Chris Martin starts doing a bit more acting

November 9, 2013
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LisaandSean-jamaica gleaner


Christopher Martin (‘Sean’) and Karian Sang (‘Lisa’) in a scene from the recently completed film ‘Destiny’. -Contributed

JG – JAMAICA – It seems as if  Chris Martin has been bitten by the acting bug. The singer, who, for the past few years, has been charting hit after hit including Paper LovingMamaReggae Roadblock, and Chill Spot among  others, recently took on a new role: that of lead actor in a film set to be released in the summer of 2014.

Having now done the deed and awaiting the release of the film, Martin has discovered that he loves acting – a lot.

“The name of the movie is Destiny,” Martin said.

“I play the lead role, a character called Sean who is kind of similar to Christopher Martin in that he is trying to embark on his musical career and he meets a young lady by the name of Lisa, played by Kerian Sang, who comes to Jamaica to conduct business on behalf of her father. She meets the singer and feels the vibe. It’s a love kind of thing, love and music, no war and no bag a shooting. By being around my character, she discovers her love for music as well. It’s a nice movie.”

The film was directed by Jeremy Whitakker, who was a production assistant on the 2002 violent Jamaican gangster film Shottas that starred Ky-Mani Marley, Spragga Ben, and Wyclef Jean.

In a recent interview with The Gleaner, Whittaker described the film as “a romantic drama that explores several story lines which integrate a love story, the passionate pursuit of a musical career, and the return home to Jamaica by the lead character, Lisa.”

Other than being Sang’s love interest, Martin is finding that he is also thinking of getting more into acting if given the chance.

“I would love that. I have always wanted to act. In 2004, I got Best Actor for Jamaica in the school’s Festival when I was going to St Jago,” he said.

“So from then, I have always loved acting. I was involved in so many different things. I used to play football, singing in Festival for the school where I got Best Singer in the Caribbean Skills Competition in 2003, I think. Every extra-curricular activity, I liked to dabble in it. But as it relates to acting, I am always willing, from the roles are there and once I have the time.”


The Old School veteran Cutty Ranks on hip-hop remixes

November 9, 2013
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JO – VETERAN dancehall deejay Cutty Ranks has been busy in the studios. He recently collaborated with American rappers 2 Chainz and T Rone of Young Money Cash Money Billionaire camp on separate projects. Ranks is featured on 2 Chainz’s Slums of the Ghetto and T Rone’s Hello Love.

In an interview with the Jamaica Observer last year, Ranks (given name Phillip Thomas) said he was moving away from his hardcore image of the 1980s and 1990s.

“Having been in the music industry for over three decades now, I have analysed it, and realised that some musical renovation needs to be done, and that is my aim, to bring back hardcore dancehall music,” he said.

Born in Clarendon, he started his career at age 11 on sound systems in his home parish. He came to prominence in the late-1980s with gritty songs like Gunman Lyrics for Winston Riley.

A decade later, he made it to the mainstream with The Stopper and Fly the Gate as well as solid combinations with Beres Hammond, Wayne Wonder and Marcia Griffiths for Penthouse Records.

He was one of the top dancehall acts in the 1990s, working with a clutch of independent American labels and appearing in the 1995 movie, Dancehall Queen.

“I also realise that many Jamaican artistes and producers are now stuck in the hip-hop sound and I believe we need to go back to the real authentic, hardcore reggae and dancehall music respectively,” the renowned international artiste added.


Fashion Week – The power behind it

November 3, 2013
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BY NATANGA SMITH – BARBADOS – Rodney Powers is a busy man. Last weekend at Independence Square he pitched a tent and put on an event that showcased three days of couture, street and urban fashions and for the first time ever at Barbados Fashion Week (BBFW), a plus-size and children’s line.

Powers is a powerhouse whose reputation precedes him. When he is not designing costumes for Grand Kadooment, he is organizing and overseeing events from here to the United States, including fashion events at CARIFESTAGuyana Fashion WeekendFashion Has No Bordersin Toronto and Calgary, Canada, and Islands of the World Fashion Week in The Bahamas, among others.

Powers is CEO of Unique Productions Worldwide Ltd (UPWL) and his brand is all about being a leader in innovative fashion, entertainment and lifestyle marketing, programming and production.

The company has interconnected products and services that deliver fresh, modern branding and promotional opportunities for fashion designers, entertainers, and producers of lifestyle products and services.

