Sunday, April 13, 2008
WE Magazine lends its support to the Caribbean community by sponsoring two beauties in the Miss Queen of the Islands Pageant
From left: Renee Forde (Miss Trinidad/Barbados), Jef Lo (WE Magazine Editor in Chief), Camille Langevine (Miss Guyana)
Monday April 14th, 2008 - Toronto, ON, Canada - Canada's premiere West Indian Entertainment magazine, WE announced today that it will be sponsoring two contestants competing in Jamaal Magloire’s 2nd Annual Miss Queen of the Islands beauty pageant taking place on July 5th.
Camille Langevine (Miss Guyana) is an HR student at Seneca College and Renee Forde (Miss Trinidad/Barbados) is a co-ordinator at OMNI TV. “Both girls are very bright ambitious young individuals and WE is pleased to be a contributor to such aspiring young women who will one day make a difference in our Caribbean community” says Jef Lo, Editor in Chief at WE Magazine. “Our hats off to the committee organizing this event, which not only focuses on the beauty and talent rising from the Caribbean, but it also provides a wonderful networking medium for young people reaching out in our community.”
The Miss Queen of The Islands Pageant takes place on July 5th at the Rembrandt Banquet Hall located at 930 Progress Avenue in Scarborough. For more information on the pageant and to view photos of all the 2008 delegates visit http://www.missqueenoftheislands.com/
You can read more about Renee Forde, who is the featured “WE GIRL” in the April issue of WE Magazine available in outlets now. Also look out for more on Camille Langevine in the upcoming June issue of WE.
WE Magazine is Canada's premiere monthly WEST INDIAN ENTERTAINMENT magazine. It is committed to inspiring readers while celebrating the vibrant arts, culture, history and natural beauty of the Caribbean. WE provides a unique and colourful perspective on West Indian entertainment and life with an emphasis on local West Indian Canadian content. WE Magazine seeks to accurately and creatively reflect the Caribbean community from which it came.WE magazine is available free at all major West Indian outlets throughout the GTA.
For more information visit http://www.wemagonline.com/.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
I couldn’t help but notice the Internet buzz surrounding Konvict Muzik’s (Akon’s label) latest prodigy’s. But six seconds into my first listen of Brick and Lace’s Love is Wicked, I thought “oh God, not another diwali song”.
However, as soon as Nailah’s husky, sultry serenade began, my eyebrows raised with interest.
Nailah’s raspy voice, the harmonized lyrics, and the introduction of the brass instruments was just pure genius that breathe life into the over done diwali riddim. Not to mention the catchy lyrics had me belting out “your love is wicked” by my third listen of the song.
Curiosity led me to the to the female anthem “Never, Never.” I fell in love with the song, instantly. The beat the lyrics, even the re-mix tracks with Cham and KES the Band were pristine.
I knew then that I had not given the sisters a fair listen of their unique blend of R&B and Reggae, which they call sexy roots music.
A million questions-— who is who, how did they get this far, why didn’t I pay attention before-—, mulled through my head as I dialed their 876 connection sent from their 180 Entertainment manager, Chez.
After 3 rings, Nyanda, the older of the two sisters answers the phone.
Nailah and Nyanda Thorbourne are the drop-dead gorgeous sisters who make up the group, Brick and Lace.
The credit for their good looks goes to their black Jamaican father and white-American mother.
Their talent, well that’s just god given because these sisters didn’t get this far because of their striking faces and chiseled bodies. Yes, I know many would like to believe that they coasted to stardom but trust when I say that these girls can really sing. Check out their Next performance available on Yahoo music and judge for yourself.
Raised in a Christian home, the two sisters come from a family of four girls who are all blessed with beautiful voices.
Their journey in the “worldly” music industry began after Sharon Burke, the Solid Agency front woman, heard the sisters (there were three of them at the time) signing in a church.
After their successful audition, Burke paired the sisters with Reggae music A-listers, which included Marcia Griffiths, Diana King and Beres Hammond as backup singers.
When the sisters opened for the killing me softly songstress, Roberta Flack, in their native Jamaica, they were introduced to the world as Brick and Lace.
It was their mother they say who came up with “Lace” for the group name. Nyanda added, “Brick.”
