Kingston on the Edge (KOTE) 09: UnCONVENTional Edges out Rest


Neila Ebanks

It was June 22, Day 4 of Kingston on the Edge and UWI’s Philip Sherlock Centre was full as the audience, mostly young folk, waited for Dance on the Edge to begin. I was with Deborah Thomas and Junior Wedderburn, the former a seasoned dancer (and author of Modern Blackness), the latter an accomplished drummer who performs with the Lion King on Broadway. As the lithe, young dancers pranced around on stage we joked and laughed to ourselves, commenting among other things on the full house and the meaning or meaninglessness of the various dances.

Then right after a performance that Junior dubbed Johncrow nyam Dove, the tempo changed and the quality of the offerings went sharply uphill. A video with the puzzling title The Edging of Sister Mitzie Margaret started playing, featuring the exciting young dance maven, Neila Ebanks. With a quirky, offbeat, almost Chaplinesque sense of timing and parody Ebanks completely reinscribed the idea of dance as it has been known in these parts as she fluttered, skanked and slid her way on film along UWI’s Ring Road toward the Sherlock Centre. Dressed in a nun’s habit the film opens with Neila in the character of Sister Mitzie Margaret, intently inserting earphones and plugging into an ipod. As the music begins Sister Mitzie responds by quaking, shaking and feeling her way along the ground as if afraid the road might suddenly be pulled from
beneath her.


As the camera follows Sister Mitzie’s comical progress towards the Sherlock Centre, it suddenly dawns on you that she is mugging her way up the path to the auditorium and as you see her hand reaching for the door you realize with a shiver of anticipation that the dancer is actually outside and about to enter. Loud applause broke out as the the film then morphed into a live performance by Ebanks and she entered the auditorium, slipsliding across the stage and out a door on the other side, the film taking over once again, showing her emerging from the exit as the credits started to roll. Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Other memorable performances were by a group of tough looking chicks who took on the Broadcasting Commission and the recent ban on ‘daggering’ and what it deemed ‘lewd’ dancing. They lay the ground for the high-energy, wickedly creative male dance troupe, Shady Squad, who captured the audience with their imaginatively choreographed dancehall moves and style. At one moment they even performed a version of Michael Jackson’s anti-gravity lean. Superb. The audience screamed with delight at their performance and a mere one and a half hours after it began the show ended on such a high note that as someone said on Facebook the next day it was a pity there was no after-party to capitalize on the incredible vibes.

For me KOTE’s evening of dance was the most memorable of the week-long self-styled urban art festival. This is KOTE’s third year and it keeps getting better and better. The thirty-something organizers managed to bring out filled-to-capacity audiences for all the events. I’m only sorry that I missed the opening night at Red Bones and the premiere of the film “Why Do Jamaicans Run so Fast?” a production that has been attracting a lot of attention. A clip of video i shot of my office co-workers watching the 100m men’s relay in Beijing is actually included in the film but more on that when I’ve seen it.

An effervescent fizz fills the air at successful cultural events and there was plenty of snap, crackle and pop at KOTE this year. Theatre on the Edge was pretty good but only one production stood out for me (I missed the first of the eight offerings). Everyone had ten minutes to present their work and Amba Chevannes as playwright made the most of hers. Using just one eccentric character talking directly to the audience, Miss Burton Gets A Promotion was quirky, natural and best of all contemporary. No ‘folk’ dressed in turbans and bandana trotting around shouting at the audience, thank God.

Its not that the rest of the eight ten-minute productions that evening weren’t good, the audience was certainly appreciative, judging by the loud applause that attended most of them. It’s just that i like to focus on the really outstanding performances, artworks, music—the ones its worth telling the rest of the world about. There was at least one of these in every field except visual art, which continues to trail behind the other arts in Jamaica (and the rest of the region for that matter), the works either too conventional or pedestrian or just plain bad. The best of a bad lot was The Core Insight at Olympia Art Centre, an atmospheric art space if ever there was one.


In Film on the Edge again one film dominated the rest, The Last Don, by the Rickards Brothers. A trailer for a proposed TV/video series the film depicts a typical day in the working life of music producer and promoter Josef Bogdanovich. Again the film is offbeat, quirky and brilliant along the lines of the innovative Brazilian documentary, Manda Bala (Send a Bullet). I plan to follow up soon with an interview with the conceptual force behind The Last Don, Peter Dean Rickards.

HABITUAL OFFENDER?

