Lisandre Niçoise has pulled out of the 24th annual Caraïbes Hibiscus Pageant

December 5, 2014
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Caraibes Hibiscus Pageant

Some of the pageant contestants – Photo The Daily Herald

PHILIPSBURG–St. Martin/St. Maarten delegate for the 24th annual Caraïbes Hibiscus Pageant Lisandre Niçoise (21) has pulled out of the pageant at the eleventh hour on the grounds that sufficient preparations are not being made for her.

Niçoise was set to take the stage to represent both sides of the island at the regional event. The St. James, Marigot, resident, who stands tall at 5 feet 7 inches and weighs 120 pounds, said on Thursday that there had been organisational and preparation issues. She said she had pulled out to take a stand for future delegates and to ensure that proper arrangements are made for their participation.

Niçoise said her goal was not to bash or embarrass the Caraïbes Hibiscus Organisation, but just to take a stand. She wished the delegates participating in the pageant much success in the competition and urged the public to go out and support them.

Niçoise said she had met the contestants and “they are all great girls.” A total of nine girls have arrived in the country already for the pageant, which will be held at Sonesta Maho’s Casino Royale on Saturday, December 6.

Already on the island are delegates from Bonaire, Colombia, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Haiti, Martinique, Mexico, Suriname and the United States. Contestants began to arrive on the island on December 1 and have started to visit several places in the run-up to the pageant.

They visited the Council of Ministers on Wednesday.

They visited the Dutch-side police station on Thursday, December 4, as well as Sports Gallery, Ultimate Jewelers and Lucky Cosmetics 2 where they were presented with gifts.

They will visit Park Avenue today, Friday, December 5, where they also will be presented with gifts. They will have lunch at Pineapple Pete, practise their choreography at Beach Plaza Hotel and have dinner at Bridge Café.

They will have a general rehearsal at Casino Royale before the pageant on Saturday, December 6.

In addition to the contestants appearing on stage in the various segments, patrons at the event will be entertained by guest performers Zouk Look, Jeremy Huot and Latin Afro Moove.

The winner will receive a US $5,000 prize, gifts from sponsors and a chance to travel to several destinations in the Caribbean, Europe and Latin America. The first runner-up will win a $1,000 cash prize and gifts, and the second runner-up will win a $500 cash prize and gifts from sponsors.

Masters of Ceremonies for the pageant will be Valerie Daijardin and entertainer and restaurateur Leroy “Beau Beau” Brooks.

Tickets cost $25 or 25 euros in advance and $30 or 30 euros at the door, and are available in St. Maarten at Van Dorp in Madame Estate and Simpson Bay, and in French St. Martin at L’Orangerie Boutique, La Maison de La Presse, Change Express and St. Martin’s Week. An after-party will be held at Tantra Nightclub. – The Daily Herald


Recent Cannabis Deal makes Bunny Wailer Call Out Marley Estate

December 3, 2014
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Bunny Wailer – Photo Urban Islandz

JAMAICA – “The Marley Natural deal must be publicly opposed,” says veteran entertainer Bunny Wailer. In light of the recent deal between the Marley estate and international cannabis company Privateer Holdings, Wailer, who has long been an advocate for the legalisation of marijuana, believes that the venture should not be allowed to gain success.

Following a recent Sunday Gleaner article which highlighted the pros and cons of the deal, Wailer has come out in full opposition of the move by the Marley family. Having been intimately involved with the move to alter the island’s laws surrounding the issue, Wailer says the new deal not only has serious implications for future efforts by the country to capitalise on the economic benefits surrounding the legalisation of marijuana, but also highlights the selfishness of the Marley estate. Giving his view on the widely popular argument that Bob Marley doesn’t deserve to be the face of the world’s first global cannabis brand, Wailer agreed.

Spotlight on Selfishness

“The people are correct,” he said, pointing out that the issue of a global cannabis brand should incorporate The Wailers on a whole.

