Sani Showbizz…The Future of Jamaican Music?

Interview with and performance by the unprecedented Sani Showbizz

It’s about two months ago that Peter Dean started sending me links to interviews with a Sani Showbizz. He was convulsing over them but I remained skeptical. Sani was the latest incarnation of a mutual friend who specializes in multiple personalities and maybe i was reluctant to meet the latest avatar but i refused to become a fan. Well, I’ve changed my mind now. Yesterday PD posted a link to a new Sani Showbizz video in which the schizophrenic star is interviewed by none other than PD himself. The interview is intercut with Sani prancing and dancing, a kind of Leroy Smart meets Neila Ebanks…methinks Jamaica has finally found its Charlie Chaplin.

For your viewing pleasure I append the video below. At first it appears like a rather long-winded interview with someone with one hell of a mongrel accent to say the least. But if you persist you’ll see a brilliant performance of the Jamaican singer as he enacts his lyrics in front of a video camera. Also below that are links to the rest of the interview including a segment in which Sani discusses Major Lazer:

.

http://vimeo.com/14345525 Sani Showbizz’ opinion of Zimboo’s first video..

http://vimeo.com/14342458 Showbizz’ upcoming plans…

http://vimeo.com/14345268 Sani Showbizz talks about Zimboo and Major Lazer..and how they left him out of their last video.

Also see Sani Showbizz buss!

INTERNATIONAL REGGAE CONFERENCE 2010: "Current and Future Trends in Popular Music"

So many people are asking for the programme that i thought i’d make this available. Keep in mind that this is an early draft, there may be changes.

INTERNATIONAL REGGAE CONFERENCE 2010, FEBRUARY 17-20, 2010
DAILY SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES

DAY 2 – THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2010
8.30AM-5.00PM
REGISTRATION

8.30-10.00
Session 1A – Multifunctional Room, Main Library
The Reggae Nation: Global Impact –
Chair: Sonjah Stanley-Niaah
1. Mercy Dioh, Promoting Reggae Music in Cameroon and Africa at Large
2. Jason Robinson, Dubbing the Reggae Nation: Transnationalism, Globalization and Interculturalism
3. Marvin D. Sterling, “Race Reggae and “The Search for Self’: Japan’s Literary Excursions into the Jamaican”
4. Colin Wright, “Rebel Music: Reggae, Rastafari and Resistance in a Globalised World”
5. Michela Montevecchi – In a Jamaican-Italian Style.Mutual Cultural Influences via Reggae and Rastafari

Session 1B – Special Needs Seminar Room
Collection, Preservation and Dissemination of Cultural Artifacts
Chair – Annie Paul
Brad Klein -filmmaker,
Elliott Leib – sound collector and preservationist
Herbie Miller, museum curator

Session 1C – HR Seminar Room
Economic Exploitation: Copyright, Marketing and Sponsorship –
Chair: Hume Johnson
1. Joan Elizabeth Webley, “Emancipating Ourselves From Mental Slavery: A Socio-legal Exploration of Existing Copyright Law Issues in Jamaica”
2. Sandra “Sajoya” Alcott, The Rastafari Reggae Revolution: Global Repositioning Towards Wealth Creation.
3. Daniel Neely, Never Grow Old: On the Contemporary Marketing of Jamaican Mento Music
4. Melville Cooke, ‘Falling Out: When the Sponsors Conducts Dancehall’
10.00-10.30
BREAK

10.30–12.00
Session 2A – Multifunctional Room, Main Library
Music and the Youth: Exploring Consumption and Influence

– Chair: Lloyd Waller
1. Donna Hope Marquis – Dancehall, Violence and Jamaican Youth: An Empirical Synopsis
2. Lisa Tomlinson – Reggae, Resistance and Youth Culture in Toronto
3. Fania Alemanno – Dancehall, Women and Sport: A Preliminary Overview