The sisters with Burke’s guidance recorded tracks with dancehall icon Bounty which was received favorably in Jamaica.
With the group of three became two (older sister Tasha, who now resides in Toronto, decide to take a behind the scenes role with Brick and Lace’s development), people automatically assumed that one was Brick and the other was Lace.
And why not, as Nyanda, the sing-jay with the harder, edgy, look and the one that WE brick city ladies can relate to, would seemingly own the label Brick. Nailah, the R&B crooner, who most women aspire to be would seemingly own the label Lace.
“We are both Brick and Lace. Every woman is Brick and Lace. Every girl has that edgy side and every girl has that feminine side. And that’s what the name is really about.”
The sisters are artists in the truest sense. They wrote or co-wrote the songs on their debut album. Nailah (the blond) also plays the guitar and Nyanda (the brunette) reportedly plays the triangle, a musical instrument belonging to the percussion family.
Besides their passion for music, you can’t deny that the sisters have a lot going for them. Matter of fact, they could probably do whatever they chose to be. With their height (Nailah stands 5’9” and Nyanda stands 5’8”) and photogenic features, they could have easily graced magazine covers, or work the runways. (Did you see Nyanda’s strut and poses in their award nominated Love is Wicked video?)
They are smart too. Nailah is a graduate of St. Andrew High and Nyanda graduated from the prestigious Campion College. They were both doing the college thing, Nyla was pursuing a degree in Marketing at Miami Dade College and Nyanda was pursuing a degree in Advertising and Theater at the University of Miami, when they met Dallas Austin.
“Dallas Austin wanted to sign us to his publishing company. It would mean moving to Atlanta [and] so we ended up going to Atlanta. That’s where we really honed our writing skills.”
Working with the legendary producer proved to be a major stepping-stone for the sisters.
They were the first female Jamaican group to be signed to Jive Records before they departed from the label two months later for Geffen records.
Through Geffen, they met Akon who was slated to produce three songs on their debut album.
On working with Akon the sisters said that “the vibe and the chemistry was automatic. We had so much fun in the studio in terms of being able to relate to each other. I think that relationship just made [Akon] feel more like he wanted to be involved with the whole movement of the group.”
As a result, the sisters were signed to Akon’s Konvict Muzik label where they have been creating their unique sound that they call sexy roots music.
“We feel like [our songs] definitely has the roots vibes as we say in Jamaica. It’s down to earth, it’s approachable and we can hear the sincerity in the vocals. The sexy part is the R&B and the melodies are sweet to the ear. So it’s that vibe of dancehall meet R&B, so we call it sexy roots music,” they said.
They have also created sexy roots music with some of the top producers in the industry including: Cool and Dre, Full Force Productions, Tony Kelly, Will.I.Am, and Raphael Saadiq, just to name a few.
Signed to Sony publishing the girls have penned lyrics for other artists including Nicole Scherzinger of Pussycat doll fame. Along with publishing credits, the sisters can be heard on Scherzinger’s latest “Paukenikini” which Nyanda pronounces with authority as if the Hawaiian dialect is her own native tongue.
Last year they appeared on Akon’s set during his tour with Gwen Stefani.
“It was like 22,000 people every night. It was crazy. I think people were excited to see our set bringing something fresh and bringing that whole Caribbean vibe.”
Perhaps their success has a lot to do with not leaving the marketing of their unique sound solely in the hands of their label professionals.
“No sah, we doing our ting,” said Nyanda.
“No seriously as Jamaican and Caribbean artists you have to do what you have to do. You can’t wait. The record companies, it’s great to have them but you can’t wait on them. You have to do your own grind. We have to show them that there is another world that there is a market other than mainstream. [There] are a lot of Caribbean people in the world who want to connect with you and connect with the music. We have to reach that audience…you just kind of have to lead that way and show them.”
The uptown sisters were recently feted by the Jamaican music industry with multiple category nominations for the Jamaica Reggae Academy Awards and Excellence in Music and Entertainment Awards.
You can’t help but root for them, because deep down you know that they are well on their way of joining the ranks of the two Sean’s (Paul and Kingston) and Rihanna who are Caribbean artists who launched into international success with Caribbean music and heritage as their foundation.