“The ganja issue can only be dealt with as The Wailers collectively, and what the Marley estate has done since Robert Marley’s death is to wipe away the collective works, catalogue, image and rights of The Wailers from public existence.” He expressed that that kind of set-up has only allowed one member of the Wailers to benefit from the group’s legacy.

“The Marley Natural brand deal has now spotlighted their (the Marley family) selfish behaviour.”

He also agreed with those who expressed that himself and the late Peter Tosh are probably more deserving of the ‘honour’ to be the face of the cannabis brand rather than Marley, based on their involvement with the issue.

“Certainly, the fans would say that Peter Tosh was the international face and myself the local face (of marijuana). Both of us have been brutalised and imprisoned for ganja,” he explained. “I served 14 months in prison and Peter was subject to several brutalising episodes. In terms of advocacy for the change of laws, only myself and Peter have put our money, time and effort here. Since Robert’s death, the estate has not done or supported any such effort.”

Wailer also expressed his dissatisfaction at the slow pace the Government was moving in regards to the decriminalisation of marijuana, saying their failure to capitalise on its use has opened the doors for yet another international company to market a product with which the world associates Jamaica.

“Jamaica is still moving too slow and has been focused on the low hanging fruit,” he said, pointing out that the cultural and competitive advantage that Jamaica has with marijuana must now be used to not only oppose the deal set up by the Seattle-based company, but should also send a message to other international companies.

“Only a Jamaican company incorporating local stakeholders, the Rastafarian community, local ganja farmers, medical scientists and investors should be allowed to market Brand Jamaica Ganja first-hand, every other company outside of Jamaica should follow suit.” – The Gleaner


Kiprich babymother Miss Chin exposed in sex picture

December 3, 2014
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Not actual photo

JAMAICA –  KipRich’s babymother and up-and-coming dancehall artiste Miss Chin has confirmed that a photo recently released on social media with her having sex was taken from her phone without her consent.

According to the artiste, persons have been saying she released the picture deliberately; however, she would never do such thing. The deejay explained that her phone and handbag were stolen recently and that the culprits are responsible for releasing the photo.

“I have learnt my lesson from this experience and I won’t be recording or taking certain pictures on my phone again because this a mash up business. I do music but this does not have anything to do with my career. How could I ever be comfortable with pictures like that on the Internet? Right now I have not even eaten from morning, the way mi shock,” she said.

Miss Chin is offering to pay for the return of the cell phone, fearing other sexual images might be released.

“I will pay for the return of my phone. If you a sell the phone just sell it nuh, why do you feel the need to share my personal belonging with the world … that is so unnecessary,” she said seemingly upset.

Miss Chin found out about the disturbing images when people began to call her business place with complaints. She also revealed her sex partner in the photo was dancehall artiste Ikon D Link, known for his suicidal stunt at Zip FM earlier this year.

When contacted, Ikon D Link told THE STAR that he had nothing to do with the release of the pictures.

“People quick to say Ikon released the pictures because mi climb Zip FM tower, so they see me as that type of person. But mi wouldn’t do that because right now those pictures mash up mi life, all mi babymother and mi inna problem because of them,” he said. – The Star


Bermuda National Gallery hosts – The Art Of Music gallery

November 29, 2014
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BERMUDA – The Bermuda National Gallery will be hosting “The Art Of Music” on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 from 5:00pm to 7:00 pm.

The event flyer said, “Join us for an art and music connection not to be missed. Local celebrities will present original interpretations of artwork. A night for lovers of art, music and original expression.”

There will be performances by Nadanja & Nishanti Bailey, Michael Jones, 1 Undread (Nicola & Malcolm Swan), Princess Black, Tiffany Fox & F.I.R.E, Gita Blakeney-Saltus Rajai Denbrook with Thaao Dill & Anna Clifford, Alan C. Smith, Mike Perinchief, Treasure Tannock.