Session 2B – Special Needs Seminar Room
Media & the Culture of Reggae –
Chair: Franklyn St Juste
1. Klive Walker, Reggae Cinema: Past, Present and Future
2. Mike Alleyne, The Reggae Album Cover Art of Neville Garrick
3. Maureen Webster-Prince, “Putting Up Resistance: Reggae in Radio Serial Drama”

Session 2C – HR Seminar Room
Reggae / Rastafari Icons and Ambassadors

– Chair: Jahlani Niaah
1. Erna May Brodber, Social Consciousness and Marley.
2. Gloria Simms, The Reggae Artiste as Cultural Ambassador
3. Jahlani Niaah, Bob Marley Country

12.00-1.30
LUNCH

1.30-3.00
Session 3A – Multifunctional Room, Main Library
Sacred and Secular Iterations in Dancehall –
Chair: Michael Bucknor
1. Kenichi Ninomiya, Dancehall Gospel as Masculine Christianity
2. Winston C. Campbell, ‘Suppose a God Song Mi did a Sing’: A Case Study on Lyrical Typecasting in 21st Century Dancehall
3. Anna Kasafi Perkins, Love the long ding dong– Tanya Transgresses Christian Sensibilities?

Session 3B – Special Needs Seminar Room
Reggae Film, Media and Iconography in Brazil –
Chair: Patricia do Reis
1. Leonardo Vidigal, Brazilian documentaries about Jamaica
2. Laura Guimaraes Correa, Reggae Music in Brazilian Advertising
3. Carlos Bendito Rodrigues da Silva, The Iconography of reggae music in Brazilian Jamaica

Session 3C – HR Seminar Room
Reggae, Resistance and Social Consciousness – Chair: Mel Cooke
1. Iheanacho George Chidiebere, Diasporic Humanism and Resistance in Reggae
2. John D Marquez, Mexica Binghi I and Jahwaii: Reggae and Resistance in Latin(o) America and the Pacific Islands
3. Christian Akani, Diasporic Resistance and African Resistance: The Challenge of Reggae in the New World Order
4. Wayne D. Russell, Reggae’s Social and Political Contestation: Global Reggaefication and the Global Impact of Reggae

3.10-4.30
SPECIAL PLENARY
Neville Hall Lecture Theatre (N1)
Presenter: Professor Carolyn Cooper
“Reggae University:’ Rototom Sunsplash and the Politics of Globalising Jamaican Popular Culture”
Chair: Professor Claudette Williams

4.30-6.00
Session 4A – Multifunctional Room – Main Library
Diasporic Pedagogies –
Chair: Michael Barnett
1. Bobby Seals, Reggae and the Rastafari Movement (WORKING TITLE)
2. Leonie Wallace, Teaching Bob Marley in France
3. Renato Tomei, The Influence of Jamaican Reggae English on the Ethiopian English, With Special Focus on the Rastafarian Community in Shashamane

Session 4B – Special Needs Seminar Room
Imaging Culture: Films, Videos and Future Possibilities
Chair: Rachel Mosely Wood
Chris Browne
Paul Bucknor
Brian St. Juste

Session 4C – HR Seminar Room
Reggae Subcultures Transforming Society
Chair: Kim Marie Spence
1. Louis EA Moyston, Howell, the Early Rastafari: Development in Black Nationalism, Jamaican Nationalism and the Revolution in Music.
2. Christopher A. D. Charles, Anti-informer and Anti- snitch Subcultures: A Discursive Analysis
3. Christina Abram-Davis, “Role of the Cultural Pan Africanist in Transforming Society
6.00-7.00
BREAK
BREAK
BREAK

7.00
BOB MARLEY LECTURE – The Undercroft
Presenter Tekla Mekfet
RASTAFARI-REGGAE BOB MARLEY : AFRICA SCATTERED FOR RHYTHM OF ONENESS FOR THE WORLD

DAY 3 – FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2010
8.30AM-
5.00pm
REGISTRATION