Meanwhile back to dancing on the edge: “Psychological, cathartic, layered. I rarely go for the easy or obvious” is what Neila Ebanks said about her work in an interview with Karin Wilson of Yardedge.

I asked Ebanks to tell me more about the birth of Sister Mitzie Margaret and how her KOTE project unfolded in real time. Who were her models or sources of inspiration? Was she trying to convey anything in particular? Why a nun? Interestingly The Edging… was conceived, planned and performed in a very short space of time with the dancer liasing with the film director, John DaCosta, at the Lit Fest Calabash in Treasure Beach a scant four weeks before Kingston on the Edge started.

Here’s what Neila told me:

My Sister Mitzie personality comes out of a love of classic goofiness —– think Carol Burnett, Dick Van Dyke, The Muppet Show, Mr. Bean —– and intelligent physical comedy. Her character has been inspired by my Catholic prep and high schooling and my wondering how much of themselves the sisters had to give up to serve (and sometimes not) as they did.

The piece is the second in what is to become a series of Sister Mitzie capers in which she tries to balance her whimsy with her duty as “bride of Christ” (said like the announcer for “Pigs in Space” from the Muppet Show ). The first in the series, UnCONVENTional, was actually premiered 10 years ago in my Improvisation examination @ the Edna Manley College School of Dance. The night before the exam I had a eureka moment when I thought of a striptease in reverse, and the most unlikely character to perform it. She wasn’t named at that time but she has been able to surprise and make an audience laugh everywhere she goes.

I often take my work back to the lab to tweak and twiddle and so in 2003, I revisted that first piece, called it A Life CONVENTtional and I created a 10 minute version of it which debuted @ the HIP Festival of Dance in London in. From that experiment I discovered that the effect was not as arresting when the piece was that long and so I returned to it’s original 3 minute format. The best thing about that trial, though, was that I got to really examine the character of Mitzie (@ that time still unnamed) and uncover her reasons for being and the layers behind her nuances.

Fast forward to KOTE and Mitzie’s edging… She wasn’t even supposed to appear! Lighting designer John DaCosta and I had a Calabash discussion about making a film for KOTE in which I (Neila) would be dancing off the edges of surfaces @ UWI until I reached into the theatre. I have always been interested in dance film, and John is making a foray into film-making and so we were both excited about the collaboration. We had further discussion about the concept with my right-hand man Michael Holgate but Mitzie only came into the picture the day before the shoot, after our rehearsal when we realised that the film needed another layer, the character needed history, a little complexity…. and rather than have us create a new character Mitzie raised her hand and said “Me please!” . We shot on the Saturday before Monday’s performance and as I improv’d John filmed while we tried to beat the inevitable sunset. The music was found (before we filmed) by my musicmate, Renee, who has the knack for finding just the right soundtrack for my life, but I didn’t listen to it more than once before filming, and not immediately either. In fact, as I danced I just made up my own music, because I couldn’t remember the melody. Editing was done in record time by Serchen Morris of Phase 3, and magically, even when he was asked to make things faster, the movement still fit the music perfectly. Sister Mitzie was obviously an idea whose time had come.

I don’t know if I was trying to do anything particular with Mitzie, except probably crack smiles and get to play with my audience and allow them to put the puzzle pieces together in a way which used technology and live dance differently. I mean, I know full well that in other contemporary dance circles the work might be described as too literal and simplistic, but as far as JA goes, not many persons are stepping into dance on film, and this is my starting point. It’s as I write this that I realise how interested I have always been in the illusions that film can help to create. The applause on entry to the theatre really surprised me, especially because I wasn’t sure how many people had seen the first installment (done most recently @ Jamaica Dance Umbrella in March 2009) and I was concerned that without that information the audience would not find it funny. Though the applause was great to hear and feel, I was most pleased with the engagement that I saw in the audience’s eyes when the house lights came on and Mitzie realised where she was. It’s a beautiful thing to realise you have been able to build that kind of connection with an audience in just a few minutes, without words.

Terry Lynn’s anti-payola Logic

The draconian decision of the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica (BCJ) to proscribe the broadcast of ‘daggering music’, subsequently extended to soca and other sexually explicit music or lyrics, dangles like the sword of Damocles over Jamaica’s cultural landscape. The General Managers of local TV stations are reacting with such hysteria that a recent episode of TVJ’s Entertainment Report had the titles of three of the songs on its top 10 listing crossed out with a large red sign simply saying CENSORED. Others are losing sleep over the money that will be lost from not being able to televise the gyrations of well-fed upper saint andrew-ites during the fast-approaching Jamaica carnival.