Tickets are available for $50 for members and $65 for Non-members. Tickets are available from BNG, City Hall; or call 295-9428; director@bng.bm – Bernews


A tribute to Garnet Silk – he earned his name

November 29, 2014
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garnett silk

JAMAICA – The Jamaica Observer continues its 20-part series, 20 Days of Silk, which looks at the life of roots singer Garnet Silk. Next month marks 20 years since his death.

MUSIC producer Cleveland ‘Clevie’ Browne believes the choice of name for any artiste is of utmost importance. Therefore, when he met a deejay called Little Bimbo in the early 1990s, he knew instantly that moniker would not fly.

Browne, who, along with Wycliffe Johnson, comprised the dancehall production duo, Steely and Clevie, recalled his encounter with the skinny, aspiring artiste from Manchester, who later became known as Garnet Silk.

“Tony Rebel kept telling us about this artiste from Mandeville, so we invited him to come to Mixing Lab (studio). I had met him before, since I had done some work at Penthouse studio,” Browne told the Jamaica Observer.

“We didn’t like the name Bimbo. He then tried Garnet Smith (his real name). But after putting his contract together [about 1993], Steely came up with something more edgy … ‘Let’s call him Garnet Silk’,” he continued.

Silk became one of the forerunners in the roots revival that swept Jamaica during the 1990s. Dub poet Yasus Afari, deejay Tony Rebel, singers Everton Blender, Uton Green and deejay Kulcha Knox were all part of the movement.

Browne said, from the outset, Silk displayed the right attitude.

“Singers need to love to sing and Garnet was always singing. It was not about the money. He was humble and devoted,” he said.

Browne said he personally worked with the artiste and taught him a thing or two about writing.

“His songs were too wordy. So we worked on that.”

According to Browne, Silk recorded 12 to 15 songs at the Kingston-based Mixing Lab Studio, some of which were for the singer’s Atlantic project. Love is The Answer, released November 1994, was the first of them.

“He was true to the message. He was genuine and believed what he was saying. He was a true Rastaman,” he said.

Silk and his mother, Etiga Gray, died in a fire at her home in Manchester on December 9, 1994.

Browne remembers getting the call from a friend in Mandeville.

“I was at home in bed when I got the call. A producer, Delroy Collins, said Garnet was dead. I told him don’t run those jokes and he said he was coming from Garnet’s house. I just dropped back in my bed. Something died inside me. It took me weeks to get over it, just like when Steely died,” he said.

Johnson died in New York in 2009 from a blood clot in brain.

Browne believes Silk’s songs are still relevant.

“Good songs are always good songs, despite when they were made. It is not about the voice, but the heart. Love is really the answer. Garnet is someone I’m happy I have met,” he said. – Jamaican Observer


Female Musicians Brought Into to the lime light

November 24, 2014
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famale artist

The I-Threes are Marcia Griffiths (left), Judy Mowatt (centre), and Rita Marley.-File photo The Gleaner

Sadeke Brooks – Men have been at the forefront of Jamaican music for decades, but Chicago-based author Heather Augustyn has placed their female counterparts in the spotlight with her book Songbirds: Pioneering Women in Jamaican Music.

Released last month, Augustyn says the book focuses on women who were involved in the music industry between the 1940s and 1980s. She explained that books have been written about men, but very little attention is given to the females who were very pivotal in the development of the music.

“I realised that there are over 500 books on Bob Marley and none on the women. And without the women, there would probably not be a Bob Marley,” she told The Sunday Gleaner.

But the idea for this publication stemmed from a previous book, Don Drummond: The Genius and Tragedy of the World’s Greatest Trombonist.

“When I was writing the book on Don Drummond, I realised it was just as much about Marguerita as it was about Don Drummond. If she was so important and we didn’t hear about her, it was probably the same of other women. She was critical as without her, there would probably be no reggae as you know it. She was able to bring the Rastafari drummers into the uptown clubs,” Augustyn told The Sunday Gleaner.

Anita ‘Marguerita’ Mahfood, an exotic rhumba dancer and singer, was Don Drummond’s girlfriend, who he was convicted of murdering in January 1965.


