Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Your Name is My Game!

Have a new product, service or attraction, or want to make your existing product 'POP' even more?

I'll give it a name that will drill into public consciousness and stay there like an earworm

send me details of your product/service/company to or and we'll set up a consultation

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


Fete De Musique/Kingston on the Edge

Jazz is a medium best enjoyed live, and for a jazz band performance to be enjoyable, the band has to function similar to the engine of a high-end sports car: not only do the components have to function well individually with repeated high demands, but the individuals must function perfectly in tune to the other parts, ready to roll with the split-second shift of gears and the subtlest changes in tone and direction.

With the intimate lawn of Grosvenor Galleries in Manor Park as his “course” saxophonist Jacques Schwarz-Bart took the audience for a welcome spin through contemporary jazz spiced with Caribbean rhythms and inflections. Arguably unknown to most prior to his performance, the artists, who has performed with the likes of modern soulster D’Angelo and trumpeter Roy Hargrove, made a powerful statement for celebrating music and life on Saturday night.

The five-man combo was something of a mini-United Nations, with two Serbians (the excellent drummer, Marko Djordevic and the amazing keyboardist Milan Milanovic) a Brazilian, a Puerto Rican and the leader himself, born in Guadeloupe, raised mostly in Europe and now based in New York City (as are all the musicians). They demonstrated that combination of individual virtuosity and collective simpatico that is critical to making the music come alive.

And come alive it did. After a brief spoken word intro, in which eh urged the audience to spare a thought for the people of Iran (fighting to establish a ‘real’ democracy) he led the band into selections from his last two CDs, Sone Ka La and Abyss. Dominated by the infectious poly-rhythms of gwo-ka (an indigenous Guadeloupean form played largely with hand drums), the tunes had hips swaying, fingers snapping and hands clapping, as the celebratory mix and the obvious joy of the players seeped into the crowd.

By night’s end, with the band having played two sets, the party was well and truly on at the final number with patrons willingly abandoning their chairs and dancing in the soft lush grass.

Earlier in the evening, the focus (at least on the leader part anyway) shifted to strings. Maurice Gordon functioned as a kind of “special guest” along with a young trio that gave good support on numbers like “Oleo” “Irie Moods” and the opener, “All Blues”. Before Gordon, Benjy Myaz (whose new album drops very soon) led the audience on a journey through contemporary r&b, pop and reggae.

The entertainment began in the afternoon, with 16 acts who had pre-booked for the Open Mic segment showcasing their talents for the audience. The Fete De Musique is a global celebration co-ordinated by the offices of the Alliance-Francaise in each country. The event is also included in the roster of the Kingston on the Edge arts festival - steadily growing in both quality and quantity in its third year. Many more music and arts events remain over the next several days

But for now, Jamaicans can celebrate the building of some new bridges through music and the visual arts , which is what those things were intended to do in the first place.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Cool Runnings Audio book launch

With a soundtrack encompassing the Fugees as well as the obligatory Bob Marley (who in fact, did use the refrain “cool runnings” in his song “Black Man Redemption”), Chris Stokes launched the audio-book of his bobsleigh memoir, Cool Runnings and Beyond: The story of the Jamaican Bobsleigh Team at Bookophilia in Kingston two Saturdays past.

Stokes drew on the varied skills and enthusiasm of family members and friends (including mom, Blossom O’ Meally Nelson), many of whom crammed into the cozy Liguanea bookstore-cum-hangout. The audio excerpts, read by the author, told the familiar story of courage, physical and mental endurance and unwavering self-belief that has made Jamaica Bobsleigh an indigenous sporting icon surpassed only recently by one-man sprint phenomenon Usain Bolt (imagine the start times the bobsleigh team could get with him pushing).

To hear Stokes and family friend/collaborator Don McDowell tell it, the 13-month recording and editing process of transferring the book (originally published in 2002) to audio was almost as grueling as going downhill on ice (minus, of course, the separated ribs and other physical injuries), with recording sessions frequently running 16 hours or more.

The excerpts played at the launch began – expectedly – with the famous disaster-turned –delight of Calgary 1998, where the team crashed spectacularly out of contention, but into the hearts of the spectators and the world (dramatized, and embellished, in the hit movie). Then ether was the triumph, six years later, in Lillehammer Norway, where the team again overcame injury and lack of equipment (their race sled was a “rental” a ‘display model’ graciously provided by the hotel in which they were staying ) to shock the world by finishing 14th, ahead of the French, Italians, Russians and –most satisfyingly – the Americans.