Belatedly Cordel Green, executive director of the BCJ, is turning his attention to a more fundamental problem plaguing the broadcast and distribution of Jamaican music—payola—“the private payment offered to media personnel in return for the promotion of specific entertainment material”. According to a Sunday Herald article Green acknowledged that while broadcasting regulations play a critical role, they do not represent “the sum total of the counterweight required against those who have pushed the envelope to the extreme.”

Accordingly the BCJ is now calling on companies that are major advertisers to get involved in the process of cleaning up the airwaves.

“I say to our business leaders, do not allow the pursuit of profit and the imperatives of marketing to cause you to support a vortex of unbridled sex, violence and profanity on the public airwaves.”

“In addition to calling for the cleaning up of the lyrics, we must also demand that DJs and VJs stop the prostitution of radio and television through payola. We want those involved to stop running down popularity and money by feeding poison disguised as music.”

This is a welcome move indeed. Hopefully the BCJ will be just as uncompromising in its stand against payola as it has been in relation to ”indecent” lyrics.

While we’re on the subject of of payola it’s worth noting the creativity with which some music producers are approaching this widespread scourge. Take the new singer Terry Lynn whom this blog has featured more than once. The Terry Lynn story is an inspiring one that points to the new and innovative directions Jamaican music might take. Zurich-based Russell ‘phred’ Hergert, Terry Lynn’s creative partner, is head of phree music, a label that is committed to the free online distribution of music. Flying in the face of traditional concerns about copyright protection as a way to earn money Hergert’s philosophy is one of expanding his singer’s fan base by ‘freeing’ up the music (This is also Matisyahu‘s approach—the Jewish Reggae singer makes tracks and live concerts available free to online fans).

Thus Terry’s music will be freely available at phreemusic.com where fans will have “the option to download select tracks and mix-tapes for free, or pay if you choose.” The website urges fans to: “Feel phree and download a cappellas to create remixes (for non-commercial use please) and we’ll post what you submit back to us on Terry’s site.”

According to a report in Slamxhype:

“Refusing to dole out the payola ransom money that Jamaican media and radio so often demands, 1000 copies of Terry Lynn’s debut album Kingstonlogic 2.0 were instead manufactured and distributed for free across the country, and throughout impoverished neighborhoods. Each copy was emblazoned with an anti-payola message; “my music is about the people, for the people, it’s about change. we will not pay media a ransom to play this for people, we are instead paying for phree copies for you”.

“It’s a strategy and movement that matches Terry’s message and sound: honesty and change. Same goes for the debut in the streets from which it came. The new video is a culmination of a great deal of time and effort from everyone involved, including the community, to create something that looks and sounds unique in an uncompromising way.”

Kingstonlogic 2.0 / Directors Cut from Rickards Bros. on Vimeo.

As I reported in an earlier post Lynn’s Kingston Logic video was made by The Rickards Bros. I took the opportunity to ask Peter Dean Rickards about the process involved in shooting the video. This is what he told me:

It relied heavily on the vibrancy of Kingston, its spontaneous daily occurrences and its inhabitants as opposed to any metaphor or even a storyboard. Since the song mentions so many things, we decided that the city would have to tell its own story. Consequently, we started to drive around looking for material that contained a good mixture of photographic form, excitement and of course relevance to Lynn’s lyrics.

Before long we narrowed our shooting zone down to Terry’s community of Waterhouse after realizing that the city itself was far too large and difficult to capture by driving, stopping, and driving again. At that point we decided to immerse ourselves in the community for as long as it took to attain the footage that we needed. This proved to be a good decision even though the images still had to present themselves to us as we walked and searched. It was very much a documentary-style exercise that took a total of 6 days on foot.

As we watch the impact Lynn’s music has locally as well as worldwide, as her music starts to circulate, its worth noting the unconventional process her producer took in developing this singer from Waterhouse. Having encountered the young talent, phred decided to spend two to three years grooming, training and allowing her to develop her songwriting skills without any commercial pressure. It didn’t take a lot of capital. As Hergert puts it:

Terry Lynn is a unique artist. She captures with her words an honest depiction of Kingston’s environment and Jamaica’s struggles the way a camera captures images with a lens. Terry lives in (read: ‘born in’ – her mother couldn’t get to a hospital at the time) Waterhouse, Kingston JA. A brutally impoverished area of inner-city Kingston, where living by your word is often a life or death decision. Terry’s writing pulls at the root of the issues she addresses with vivid clarity, on her own sonic terms. She isn’t getting paid much to make her music, other than living expenses and creative costs to record, mix, master etc. She wants to get her message out independently and free from the local music industry’s repetitive sound and myopic business model. We’ve partnered because we think our collective skills might benefit the other.