Often called The Caribbean Queen, Sophia who is from the beautiful island of Jamaica is the second youngest of seven children. Her family unit has been a vital part of her existence, serving as the foundation of her perseverance through life’s many challenges.Sophia resided in Queens, NY for approximately ten years. During her time in NY City, she cultivated her craft as an entertainer. She attended numerous Theater Arts programs and pounded the pavement of NYC experiencing all that she could get her hands on. Sophia immediately became known for her versatility.
It all started when she accompanied her cousin to an audition for Parent Magazine when she was eleven years old. Sophia tells the story…
“I didn’t even know what an audition was at that age. I just wanted to hang out with my cousin. I remember standing in the hallway trying to peek through the crack of the door to see what was going on. The photographer saw me and came out and said hello. Long story short, I ended up booking the print job for Parents Magazine. I was so excited about knowing that I was going to be in a magazine, but I didn’t want to rub it in my cousin’ face and so I down played it. I didn’t realize that this was the start of my career, but after doing this shoot, I fell in love with being in front of the camera and couldn’t wait for the next shoot.”
Before Sophia was even a teenager she had already booked roles on Young & The Restless, As the World Turns, Ghost Writer. She said one of her most memorable experiences growing up was working with Lauren Hill and Aretha Franklin. The shoot was for a music video entitled “A Rose is still A Rose.”
Devoted to her aspirations, at the age of seventeen Sophia relocated to Los Angeles. She enrolled in acting school and landed roles on ER, Malcolm & Eddie, Moesha, Felicity and City Guys, just to name a few. Three years later she moved to Atlanta. When asked why she left she smiled and said, “The Hollywood scene was not my cup of tea, if you know what I mean. I have morals and integrity. When I realized that was being compromised it was not a very difficult decision for me to make. I knew that I would be blessed because of my decision regardless of where I decided to move. I wanted to test new waters and I love it here.”
Since her transition, Sophia has been featured on Good Day Atlanta three times. She represented Maybelline Cosmetics, Mac Cosmetics and FUBU. She has also filmed several commercials including Verizon Wireless, Continental Hotels, WBLS, and Greenville Technical Institute. Some of her print campaign jobs include, Oprah Magazine, Essence Magazine, Instyle Magazine, Coors Light, Russell Athletics and many more. She said one of her most interesting shoots was for a cartoon on the Cartoon Network called ‘Frisky Dingo’. “They had to shoot me doing about fifty different facial expressions. Then they transformed my face to make it look animated, creating the character, “Mercy Moreno.”
Despite Sophia’s busy schedule she is also a business woman. She is the owner of a successful Trucking Company in Georgia called Yashar Trucking. She laughs saying, “No, I don’t drive the trucks!” She is involved in a number of different investments and is also owns a Travel Agency. I asked Sophia what she does with the little free time she does have. “Well, I love music, especially reggae of course. I even studied Audio Engineering in school for a while. But no one told me math was involved and I really dislike math and so the rest is history!!! I also love baseball. I enjoy travelling to different games and leagues. I am definitely still on the grind and you will be seeing a lot more of me, but I am also enjoying life with the amazing family that I have been blessed with.
Morena Entertainment, LLC /
The air was hot and thick in Toronto on the night I met the emerging soca singer Adrian Dutchin in 2006. It was about 2 a.m. when a handsome young man, short in stature with a big personality, walked over to introduce himself to me as the reigning soca monarch of Guyana. I was already a fan. “On Me” had long since made it to the heavy rotation list in my car. Curious about the man behind the music, I had googled the artiste to see what I can learn about him. And there he was before me, humbly blending in to the Caribana masses.
I’ve been watching Adrian Dutchin ever since. The 26-year-old singer/songwriter grew up in Georgetown, Guyana. Without a father to show him the ropes, Dutchin found his own path through childhood. He always loved music, but never dreamed that one day it would become his career.
“I might have said yes to acting, but me singing? Nah!” Adrian said laughing. “My mother would scream at me to stop in the shower, but I went into a studio one day to do a TV show I was a part of, and I never turned back since then.”