8.30-10.00
Session 5A – Multifunctional Room, Main Library
SPECIAL PANEL
Participation/Contribution of Persons with Disabilities to Jamaican Music
Chair: Floyd Morris
Floyd Morris,
Grub Cooper,
Derrick Morgan
Cidney Thorpe

Session 5B – Special Needs Seminar Room
Dancehall Feuds, Factions and Fandom –
Chair: Anna Kasafi Perkins
1. Michael Barnett, Prince Buster vs Derrick Morgan: The Original Dancehall Clash
2. Annie Paul, Eyeless in Gaza and Gully: “Mi deh pon di borderline”
3. Sonjah Stanley Niaah, Gully vs. Gaza?: Feuds, Factions and Fuelling Fandom in Jamaican Dancehall Performance
4. Kim-Marie Spence, Clash! – Jamaican Artistes in a New Digital Music Market

Session 5C – HR Seminar Room
10.00-10.30
BREAK
BREAK
BREAK

10.30-12.00
Session 6A – Multifunctional Room, Main Library
SPECIAL PANEL
The Legal Framework for Jamaican Music
Chair – Clyde Williams
Peter Goldson
Andrea Scarlett Lozer
Simone Bowie
Sundiata Gibbs
MYERS FLETCHER AND GORDON

Session 6B – Special Needs Seminar Room
Sexual Politics in Dancehall ––
Chair – Shakira Maxwell
1. Keino Senior, Sexuality in Dancehall Music: A Philosophical Perspective
2. Agostinho M. N. Pinnock, ‘Rude- boy Don’t Apologise to No Batty Boy!’: Gay Politics; Trans-National Identities and the Jamaican State.
3. Brent Hagerman, Slacker than them: Yellowman and the Nadir of Jamaican Popular Music

Session 6C – HR Seminar Room
Genesis, Transformation and Innovation: Comparative Dimensions II –
Chair: Chuck Foster
1. Christopher Johnson, Caribbean Abstraction: Reggae Music, Jazz and Transcendent Performance
2. Camille Royes, The Riddim Method: Friend or Foe?
3. John C. Baker, Natural Audiotopias: Dub’s Construction of Sonic Space
4. Michael Barnett and Paul Barnett, Who Really Pioneered Reggae?
12.00-1.30
LUNCH
LUNCH
LUNCH

1.30-2.30
SPECIAL SESSION – Multifunctional Room, Main Library
Presenter: Hon Edward Seaga
“Jamaican Music Industry as a Site of Nationalistic Fervour”
Chair:

2.30-4.00
Session 7A – Multifunctional Room – Main Library
Genesis, Transformation and Innovation: Comparative Dimensions I –
Chair: Clinton Hutton –
1. Chuck Foster, Jamaican Musical Genres: Innovation and Transformation
2. Meaghan Sylvester – Identity and Soca Music in Trinidad and Tobago
3. Dennis Howard, Genre Bonding and Defiance in Kingston’s Creative Commune: Genre Development in Jamaica

Session 7B – Special Needs Seminar Room
Language, Lyrics, Listening and Literary Issues – Chair: Rohan Anthony Lewis
1. Nickesha Dawkins, Gender-based Vowels Used in Jamaican Dancehall Lyrics
2. Michael Kuelker, The Many Functions of the Bus in Jamaican Music
3. Wayne D. Russell, Paradigm Shifts in Content: Recasting Lyrics and Images in Reggae- (A Video Supported Presentation)
4. Winston Campbell – When Did Dancehall Cease to Exist? Thematic Engagement of Dancehall Lyrics of the 90s and 21st Century.
5. Lloyd Laing, “Inoculating the Dancehall Virus: An Introduction to Memetics”

