been able to fall asleep while listening to music and somehow this Ed Sheeran kid had managed to knock me out. Don’t get me wrong, the album was not boring, it was the opposite. It was unlike anything I’d ever heard before. He was a musical genius. His songs were beautifully written, his voice was soothing and the instrumentals were dynamic and complemented the meanings and emotions behind each song perfectly. Let’s not forget his accent! Oh Lawd that accent!

In 2014, Ed released Deluxe album and I decided to buy both it and the + Deluxe album. I played them on repeat and compared them to see how much he had grown as a musician. I knew it was time to see him perform live, so I bumped him up to #1 on my bucket list. Unfortunately, he’d only tour near Rochester whenever I was in Jamaica. I had to settle with watching his concerts on YouTube but I wanted more!

My heart all but broke at the end of 2015 when he tweeted he’d be going on hiatus for a year. I played his albums on repeat and each time a new song became my favourite. A year without Ed flew by quickly and in January 2017 when he tweeted he was back and an album was on the way, I lost it. Fun fact, Divide Deluxe album was the first album I pre-ordered, the love is real.

Each album was better than the last. This summer, I introduced my mom to her future son-in-law and she approved. I told her one day I’d see him live and she told me to start saving. Little did I know, I’d be seeing him one month later and that my friends is why I’m over the moon.

To be continued.

Side note: I didn’t plan for this to be a two part story but then I decided to give the history of my love for Ed and well, now here we are! Not to worry, part two will be here sooooon!

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Yes Grandma!

Wanty wanty nuh get i’ and getty getty nuh want i’

Translation: Those who want it the most won’t get it and those who get it in abundance won’t want it/ appreciate it.

If you have ever been in a position where you watched someone waste something knowing in your heart that if you had half of what they did you would put it to better use, then this is an expression for you. This saying pretty common  in Jamaica. There is even a song about it.

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Yes Grandma!

Welcome to my first post in my “Yes Grandma” feature. Growing up, the adults around me often said things that made me say “Huh?” but there was also a hidden lesson. Now it’s my turn to share them with you guys.

The first saying I’m going to share is in Jamaican Patois:

Deaf ears gi liad trouble!

Translation: Deaf ears will give a liar trouble.

Meaning: to be honest, I can’t give an oxford dictionary translation for this one but my mom always says it when I mishear a part of a story. So because I wasn’t listening or paying attention (deaf ears) when I pass on the story to someone else, the information will lose it’s essence or meaning entirely, putting the original storyteller ( the liar… or truther? who knows really?)  in trouble.

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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.



From left: Chronixx, Kabaka Pyramid, Protoje

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My little cousins are visiting Jamaica for the first time and they are absolutely precious. I’m pretty good with kids because we don’t age here in Neverland so things were going fairly well. That was until my little cousin looked at me with bright eyes and dropped the bomb. The conversation went something like this

Cousin: Where are you from?

Me: Jamaica

Cousin:Oh, but you don’t sound Jamaican

Me: *stunned silence*

Mom: She’s been at school in America for a while so that’s probably why

Me: *still stunned silence but if you listened carefully you could hear my heart break*

So there you have it folks, I’ve been thinking I was doing a darn good job at keeping my accent but here I am hardly halfway through my undergrad experience and it’s already fading. Let’s face it the Jamaican accent is mad cool and I don’t want to lose it. I’m so heartbroken :(.



Out of my Element

I come from a country where it’s pretty much 32 degrees Celsius (90F) all year round. There is no Spring, no Fall no Winter and technically no Summer (I think… but I failed Geography in High School). We have the rainy season and the dry season. Granted our weather is affected by the weather changes in our neighbouring countries so if it’s snowing in North America we’ll experience a cold front where our days are a little cooler than usual. I don’t know what future global warming holds but in this day and age it will not snow in Jamaica.