“The guy that’s my manager today, turned me back like about five times, but was convinced to give me a chance and I’m thankful for it.” He got his break after finally impressing Burchmoore Simone. Two soca monarch titles later and a hit called “Impossible”, Adrian is gaining visibility like no other Guyanese soca artiste. In 2007, Simone hooked him up with veteran Bajan band Krosfyah. Dutchin currently sings frontline vocals alongside Edwin Yearwood and Khiomal Nurse bringing explosive energy to each live performance.
“I’m very blessed to be working with the band. I’m having a blast. I have learned to control my way of being on the stage, but every day is a learning process,” said Adrian. It’s not known how long his working relationship will continue, so for now he’s just going with the flow. He’s enjoying each new experience while staying close to his Guyanese roots.
“I just want to let go some music and have fun man. I have been performing a lot in different countries. I just want to enjoy my festival,“ said Adrian. Guyana’s Mashramani Carnival just wrapped up at the end of February, and Adrian participated fully. He sang “No Place Like Home”, to win himself the Carib Soca Monarch crown, February 16th. The song was recorded and produced in New York by Shawn “Mastamind” Noel. This is Dutchin’s third Soca Monarch victory.
He’s got big plans for 2008. Adrian Dutchin is still half of the group X2 (Times Two) with longtime friend and colleague Jumo Primo. The duo has an album coming out in 2008. “X2 is something in my heart and would never leave because myself and Jumo love doing what we do. We are like brothers. Our relationship is really down to earth,” said Adrian.
Dutchin is enjoying the ride and trusting God for more blessings in the future. To upcoming artistes he says, “respect your craft, treat it with care. Love it. It’s yours. Always put God first. Always.”
For more information on Adrian Dutchin and X2 visit www.myspace.com/adriandutchin2
For as long as I care to recall, I have been flying to Trinidad, the land of Oil and Music, for Carnival each year and for the last thirteen years, I have come back home to host my annual RETURN FETE in Toronto. One of the goals of RETURN FETE is to get the new Soca music to you, the local Toronto Soca lovers. To top that off, this year we presented a live band with two prolific singers performing a full set with two additional guest artistes. Bringing the music to the people, right? Now I don't know about you, but when I hear the songs from this year's Trinidad Carnival, I am transported back to Carnival Tuesday with the blazing sun beating down. I imagine a drink in hand and that I'm surrounded by friends out on de road once again. Soca music can do that - it takes us to another place.
Now this year, I am wondering if other people are noticing what I am noticing? Is it just me or is Toronto lagging in the recognition of the newest Soca selections out there? Allow me let you in on a little something. From where I stand, I can see you. Yes. You. You standing 40 people deep into the crowd. I can see when you sing out and also when you stand with your arms crossed. You to the side of the stage. I can read your lips and I can also tell when you know the dances or when you are just watching the saucy ting beside you and mimicking her moves.
My post-Carnival reflection edition of my Prescription Picks that were overlooked are as follows:
- "Rollin" by Patrice Roberts & Machel Montano...every time these two collaborate on a track, there's a internet buzz that it is supposed to be the next "Band Of The Year", and every time it doesn't live up to the hype (does anyone still play "Light It Up"?)...however, that changed in 2008..."Rollin" is the sleeper hit for the Carnival...if it was only released a few weeks earlier, the whole of Trinidad would have been doing the Rollin dance on Carnival Tuesday.
- "Saddle" by Destra...maybe this one wasn't really overlooked, but it definitely wasn't as big as I find it should be...seeing this song performed live with the dancers made me like it even more...even Destra wine like ah never see she wine before...the best line in the song is, "if yuh cyan do de wuk, yuh betta leave de job site"...ladies, is time to take control!
- "Bumper (Headlights)" by Pelf...some songs grow on you visually, but I personally didn't see this Brooklyn-based entertainer perform this song in Trinidad...however, yuh see when we played this song on Carnival Monday and Tuesday? Geez an ages....just recalling the vision of all dem sexy bumpers shakin' on de road is making me put this big chune by Pelf on de list.
- "Abyss" by Chucky & Choko...okay, so what if I didn't hear this song played once during the Carnival season? This chune has that certain intangibility that stays with you long after it stopped playing...I can still hear the "oooooh gooosh" in my head!
- "Carnival Clap" by KMC...I like this song and I'm not sure if its due to the video or that I don't want my truck keyed (oops, that was a bad joke)...but seriously, there's something about the melody that makes you want to clap along with Ken Marlon Charles.