Session 7C – HR Seminar Room
Screening/Cleaning: Image, Content and Management –
Chair: Christopher Charles
1. Jon Williams, Screening/ Cleaning the Lyrical Content of Our Music
2. Hume Johnson, Mending Jamaican Music’s Crisis of Image: What Role for Public Relations and Crisis Management?
3. Charles Campbell, European Penetration Requires New Strategies
4. Joshua Chamberlain, Control Dis: Jamaican sound system influence on media regulation

4.00-4.30
CONFERENCE BREAK FOR MOVEMENT TO AUGUST TOWN

4.30-6.30
SPECIAL CONFERENCE SESSION IN AUGUST TOWN – MUSIC IN THE COMMUNITY
Artistes, PMI, Principal, Community Leaders

6.30-8.00
BREAK

8.00-
Entertainment – Reggae/Dancehall Fashion Show and Reggae Concert – (VENUE TBC)

DAY 4 –SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2010
9.00-10.30
Session 8A – Assembly Hall
SPECIAL PANEL
Supportive Institutions: The Jamaican Situation – Chair: Clyde McKenzie
JIPO
JACAP
JAMCOPY
JAMMS

10.30-11.00
BREAK

11.00-12.30
Session 9A – Assembly Hall
SPECIAL PANEL
Music Associations and Federations –
Chair –
JARIA
JFM
JAVAA

12.30-2.00
LUNCH
Lunch Hour Entertainment – ASSEMBLY HALL
Skit from the Play Soundclash
LUNCH
LUNCH

2.00-3.30
Assembly Hall
SPECIAL SESSION – Jamaican Music in Europe: The Homphobia Debate
Chair: Donna Hope Marquis
Ellen Koehlings
Pete Lilly

3.30-5.00
Assembly Hall
FINAL PLENARY: David Katz
Chair: Professor Rupert Lewis

5.00-5.20
BREAK

5.20-6.00pm
CLOSING REMARKS – ASSEMBLY HALL

Feb 8, 2010

Notes from the interview between Cliff Hughes and Vybz Kartel

Vybz Kartel
NB: have had to rename this post because it was hijacked by a site called mediazoneja which is passing it off as its original content and harvesting the resulting traffic. please note that these are my notes, and only i have the right to disseminate them. Originally this post was called: Vybz Kartel Makes an Impact: “when two gladiators are gone 2 more will appear”

Nov. 14, 2009
Ok, sharing my notes from the interview between Cliff Hughes and Vybz Kartel on TVJ’s Impact which aired on November 12, 2009. Remember this is not verbatim, much of it is my shorthand to myself. And there are occasional gaps, i didn’t try to note every single detail. Occasionally i comment in bold type. i frequently summarize CH’s questions. VK’s responses are italicized. He often refers to himself in third person as Vybz Kartel. There has been so much demand for news about the interview (judging by the hundreds of page views this blog is suddenly getting) that instead of waiting till i can write a proper post about it i thought why not share these notes? They provide quite a glimpse into the path the interview took if not actually being a blow by blow account. i thought Vybz was in complete control and this interview is a striking record of a very important moment in Jamaican cultural history–i have much to say about this but for now here is almost the full 100 i promised yesterday. Incidentally Cliff neglected to ask the two top questions anyone with some knowledge of popular culture here would have asked. 1) is it true that Kartel has pierced his tongue? 2) Is it true that he bleaches and if so, why?

8 pm, TVJ, November 12, 2009, Impact
crazy ads before show, real coup for Cliff, interview outdoors in uptown Gaza (?), nice yard, Laing is clearly lurking in the background judging by asides addressed to him by Adidja “Vybz Kartel” Palmer

VK introed as the most popular DJ, most influential entertainer in Jamaica, incredible lyricist with an incredible fan base spanning socioeconomic grps. Also a shrewd businessman who owns rights to all 4000 of his songs.

Interview kicks off, Why is yr music so controversial?

I don’t know. VK just does music…

How do you see what you do?

as music, as art, art is a reflection of life

my creative right as an artist

a musician, not a religious leader nor a political one nor a social one

parenting, takes responsibility for teaching his kids

sylvester stallone, Rambo, shooting officers, action movies from Hwood? What about those?

