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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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globalFEST On the Road: Creole Carnival

Imagine my surprise when I saw that a Jamaican entertainer I knew was coming to my little college. I wanted to ask him the question so many have asked me: How did you find your way here?

My college was one of the stops of the globalFEST tour. The tour featured performances from Brushy One Sting, a Jamaican man who plays a guitar with one string; Casuarina, a samba group and Emeline Michel, “The reigning queen of Haitian song”. I knew I had to be at the show just to give Brushy my support. However, I enjoyed it even more than I had anticipated.

The show opened with Emeline and even though all her songs were in the Haitian French Creole, her soulful voice conveyed her powerful messages in a way words never could. It is for this reason that I say music is a universal language.

After Emeline and her band left the stage, a small, slender man in a hat took their place. He had no backing band, just one guitar with one string. Brushy One String didn’t need much more. He captivated the audience with his powerful voice and equally powerful messages of love and unity.

Casaurina was last to take the stage. They played and sang traditional Brazilian songs and once again language did not create a barrier. Their music conveyed happiness and sadness effectively. Once they were through with their set, Emeline and Brushy returned to the stage for the grand finale. Together, they sang Bob Marley’s Get Up Stand Up with a Samba twist. They brought everyone to their feet and received thunderous applause for their amazing performance.

#KultureShocked

 

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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!

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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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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