(all tracks can be heard in the MUSIC section of www.toronto-lime.com)
Naturally there is an adjustment period with new music. Some people hate a song when it first comes out, but certain tunes grow on you - which comes with time. But seeing as a good number of us have gone to sweet sweet T&T and returned to tell the tales (yes, plural) why are we acting like we are unfamiliar? Based on the feedback and requests I receive during my weekly radio show, I know that our city is knowledgeable with the music from this year so what I want to know is this: what does it take for you to feel "familiar" with a hot soca track?
What are your thoughts on the offerings from our islands for the 2008 Soca selections? Do you love it or hate it? And more importantly - do you "free it up" on the dance floor like Destra and Sean Paul when you hear them played at a fete?
Now THAT is... The Question.
Dr Jay De Soca Prince welcomes your feedback on this issue at firstname.lastname@example.org. (His weekly radio show and your injection of sweet Soca music, can be heard each and every Sunday on FLOW 93.5FM from 6 pm to 9 pm.)
Nestled in a quiet strip plaza on Dixie Road in Mississauga, Ontario, the popular eatery, Sydney's Island Restaurant now serves up more than just Caribbean cuisine. With the recent launch of Live on Stage, a new bi-monthly showcase of local entertainers, the west side of the city is becoming a musical escape zone from the regular hustle of Toronto's downtown core.
On January 26th, the first event, "Roots. Rock. Reggae," delivered just that, blending an eclectic mix of musical styles. The talents of Juno-nominated Scottish Canadian roots-reggae artist, Jason Wilson, and soft rock band, In Altum, added a distinct flavour in an environment fully equipped for true stage performers.
Incorporated with the smooth reggae-soul vibe of Montreal-born, Singer, Songwriter, and Musician Tréson, backed by the highly accomplished band, Ibadan, one could easily reminisce back to the days when the old Bamboo on Queen Street West would fill that niche.
Tréson, born Trevor Alman, is a co-creator of the event. He has been generating international buzz since the release of his 2006 singles, 'Jen-Ee-Rocka' (Dubmatix Remix), 'Moments', and 'Dirt, Dust and Sand' all received global airplay. "Coming from the reggae aspect, my template is from Bob (Marley) days--real music dealing with social issues. I write music that can relate to more than one culture, so I want to promote quality music for all cultures.”
Teaming up with Toronto-based Spoken Word Artist Al St. Louis was something that just had to be done, because as Tréson notes, “he’s at the top of his game.” No stranger to producing live shows, St. Louis has been performing across the country at various events over the past eight years. His company, When Words Are Spoken, has provided a platform for himself and other artists to grow and establish themselves through live performances.
St. Louis, whose roots are from Grenada, hosted this event while strategically throwing in a few spoken word pieces throughout the show.
"We feel that there is a lot of great talent in the city. We want to exploit that and give exposure to the various talented individuals to help build Sydney's Island," notes St. Louis. "We're opening the stage to all forms of artistic expression, poetry and musicians."
Over the next year, Live on Stage will promote a different theme for each show with plans to incorporate latin soca, an international artist open mic as well as a continuous blend of various sounds. The shows will be recorded on video to be later edited and distributed for sale.
Tréson emphasizes, “Opportunities are here. Canada is relatively undiscovered. The modern artist has to be committed and independent at the same time."
The next Live on Stage showcase titled, "The Love of Music," takes place on Saturday, March 29 at 9:00pm. Artists performing will include: Noni, Christopher Charles, Toni Anderson, Tréson and Al St. Louis. Comedian Jay Martin will host the show.
Dinner is available and $15 Advance tickets will be on sale the first week of March by calling 416 629 4079 or pay $25 at the door.
For more information you can visit:
http://www.sydneysisland.com/; http://www.myspace.com/tresonmusic and http://www.whenwordsarespoken.com/.
As the first television show with an all-black cast featured on a private national network in Canada, advertising during da Kink in my Hair is a natural fit for ACCHO. Its acclaimed Keep It Alive commercials feature community members promoting HIV/AIDS prevention among Black Canadians and African and Caribbean communities in Canada.