As Lynn herself said in an interview with Plan B magazine:

My writing opened up under the freedom to express myself and my environment away from time restraints and local misconceptions. We’d work on songs, travel to record and re-record, re-work structures, free to discard what didn’t feel right. He’d always surprise me with new producers, new beats, ideas and we’d just keep carving till it felt done, ready. We agreed to release nothing until we had a complete set of work. That was how we wanted it.

Hustle it bustle it juggle it smuggle it
Life is hard still got to struggle it
Walk it ride it find it hide it
Get your fortune keep it guide it
Reach it grab it hold it keep it
Brag and boast bad luck will sweep it
Live it learn it read it check it
Kingston streets is arithmetic.

KINGSTONLOGIC!

Already Lynn has been hailed by mainstream media in London and New York as one of the top 10 acts to listen out for in 2009 (“the new sound of the Jamaican underground is fierce, and its female”–Time Out, London). Local businesspeople should take a leaf out of Hergert’s innovative model of artiste development and start investing in the abundant raw, young talent seething in Kingston (The last time someone did this–Chris Blackwell–the product was a Bob Marley). Only yesterday music producer Mikie Bennett wondered aloud on Facebook what the music industry could have been like had it received the kind of investment cricket has received.

The new non-commercial models of music dissemination–open source music sharing for instance, are poised to transform the consumption of music. The best way to improve the local musical product is for the kind of investment to take place that other sectors such as tourism and sport have benefited from. Perhaps then there would be no need for the BCJ to intervene in local music production and distribution in the way it has.

Brawta: check out this video of a song by Sanjay and Dazzla about what they would do if they had Bill Gates’ money.

At Daggers Drawn: The Broadcasting Commission and Jamaican Popular Culture (updated)


cartoons by Las May, The Gleaner


In India the self-appointed defenders of Indian culture wanted to ban Valentine’s Day celebrations and force all couples found displaying affection in public or dating on Valentine’s Day to wed on the spot; in Jamaica the Broadcasting Commission (BC) has imposed a blanket ban on ‘daggering’ songs from the airwaves, even in edited form. It defines ‘Daggering’ as “a colloquial term or phrase used in dancehall culture as a reference to hardcore sex or what is popularly referred to as ‘dry’ sex, or the activities of persons engaged in the public simulation of various sexual acts and positions.” It should be noted that this definition has been contested by some people as inaccurate.

The BC then issued the following directive to licencees:

1. There shall not be transmitted through radio or television or cable services, any recording, live song or music video which promotes the act of ‘daggering’, or which makes reference to, or is otherwise suggestive of ‘daggering’.

2. There shall not be transmitted through radio or television or cable services, any audio recording, song or music video which employs editing techniques of ‘bleeping’ or ‘beeping’ of its original lyrical content.

3. Programme managers and station owners or operators are hereby required to take immediate steps to prevent transmission of any recorded material relating to ‘daggering’ or which fall into the category of edited musical content using techniques of ‘bleeping’ or ‘beeping’.

It’s such a pity that elections aren’t impending because you would have been sure to find various politicians daggering all over their campaign platforms, delivering themselves of stirring speeches in rock chaw Patwa and otherwise wallowing in the vernacular culture that is now deemed too profane for the airwaves.

For the last ten years I’ve been studying and writing about the culture wars played out in the Jamaican public sphere. The following is a quote from Dancehall in Jamaica: ‘Keeping It Jiggy’ in Babylon, a paper I presented at a symposium on censorship in the arts at the Edna Manley College of Art some years ago. The paper was inspired by an article called Jonkonnu in Jamaica published many years ago by Sylvia Wynter in Jamaica Journal:

‘Plantation’ ideology, the official ideology, “would give rise to the superstructure of civilization in the Caribbean while ‘provision ground’ ideology would produce the ‘roots of culture’. The former was predicated as European and the latter as African. With such a worldview it wasn’t surprising that the suppression of African-based ‘slave culture’ was widespread throughout the Caribbean; Errol Hill describes how even those well-disposed towards the slaves had no hesitation in calling for the banning of the more ‘African’ influenced dances and masquerades:

