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

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.