The campaign encourages Black, African and Caribbean adults and youth to know their HIV status by getting tested, practice safer sex, encourage their loved ones to do the same and to remember that people who are living with AIDS and HIV deserve support.
The Keep It Alive campaign shows people how to start a conversation with a loved one about HIV/AIDS. It’s a conversation that could save lives. “We’re also trying to create the kind of environment that supports HIV prevention, and the care, treatment and support for people already infected,” said Winston Husbands, co-chair of ACCHO. “This is part of an effort to ensure healthy communities.”
“The idea behind the TV campaign was to bring a more tangible and personal approach to the key messages of prevention, testing and stigma,” said Howard Chang, founder and president of Top Drawer Creative, the Toronto-based ad agency that worked with ACCHO to develop the campaign. “We hope that people will see in these ads their own stories and challenges, and with that begin their own conversations about HIV and AIDS.”
ACCHO plans to air the popular ads again this spring and is just one of many ways ACCHO keeps busy growing its Keep It Alive campaign. ACCHO is also a repeat supporter of Sun TV’s broadcast of the NAACP awards through broadcast sponsorship and the airing of the Keep it Alive commercials.
To extend its reach beyond the tube, ACCHO Street Teams were developed to give the third phase of the Keep it Alive campaign a more grassroots social marketing focus. The Street Teams work with local AIDS service organizations in Toronto and Ottawa to get the prevention message out to youth in a language they can relate to.
The amateur teams recruit from youth affiliated with local dance or social groups. Participants are trained in HIV/AIDS education, the effects of stigma and the social responsibility African and Caribbean Canadians have in combating HIV/AIDS in their communities.
To effectively reach their individual communities, the teams develop theatrical performances with unique storylines that incorporate their cultural nuances. Through live performances, the teams address the core issues of HIV/AIDS in the community and get the word out about prevention.
If you want to discuss HIV/AIDS with a friend or family member but are unsure how, the new bilingual ACCHO website is a great place to get the tools necessary to approach this sensitive issue. So, do your part to Keep It Alive, visit www.accho.ca and get the message out about HIV/AIDS.
For more information about ACCHO, contact spokespersons Winston Husbands and Wangari Tharao at www.accho.ca.
Trinidad’s Carnival is an experience that cannot be encapsulated into words, trying to describe the phenomena to someone does not even come close to the rapture felt over the two days of costumed revelry in the streets. Someone once asked, albeit, for me to tantalize their imagination of what it is really like to “play mas”, the following is my best attempt at a literary description of the greatest show on earth.
Carnival Tuesday as the sun slowly rises in the east, masqueraders journey into Port of Spain to meet their band as today it is an early departure and no one wants to be left wandering the streets looking for a band that has left without you. It is encouraging to see others in costumes, walking the streets as well and the kinship of this love of Carnival fills you with delight. Upon finding the band, this is the moment when you get the first look of everyone in costume, and you cannot help but admire the beauty of diverse faces and ethnicities united by one purpose, under one banner.
The latest soca blasts from music trucks summoning the assemblage to get moving. Finally the band is mobile, thousands of masqueraders with one mission of getting to the first judging point. Spectators have already begun lining the parade route, taking in the spectacle of colour, feathers and beads glittering under the sunlight. Masqueraders dance in the street as the destination looms ahead; the pace slows when navigating the narrow streets with a platoon of trucks that supply the music, drinks and even a cool down zone!
Senses dulled with an intoxicating beverage of choice, adrenaline coursing through the veins, no one cares that it is blisteringly hot. The stage looms ahead, slowly masqueraders get into individual sections, the full impact of the costumes can be seen as hundreds of costumed revelers swaying to the music are illuminated by the sun as it rises in the sky. This is what you have been waiting for, after months of planning and anticipation, at long last the moment is here.
Security links arms, forming a human barrier to keep eager masqueraders from crossing the stage before it is time. Those blessed to be frontline masqueraders grace the stage first in their elaborate costumes, then as the barrier breaks, hundreds of masqueraders descend upon the stage, charging forward with renewed energy. This one instant is when any worry, stress or misery is cast off on the streets, replaced by a feeling of total liberation, bliss and enjoyment.