“Ironically as we have seen, among those who worked hardest for slave liberation were people prominent in demanding the suppression of so-called slave culture. Reasons given for suppressing the Christmastime masquerades in Jamaica in 1842 were that they obstructed the progress of civilization and were derogatory to the dignity of freemen. At the other end of the Caribbean, similar attitudes prevailed regarding the Trinidad Carnival. Once it was taken over and transformed by the black freedmen, the leading newspaper castigated the festival throughout the nineteenth century in the severest terms and urged its abolition. Rioting ensued. In 1838 the masquerade was called “a wretched buffoonery [tending] to brutalize the faculty of the lower order of our population.” In 1846 the carnival was “an orgy indulged in by the dissolute of the town”; in 1857 it was “an annual abomination”; in 1863, “a licensed exhibition of wild excesses”; in 1874, “a diabolical festival”; and in 1884, “a fruitful source of demoralization throughout the whole country.” These attacks served only to alienate the revelers and to stiffen their resistance to any form of control. The results, unsurprisingly, were more riots and a widening gulf between government and the people.”[1]

Similarly Wynter refers to the quotation by F.G. Cassidy of a 1951 letter to the editor of the Gleaner which objected to the revival of Jonkonnu “because the dances were ‘demoralizing and vulgar’.The police had managed to succeed in suppressing it in his district, ‘and many people were taken to court for it’.”

Policing Popular Culture
Ironically the policing of popular culture has been such a normal part of the Jamaican scene for centuries that it was even a trope in Jonkonnu. Wynter talks of the dance of the Whore Girl and the Wild Indian.

“But there was another dance in 1951—one performed by a Sailor and a Whore Girl “who dance(d) vulgar all the time” [Wynter’s italics]. This was the same one danced in the Jonkonnu Parade at Portland as late as 1969—and termed by the citizens who watched it with shocked delight: “a real dirty dance”. Apart from the Whore Girl, there was another character called the Wild Indian. In this dance, both these principals are men, but Whore Girl is dressed as a woman. He/she lifts his/her dress, holding it at both sides to show the underwear, bends back with knees open and bent before, and does a dance which is an exaggerated form of the hipsway and pelvic roll. The Wild Indian straddles his/her hip, and lifting one leg and changing the other, does a backward-and-forward movement of the pelvis, known in Portland as ‘the forward jam’. “

Their openly sexual dance is curtailed by a Policeman who arrests them both pending their being bailed out by the crowd who pay pennies to set them free. Then the dance which Wynter claims parodies obscenity and celebrates the life force continues. “And without its framework of meaning it repels the more Christian element who see it only as one more example of the ‘sexual license’ and immoral lack of restraint of the lower classes.”

Unfortunately one has no choice but to see the latest action of the BC as an updated version of the centuries old attempt first by the slave masters, then the colonial missionaries, and now the middle and upper class elites who occupy the highest rungs of society in postcolonial Jamaica, to censor and legislate the morality of ‘the lower classes’ on the grounds that their behaviour and musical products are a threat to the moral well-being of wider society.

One is forced to take this view for various reasons. The Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica went on the rampage after Esther Tyson, the Principal of a local high school wrote a column expressing outrage over the popularity of a song called ‘Ramping Shop’ featuring popular DJs Vybz Kartel and Spice. Depicting the song as ‘musical poison’ the Principal went on to lament the effect such ‘filth’ would have on young minds. Contradicting her own worry she went on to quote several children at her school who were all critical of the song and showed that they were capable of digesting and analyzing the lyrics without becoming desensitized sex maniacs. Perhaps she didn’t notice how this contradiction weakened her own argument.

Neither did the Broadcasting Commission. Ms. Tyson’s letter appeared on February 1 and acting with what one might legitimately call indecent haste, the BC issued its draconian ban on daggering exactly two weeks ago on Feb. 6, less than a week after the Tyson letter had appeared. Ironically February 6 is celebrated here and elsewhere as Bob Marley’s birthday. Also as a visitor from Germany who is an avid consumer of dancehall noted, it was interesting that this devastating stab to the heart of the music industry occurred during the recently instituted Reggae month, something he and his wife, well-known music journalists had come to Jamaica to cover.

The reason one is forced to conclude that a certain bias guided the censorious actions of the BC is that Esther Tyson subsequently pointed out that she had previously written a similar column expressing concern over carnival and its attendant vulgarities. In yesterday’s Observer Michael Burke also wrote a column titled Slackness and Hypocrisy lamenting the fact tht the BC had paid scant attention to his earlier columns demanding censorship of vulgar carnival dances and lyrics.