In her remarks, Mom Blossom O’ Meally Nelson spoke not only to the courage of her sons (brother Tal Stokes was captain of the 4-man teams at Calgary and Lillehammer), but also the perseverance and resourcefulness of their wives, who often had to send money to help keep their spouses “on the ice” and out of hot water, so to speak, this in addition to raising the children.

Na-Talia Stokes rendered the famous Kipling poem, “If” and then Chris took the microphone and delivered a thoroughly inspiring address, beginning with a reference to Sir Phillip Sherlock and Dr Hazel Bennett’s The Story of the Jamaican People and ending with a challenge to members of the audience to commit their own stories to audio books and to books in general.

With even more great stories to tell - the formation, for example of a Jamaican women’s bobsleigh team, and the upcoming expedition to Antarctica (which includes Jamaican Kim-Marie Spence) – another of the Gong’s refrains comes to mind: “spread out, spread out”

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Calabash '09 programme

Just a quick note to say....

The 2009 Calabash programme is up at
See you in Treasure Beach in 3 weeks!

check back with us - as well as for more updates

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Winning Actor Boys & Girls

Congratulations to all the 2008 Actor Boy Awards Winners

An entertaining presentation at the Courtleigh Auditorium last night saw the following, emerge victorious:

Special Effects - Robin Baston, Yes!
Lighting Design - Robin Baston, Yes!
Set Design - Michael Lorde, Runner Boy
Costume Design - Brian Heap, A Tempest
Musical - Yes! Fr. Holung & Friends
Revue - Jamaica 2 Rhatid Pupalick
Comedy - Caughtin in the net, Pablo Hoilett Productions
Original Score - Jamaica 2 Rhatid Pupalick, Lyrics by Aston Cooke, Music by Grub Cooper
Original Song - 'Gangsta's Mercy' Jamaica 2 Rhatid Pupalick, Lyrics by Christopher Gordon, Music by Grub Cooper
Choreography - Tony Wilson, CATS
Childrens Theatre - CATS, Jamaica Junior Theatre
New Jamaican Play - Basil Dawkins, Which Way Is Out?
Actor in a Supporting Role - Munair Zacca, Art
Actress in a Supporting Role - Zandriann Maye
Actor in a Lead Role - Christopher McFarlane, A Tempest
Actress in a Lead Role - Hilary Nicholson, Fallen Angel & Di Devil's Concubine
Director - Brian Heap, A Tempest
Production - YES! Fr. Holung & Friends

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Four Literary Trails converge at Terra Nova

The absence of the two featured female writers could not dampen the spirit of the mutli-ttle book launch hosted by Trailblazer Ink atthe Terra Nova on tuesday (March 24).
The two gentlemen, Dudley Earlington (author of The Fallacy of the Democratic System of the United States) and poet Victor Robertson, whose collection, This Bridge, was being launched, ably received a small but eager crowd of literati, alongside publisher-entrepreneur Joanne Simpson. Zoe Asher (I Woman: The Sacred Trust) and Melda Evans (Sweet & Sour Love) round out the four authors presented.

Simpson pointed out that while the publishing business in Jmaaica was not for the faint-hearted, books were still relevant to the Jamaican situation, and there was some evcidence that Jamaicans at home and in the Disapora would gladly accept books that spoke to our own indigenous experiences and values.

This was echoed by guest speaker (and Director of Culture in the Ministry of Information Youth,Culture and Sports)Sydney Barltey, deputizing for Minister Olivia 'Babsy' Grange. I na typically wide ranging address, he said that if more Jamaicans hada sense of our own heroes, the way that persons in Western civilization do, then this would be a very different (the clear implication is "improved") society.

He pledged the Ministry's support for Simpson's proposed jamaica Writers' Club, a writng-publishing co-operative, for which funding is presently being sought, and also urged the audience to support Jamaican and regional writers as frequently as they could.

A robust discussion session ensued, halted temporarily as emcee Rosemarie Chung brought the proceedings back to formal order, and resumed - in pockets - as soon as the formalities had ended.


Monday, March 16, 2009

4 New J'can books

Joanne simpson's Trailblazer Ink will launch 4 new titles by J'can writers Tues March 24 at the Venetian @ Terra Nova, starting 7:00 pm

The four cover a wide stylistic range, from Sweet & Sour Love, Melda Graham’s short story collection depicting the vagaries of life in rural St Elizabeth, to Dudley Earlington’s unsparing examination of America’s role as the world’s lone superpower, entitled – controversially enough – The Fallacy of the Democratic System of the United States. The other two titles are motivational expert Derrick Evans’ recollections, The Warm-Up, and Zoe Asher’s “neo-feminist” tract, I, Woman: The Sacred Trust.