The exhilaration of music and others sharing this feeling with you, releases a spirit of uncontrollable desertion loosing the last bit of self-control as bacchanalia takes a hold of you. Too soon the revelry is over; as masqueraders are gently ushered off stage you come back down to earth, spent and breathless. However, you must press on as the day is far from over. The dancing in the streets goes on for hours, seemingly driven by the infectious music, which causes even the weariest masquerader to summon that last bit of energy to move their hips as their feet keep moving.
As the suns sets on Tuesday, the day comes to a close. The crowd thins as exhausted masqueraders bow out, leaving behind the die-hard Carnival worshipers still going long after it gets dark. Soon it is time to say goodbye to another Carnival. Leaving the band exhausted and drained from the heat and exertion of the day. Every muscle in the body aches, yet you smile wondering how many days are left until you can do it all over again!
West Indian carnival is lawless, reckless fun. It is a time to become who and what you are not. The peasant masquerades as king. The married masquerade as single. The very meaning of the word 'carnival' is a celebration of the flesh. So, it's no wonder countless soca artistes have made their name singing about marital infidelity. They call it wild meat, gettin' butt, horning, or help, but Trinidad's Darryl Henry a.k.a. Farmer Nappy calls their bluff with Chippin'.
"It's all about reality. Why sing about you huggin' up a woman, and go down de road with this next man’s woman and that sort of thing, when you could go to the real point. The song is a reality check at de end of de day," said Farmer Nappy. As the father of a 16-year-old girl, he feels strongly about creating songs that show respect to women.
"Some people don't have a bother to feel the pain when a woman would feel pain, but I grew up with only women in the house," said Farmer Nappy. It all comes down to family. That's how he approaches both his music and his life.
"I'm an entertainer and I'm a guy out there. I’ve done my things already. I’ve hurt people’s feelings. You know girls, guilt and all that. But I have a girl child and I wouldn't like people to do me that. So, I pray that the father could help me know the way." The prayers began to pay off in 2007 when Nappy's female manager connected him with her cousin Mikey "Red Dawg" Hulsmeier. He's half of Barbados' stellar production duo De Red Boyz. That's the team responsible for producing Peter Ram's Woman By My Side and the tune that won Biggie Irie, the 2007 Trinidad Groovy Soca Monarch title, Nah Goin Home. After working with Trini songwriter Ginger to get the melody just right, Farmer Nappy flew out to Barbados to record Chippin'.
The song was released in June. It became an instant hit. Nappy later returned to Barbados to perform his inaugural Crop Over release at three pre-booked gigs. He would end up performing at 16 different shows before the season came to an end. Of 400 new songs released for Barbados Crop Over Festival, Chippin' finished with an enviable number six position on the charts.
Nappy may be celebrating newfound success as a solo artiste, but he's certainly not a fresh face in the soca industry. He toured with Machel Montano and Xtatik right from the beginning, playing a key role as percussionist and songwriter. If you have ever taken a wine to Big Truck, Music Farm, Big Phat Fish, or Footsteps, then you're already a Farmer Nappy fan.
"That is home sweet home. That is like the lamp. Take business out of it and as they say, blood is thicker than water. Machel’s mom is a mother to me and Machel’s dad is a father to me. They practically raised me. Machel is like my brother," said Farmer Nappy.
He surrounds himself with those who understand true kinship. That's what led to collaborations on Wildness and Capsize with Oungku of Antigua's Red Hot Flames. "I look up to Oungku. Other than being in Xtatik, the only other band I could see myself being around is Red Hot Flames. Because Burning Flames are brothers and a nephew. At the end of the day, I based on family," said Nappy.
Now that the dust has settled on Trinidad Carnival, Farmer Nappy says, he has set his sights on being billed as "The King of Groovy".
"I'm staying in the slow groove, because the slow groove working for me. I want to stay with the woman theme because it's a message I trying to send across too," said Nappy. "You have to have respect for the ladies because at the end of the day, women made us. We as entertainers are the messengers. That is why we sing."
Farmer Nappy is already hard at work increasing his repertoire. He anticipates releasing 4 tracks for next season, beginning at Crop Over. There may even be a collaboration with his mentor Chris "Tambu" Herbert. In the meantime, fans can hug up their own lovers and look forward to more of what Chippin' has to offer.