The weather in Jamaica is also pretty predictable. If you look outside and it’s grey, chances are it’s going to rain so walk with an umbrella. If you look outside and it’s dark, everywhere then chances are it’s raining somewhere else and if it hasn’t rained where you are, give it a few minutes and it sure as hell will. If you live in Mona, Havendale, on a mountain and other areas surrounded by mountains it’ll rain every day so don’t forget your umbrella ( ok that’s a bit exaggerated but you get the point.) There is one exception to the rule and that is Portmore. This is a city in Jamaica where if the skies are grey it means it’s raining somewhere else. It NEVER rains in Portmore only on special occasions like a hurricane or storm but other than that it never rains.

The point I’m trying to make is the weather in my island home is predictable so I never have to check the weather. Even if I do check the weather the reporters are often wrong ( You’d think that with all the predictability they’d get it right at least once :p). The weather in Jamaica does not find it funny to play with my emotions. Although it never rains until I put my wet clothes on the line to dry I get a fair warning from the darkening clouds that it is about to rain.

That being said, imagine my elation this morning when I woke up to the beautiful sunshine. The heater in my dormitory was on so I briefly thought I was experiencing another surprise day of warmth. I’ve come to realize that with the weird Rochester weather there could be days of cold with a brief day of warmth in between. This in mind I thought it was normal for it to be sunny today even though it was snowing yesterday.Given my trust issues with weather reports I thought the meteorologists got the weekend forecast wrong, it wouldn’t be the first.

I woke up, stretched and looked outside. There was not a cloud in sight! I left the room to brush my teeth and that lasted five minutes tops. HOW THE HELL DID IT START SNOWING BY THE TIME I GOT BACK TO MY ROOM???? So I’m heading to class dressed in boots, a coat, pants, a t-shirt and gloves expecting everyone to be just as dressed up. NOPE! I saw people in simple sweatshirts and no gloves. Were they trying to prove a point or something or were they really not cold? My fingers were still cold with the gloves on so they had to be on the verge of hypothermia!

After my first class I put my gloves on and start heading back to my room. My classmate was super surprised that I need gloves for the three minute walk to my room. That’s when I realized that I’d never get used to the cold. This is my second winter and I’m more afraid of the cold than I was last year.



Let’s go Trojans!

My weekend adventures continued on Friday. If there’s anything I’ve learnt about Rochester is that the weather is unpredictable. That is why when the weather report said expect snow I called BS. I don’t know why but since it hadn’t snowed yet for the semester I had deluded myself into thinking that maybe, just maybe it would forget to snow this year.

It didn’t forget. Friday morning at 11.25 am as I sat in my class gazing out the window waiting for my teacher to arrive I saw the first sign of the dreaded snow. Granted it was mixed with the rain that was already falling but its presence was unmistakable. Before I could stop myself I screamed Noooooooooo and flew to the window in true melodramatic fashion. Safe to say I spent the rest of the day using the tunnels to maneuver from building to building.

I concluded the day by going to my second American Football game. I’m still baffled as to why its call that when you use your foot with the ball like three times- kick off, punting the ball ( is that the continuous form of punt??? Is the word even punt?) and kicking it through the giant pitch fork. Like I said this was my second time watching the sport but I can proudly say I’m learning the rules. I still can’t figure out what all those bloody numbers are about but I get the basics… I think.

I’m sorry but having your team name be ‘Trojans’ is a very unfortunate thing. There were dirty jokes aplenty. “Come on Trojans, don’t let them get in!” my friend said before her words trailed off into silence and her eyes opened wide as it dawned on her what she had said.

I don’t know if it’s a Jamaican thing or just a me thing, but I really get into sports when I’m watching them. It is almost expected that I will lose my voice. I got really into the game, I sat out in the cold and my fingers and toes were so numb they hurt despite the fact that I was wearing boots and gloves. My best efforts to cheer for the team I had adopted were in vain as they still lost. I heard people saying how unfair the referee was being but I don’t know enough about the game to be hounding the ref yet.

All in all it was a great experience 🙂