As Trinidad and Tobago stands poised on the brink of its annual cleansing carnival rituals (Feb 22-24), a wonderfully licentious national celebration that purges and purifies the atmosphere there, its worth noting that in Jamaica carnival remains a middle and upper class indulgence. Although the BC subsequently came out and said that carnival songs and dances are included in its ban, the language it couched its ban in was clearly exclusively directed at dancehall music, which is primarily consumed by the underclasses here.

Double-edged sword
The tragedy of all this is that the freewheeling creativity and exuberance of the dancehall which for the last twenty or more years has built up an international demand for its products without benefit of state subsidy or intervention is about to be curtailed and put in shackles by people who neither understand nor appreciate its iconic stature in world culture. On the contrary the state has been completely indifferent to the pleas of numerous DJs, promoters and other players in the music industry who have been asking for years that specific regulations and structure be designed for musical production and consumption here. The letter of the day in the Gleaner (Feb 19. 2009) titled “Dangers of dictating tastes for others” outlined ways in which the consumption of cable telelvision can and should be regulated. There is no reason why dancehall music which is primarily for adults should not be regulated in the same way.

Despite the stellar international success of Jamaican music there are no purpose-built venues for its consumption and dissemination locally although there is a National Gallery of Art, the Little Theatre for the National Pantomime and other such facilities for the cultural products of the middle classes. The nation’s universities have no courses in entertainment law and management; its banks have no loan products to facilitate music producers or aspiring singers and DJs yet we can’t wait to drive a dagger through the heart of the goose that has laid so many golden eggs for Jamaica.

There are other glaring inconsistencies in the BC’s recent actions. As others have pointed out, despite international outrage the BC has never issued a ban on lyrics threatening violence to homosexuals, or so-called ‘hate’ music in general although this could be argued to be more morally deletrious to the nation. There is also the entrenched system of payola plaguing the dissemination of music on radio which is the bane of music production here. What action has the BC taken to clean up this kind of corruption in the industry? does it interpret its mandate solely to be that of a watchdog against moral corruption?

As Sylvia Wynter pointed out in her article forty or so years ago the careless, cavalier interventions of Christian groups eventually drove Jonkonnu underground and led to its extinction. Today the custodians of culture in Jamaica lament its demise and try in vain to resurrect what is acknowledged to be the ‘folk culture’ of Jamaica. Dancehall music is today’s–contemporary–folk culture, and will be celebrated as Jamaican folk culture in the future (if its goose isn’t cooked by then), something today’s elites are loath to acknowledge.

The moral brigade and the state could do worse than to pay serious attention to the words of Vybz Kartel who responded to the attack on the Ramping Shop with the following words:

Ms Tyson, the “devastating impact on the psyche of Jamaican children” is not caused by ‘daggerin’ songs but rather by socio-economic conditions which leave children without free education, single-parent homes, (or shacks), the lack of social infrastructure in ghetto communities, unemployed and disenfranchised young men with no basic skills who are caught up in the ‘gun culture’ cultivated by our politicians in the 1960s-’70s, all faults of the governments (PNP and JLP).

Until these underlying systemic obscenities are rapidly dealt with such actions as the BC undertook in Reggae month must be viewed as purely cosmetic and marred by class bias. The daggering debate in Jamaica proves that censorship can and often is a double-edged sword.

Rebuke them! rebuke them!
you have to watch this wonderful Elephant Man spoof of the Moral Re-armament crew–


and for the latest in contemporary soca, this is one of the hottest songs/videos in Trinidad this carnival! Machel Montano’s Wild Antz–get bitten!

PS: The University of the West Indies now offers courses in entertainment law and artiste management under the aegis of the Reggae Studies Institute. This a relatively recent development. As soon as i have the exact course titles i will post them here.

Also since posting this yesterday the Broadcast Commision has come out with a second ban which covers transmission of carnival songs as well. The original ban issued two weeks ago only targeted dancehall music. In another development the rivals Vybz Kartel and Mavado have both come out with songs protesting the action of the BC. As Clordene Lloyd notes:

With the release of three new songs, A So Yuh Move by Mavado (Big Ship Productions), Dem Nuh Like We (Big Ship Productions) and A Nuh My Music (Fresh Ear Productions) by Kartel, the deejays are protesting the ban by the Broadcasting Commission on all daggering songs and songs that require bleeping.

[1] Errol Hill, The Jamaican Stage 1655-1900: Profile of a Colonial Theatre, Amherst:University of Massachusetts Press, 1992, p. 279.