After doing a presentation at the International Reggae Conference last year about Marguerita, Patsy Todd (of Derrick and Patsy and Stranger and Patsy) and Sonia Pottinger, Augustyn said the idea for the book was born.

Having already written about these female musicians for her presentation, Augustyn continued her research, which saw her interviewing the likes of Millie Small; Enid Cumberland of Keith and Enid; Janet Enright – the country’s first female guitarist who performed jazz in the 1950s; Marcia Griffiths of the I-Threes; members of the first all-girl ska band – the Carnations (featuring the parents of Tessanne Chin and Tami Chynn); Doreen Shaffer of the Skatalites; Althea and Donna; among others.

In cases where the musicians passed away, she said she spoke with their family members. “I also used The Gleaner archives, which is amazing,” she added.

Unfortunately, she said very little was written about the music in the 1950s and 1960s as it was often seen as ‘downtown music’. Back then, she said the musicians of the time were given little recognition and it was even worse for the women, who she believes were neglected.


“Women, especially, because this was not a woman’s place in these days and even if women did sing, they were told what to sing and when to sing. Some women were even taken advantage of sexually,” she said.

But towards the 1980s, Augustyn said there were improvements.

“The climate was different. There were more women because they saw it could be done. When customs and traditions changed, so did the attitudes towards women in music,” she said.

Songbirds: Pioneering Women in Jamaican Music is Augustyn’s fourth book on that era, which covers jazz, ska, and rocksteady. Previously, she had books like Ska: An Oral History and Ska: The Rhythm of Liberation.

When compared to her previous books, she says this recent release is twice the size because “… there was a lot of women, a lot of things to say”.

As someone who started researching Jamaican music and culture after seeing The Skatalites perform live in Chicago in the mid-90s, Augustyn says she merely wants to preserve the history of the music.

“I want to make sure that 20 or 50 years from now, people can know who Enid Cumberland is or who Janet Enright is. Part of my job is to preserve history. I think that is my number one goal. I hope I can do the history some justice,” Augustyn also told The Sunday Gleaner that she was thankful to Herbie Miller, Institute of Jamaica’s musical director and curator for the Jamaica Music Museum, for his assistance.

However, in terms of profitability, she says her expectations are low as she “lost money” when she shipped a previous book to Jamaica for distribution and sale purposes. Now, persons are encouraged to order copies of the book on Amazon.com for US$22.

“In America, it is not a good seller, but that’s okay because my goal is preservation,” she said.

As part of her preservation efforts, she says she will bring copies of the book to Jamaica to be placed in libraries and universities when she returns for the International Reggae Conference in February. T he Gleaner


Team Strike Riddim to be released this December

November 24, 2014
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FLORlDA-BASED producer Kevin Richards will be releasing his Team Strike Riddim on December 16.

Recorded on his Spit Fiyah Recording label, the set comprises seven tracks. The ‘riddim’ also features emerging dancehall/reggae acts such as Navino, Ryme Minista, I Sane and Black Pearl.

“A lot of thought was given to the making of this riddim. We wanted it to be released in the month of Magnum Sting, so we ensured that it had the components of a dancehall clash melody. Even if a listener is overseas, the Team Strike riddim will leave he/she feeling like they are in the hardcore streets of Jamaica,” Richards told the Jamaica Observer.

Sting is the annual dancehall stage show held at the Jamworld Entertainment Complex in Portmore, St Catherine. Characterised by face-offs by dancehall artistes, it is held on Boxing Day for more than 30 years.

This is the second rhythm for the up-and-coming producer. He released his debut project called Top-Game in June of this year.

Richards is hoping that this venture will give him his musical breakthrough.

“I really hope the listeners will not only listen to tracks, but buy them as well. Getting to the peak of the entertainment scene is a difficult task, as there are hundreds of other producers like myself competing for the top spot. Furthermore it is sometimes harder to do dancehall music when you live outside the country of its birth. However, I do hope that this riddim will give me my breakthrough and make me a household name,” he said.