I DJ about life in Jamaica

VK is not a killer

I do a lot of socially conscious songs most of which are not played

i’m an entertainer, I get paid to entertain, its not my responsibility to grow fatherless children.

Society has a responsibility…

children in the ghetto need social programmes, they need motivation.

I don’t see anyone in Cherry Garden going out and killing anyone after listening to my music

How do Cliff H, VK, the PM help Jamaica? Cliff includes himself which is good…

VK employs a lot of Jamaicans, I have a company, that is my responsibility to Ja–to be a good citizen

If VK is to be held responsible as an artiste then Hwood must be held resp….

all of us grew up on gangster movies…

only VK buttons have been focused on by the media

media out to get him

VK most influential artiste…

VK finds this a burden…asked to mind people’s children, to care for everyone’s children

he condemns sale of buttons, he wasn’t involved with manufacturing them, his own posters are about staying in school, abstinence make sense etc. Daddy don’t touch me there, is that to be interpreted as actually having happened to Queen Ifrica?

what is your message to the young people? Cliff asks. “Stay in school, always use a condom…”

VK: gaza gully superimposed on schisms that exist, can’t expect mavado and him to bear the burden for what society has created, the decay in society isn’t created by them. They are mirrors.

Cliff; but you’re contributing to it! You’re most influential, you;’re a very bright man, that’s why you’re under pressure, you’re capable of doing much better than that…don’t you accept that there comes a point when u say my country is at risk, I have a talent, ray ray ray ray.

VK: the right people to ask are the politicians, people who have access to money, to knowhow, the resources, people who can help the garrisons, lightbulb scandal, how many millions that could have been spent on improving quality of life of the poor…

when do we, cliff and kartel, use our talent to say to the people of this country blah blah…why the violence in his music?

Because it sells basically…

since start of this year i’ve done 4 gangster songs, they get ratings, sound sytem play, dub plates are made…

anything the people want the people will get

at root of violence are the socioeconomic conditions, gun culture cultivated by our politicians,

CH: take off the artiste hat and put on the citizen hat, what wld u say to the politicians?

VK: I have nothing to say to the pols, as artistes we stay far from politicians, Gaza mi seh

CH: what gaza mi seh mean?

“Gaza means Fight for what you believe in against all odds, against all adversity”

Mr. Addy the teacher…how he arrived at name Gaza?

When I left the Alliance VK came under so much pressure, i said to Blak Rino and others we need to form a group. But we need a perfect name

the 1st war was just happening in Gaza, israel was bombarding them but the people were fighting back regardless, and VK said to Laing, we’re going to use that name coz it means to me–dem people deh serious and dem nah back down. Makes link to the pressure he came under when he left the Alliance, when his career was threatened. So that was the perfect name for him at the time.

1996…VK and a singer called Escobar and another friend decided to join forces, they got the name from a movie about Escobar and his infamous cartel…how come this attraction for notorious, infamous people etc

VK: No, the idea of adopting the name Kartel predated that becoz “a cartel is a group of people coming together to limit prices and control competition and that’s what Vybz Kartel wanted to do at that time”

“we distribute music, legal narcotics…”

falling out w Bounti happened over the latter’s desire to control his life, but VK is a man, couldn’t allow that, no matter how grateful for the start BK gave him; also his friendship with Beenie didn’t help

whence the rivalry w Mavado?

when I fell out of grace w BK so to speak, I guess Mavado figured he shld defend his honour.

CH: are u prepared to go on a stage together etc to make statement to yr fans?

But, VK responds, they did this already, with Mark Shields, but he’ll do it again, no problem

ready to go to schools and talk to students, but no one has ever approached them, tho there is a series of school tours with other artistes

“sometimes I wonder if its like a conspiracy by society to watch us fight in the ring like a gladiator and till both of us die. Why nobody don’t step onto the field and say we need u to go into the schools and this event will be sponsored by this company or that company–

“i’m shocked that society took so long to come to us w a plan like that.”