Richards spent his earlier years in Spanish Town, St Catherine, before migrating to Florida in 2004. – Jamaica Observer


Nicole de Weever behind the scenes at Swizz Beatz party with Alica Keys

September 16, 2014
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nicole de weever swiaa beats

Professional Broadway dancer Nicole de Weever – Left and Alicia Keys – Photo Herald \ Facebook

NEW YORK–Professional Broadway dancer Nicole de Weever, best known for her role as Art Saves Lives (ASL) Founder and St. Maarten Cultural Ambassador, worked with R&B singer-songwriter Alicia Augello-Cook, better known as Alicia Keys and Artistic Director Luam Keflezgy in throwing a surprise “Coming to America” themed birthday party for Keys’ husband, hip-hop artiste Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean in New York on September 12.

De Weever acted as an assistant to Luamky Productions Artistic Director and Choreographer Luam Keflezgy, who also taught hip-hop for ASL in the summer of 2014. De Weever was involved in costume design, as well as casting of the dancers, drummers and choreographer Abdel Salaam, who is the Director of the ‘Forces of Nature Dance Theatre.’

The dance troupe gave an energetic West African performance to live drumming, in costumes complete with body paint and feathered head pieces. They cleared a path on the floor for Keys’ grand entrance as she walked up to Dean, who sat on a red and gold coloured throne.

“It was a dream come true for me, working behind the scenes which is a process I really enjoy, as well as making the impossible possible and providing opportunities for others,” De Weever said.

“Forces of Nature was the first dance company I toured with. I performed a 23-city tour with this company, it was one of my first jobs out of college. Life just works full circle.” She added that it was great to be in a place in her life and career where she could provide an opportunity of a lifetime to people who had once done the same for her.

“I am extremely grateful to Alicia Keys and Luam Keflezgy for trusting in my talent.” This is De Weever’s second time working for both women, but she described it as “a whole other artistic level.” She called it an honour to have worked with them, who she called “inspirational” and “brilliant, both on and off stage.”

The star studded party, covered by major news outlets, was held at the Capitale venue. The African theme was based on the classic 1988 Eddie Murphy film “Coming to America.” It was Dean’s 36th birthday celebration, and Keys is currently around six months pregnant with the couple’s second child. – The Herald


Eddie Griffin expected to Rock St Maarten

June 25, 2014
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eddie-griffin- crazyEAT BAY- At the conclusion of the 8th edition of Laugh Till Belly Burst Comedy Fest, the organizers said that the next one would be better and when one considers that the headliner of this year’s show will be Eddie Griffin, laughter certainly comes to mind.

According to the main man behind the LTBB organization, Glen Brooks, Griffin, an American actor and comedian who appeared in sitcoms like Malcolm and Eddie and the movie Undercover Brother, just to name a few, will be arriving on St. Maarten on Thursday night, the only night he will be performing under the tent.

The first show will take place under the tent at the Princess Port de Plaisance on Thursday June 26th and will continue on June 27 and 28 and tickets are already on sale at the cost of $60 and at the door, it will cost $70.

The LTBB Organization have spared no expenses to satisfy the several hundreds that make it their duty to be in the audience and to maximize their efforts, they have included some of the top standup comedians in the business.

Also included in the lineup will be Miranda from St Lucia, Felicity from England, Eva from Jamaica, Chow Pow from Guyana, The Saint from Trinidad and Tobago, Trixx from Canada and Tommy also from the twin island republic.

This is the type of entertainment that holds no frontiers and most of all no barriers, the entertainers who all have their own ways of injecting huge doses of laughter to the audience come from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. But what they all have in common is the ability to make people laugh until they cry in some cases.

Tickets are currently available at Van Dorp Bookstores, Chippie Café, Artsen Service Center, Suki Supermarket, French Quarter, Tackling gas station, and the Fun Miles office.


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