CH: Greatest threat acc to prinicpals—the G culture–

VK says he knows: Ganja, guns, graffiti, Gaza, Gully–

VK is a musician, limits to what he can do, he is willing to do something but who will take the initiative? Private sector not stepping up, no one else coming forward

“remember. when two gladiators are gone 2 more will appear.”

CH: Bounti Killa says Vybz Kartel the worst thing he has ever done to dancehall…(VK used to be BK’s protege)

that is typical bad man BK, that is his persona, I have no comment

born in Waterhouse, four sis one bro, third in fam, eldest sis a teacher

speaks to his Mom almost every day…

Life is life and we live and we die…the only thing that is certain in life is death

“except smoking which is bad, don’t do it…”

VK was a truant always sculling school and going to studios, got expelled from Calabar

good at litt, tells all children, “education is the key and VK is not a dunce and if u want to be a good artist u have to have an education”

he just meditates the lyrics, doesn’t use pen and paper anymore…a lot of artists do this…Sizzla too.

Name Adidja Palmer…”made me feel more special, more indigenous to what I was doing”

i’m a very spiritual person, not necessarily religious, rel too confusing, he reads bible, close links w family and friends

how many kids, by how many women? Five, 6 to 3 mths (honestly would Cliff ever ask an uptown citizen this? And why not? many of them have several children by different women)

An artiste has to remain a bachelor, so to speak, to maintain his appeal. (refuses to be drawn on his love/sex life–smart move VK)

Family is basis of society and civilization, I’m a great father, my kids and I are friends. Didn’t get to bond w his own father who was working 24/7

music business doesn’t follow a set time, in between time lots of time for family

never heard anyone say of his son…yu see is thru him father is a dj…1st thing his son has to do is his homework. Normal family life, coz when VK steps into his home he is not VK—he is Addy the Daddy.

Not the teacher…Daddy, which is the ultimate teacher, That’s why we’re saying–family is first– Jamaicans shld take the responsibility as parents and adults to grow their child in the right way and not leave them to outside influences like a DJ or a taximan in the street playing a VK.

CH: Lapping up etc…bus porn. VK’s reactions. (reminds me of time years ago when Cliff Hughes and was it Carol Narcisse visited Gemini or Caesar’s or one of the nightclubs and Cliff unabashedly enjoyed a lapdance, live on radio as it were–hey this is my memory of it ok?)

VK sings Schoolgirl don’t go inna di schoolbus. complains he has addressed things like this over and over but these songs never get highlighted by media or played very much…(why don’t Cliff, Boyne and com ever harrass media owners and managers about things like this?)

VK doesn’t have a US visa, was turned down, doesn’t know why, has reapplied. The Empire is touring w/o a problem, the Empire only concerned with the musical aspect no control over member’s lives

proud of products such as Street Vybz rum, ‘Daggerin’ line of condoms. “I’m a conspiracy theorist you know” wonders why the name of the condoms was banned the moment it came out. (referring to Romping Shop controversy and ban by Jamaica Broadcasting Commission).

CH: anything to say to fans and detractors?

Well we have nothing to say to our detractors coz if u don’t like VK I guess you probably never will. As I have told people before i’m a musician and I will never stop doing music.

Appeals to his fans in the streets not to take the Gaza Gully thing to an extreme “Just keep the music as music” and don’t take it literally don’t fight over this GG thing, and give your artiste a bad name because at the end of the day it is Mavado and myself who have to take the blame yknow what I mean for what is happening in the streets. But I have nothing to say to my detractors becoz if u nah like mi you nah go like mi and if you love mi you a goh love mi, Vybz K is not somebody you can like, you have to love him or you have to hate him.

no in between?

No in between, no gray area…

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.

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