“This brand has many arms . . . . Right now I’m focusing on the Caribbean Market Centre arm, which works with young people in the fashion industry – not just designers but also the hair and make-up people. Our main focus is to develop young Barbadians to take them to the next level.”

Powers has an incubation programme with four designers – people from skills training and the Polytechnic.

“We are looking to develop them for the international market . .  . .”

In April 2013, as the local production team for Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model, UPWL successfully managed the filming in Barbados of four episodes and the finale for Series 9 of the hit television show.

“I feel really good about that. Local designer Kesia Estwick had some of her designs featured on that show. That is exposure beyond our wildest dreams.”

Speaking of Kesia, she also showed along with Brandi Estwick at Los Angeles Fashion Week earlier this year and they were a success.

While Powers is in BBFW mode now, he recently returned from China and Hong Kong, calling the trip “amazing”.

“We go all the time. And this year I brought Kesia. We go to the manufacturing areas to see how it is done . . . . We look for current fabrics that are actually in season.”

Eight years ago the event was called Absolute Caribbean Fashion and lasted one day but has evolved into BBFW.

“It continues to grow and grow. We provid young designers with an opportunity to show. We cannot show everyone, so we have a selection programme to pick who we use on the shows.

“For BBFW the designers who showed on Friday were showing 2014 fabrics and looks,” he said, citing Barbados as current when it comes to fashion design.

BBFW pieces “have to be ready-to-wear and finished and current – we need to stand against international fashion designers.

Powers is thinking ahead for next year and in the pipeline is Fall 2015 for next February’s fashion show. A trip is being planned for Lagos, Nigeria next year, and Barbados’ own reality fashion show is in the works.

“Next year there will be a reality runway show called Caribbean Next Fashion Brand. It is already a concept. It’s a TV show and we have started to create out of the rehearsals for this BBFW . . . we have already started the teasing for it.

“We are just waiting to confirm the international buyer houses we are inviting and the judges for the event.”

Powers says fashion is a viable billion-dollar event and corporate Barbados needs to invest in it.


Chinese reggae band takes world by storm

October 31, 2013
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Long Shen Dao--ilandvibez sxm

JO – This is the second of an eight-part series on reggae bands from around the world. CHINA was overwhelmed by the amazing performances of Jamaican athletes and culture at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Reggae is slowly catching on in the land of the Great Wall and the Long Shen Dao band is among those leading the charge. The quintet perform a mix of Mandarin, ska, dub, ragga and electronica.

Long Shen Dao’s members are from diverse backgrounds such as Beijing and Inner Mongolia. Band leader and bass player/vocalist Guo Jian, who is from Shandong province, says while reggae is not as popular in China as neighbouring Japan, it has a following in major centres such as Beijing.

“Reggae is a style of music that few people know about here in China, much less so than rock which is also less represented than popular or traditional music,” he explained. “Those who like rock music can also understand or have heard reggae music and can accept it as part of the modern styles of music available. It’s slow to develop but Chinese people seem to like what they’re hearing as reggae becomes more and more popular here,” Guo Jian added.

His colleagues in Long Shen Dao are Niu Mu, MC, rapper and rhythm guitarist; Zang Hong Fei (keyboards);

Gao Xu (guitar) and drummer Gao Fei. Guo Jian says he was first drawn to reggae in 1996 and lists Bob Marley as his biggest influence.

Most of Long Shen Dao’s members were initially in rock bands. They found common ground with reggae.

“We also believe that this world only has one love, a global love — we believe in the whole ‘one love’ concept,” he reasoned. “What’s more, reggae music is a form of music that is like sunshine, helps people communicate with each other, and helps people dance. It brings

people together.”

Since forming in 2007, Long Shen Dao has recorded one album, Tai Chai Reggae, which was released two

years ago.

They hope to complete their second album by December.

— Cecelia Campbell-Livingston


I-Wayne heads Wickie Wackie Live

October 31, 2013

JO - The next staging of the live music showcase Wickie Wackie Live is set for this Saturday, November 2. The organisers note that the November line-up promises to continue the tradition of wholesome entertainment and features reggae chanter I-Wayne.

JO – The next staging of the live music showcase Wickie Wackie Live is set for this Saturday, November 2.

The organisers note that the November line-up promises to continue the tradition of wholesome entertainment and features reggae chanter I-Wayne, Rootz Underground, Sherieta and the Earth Cry Band. The show will open with aspiring artiste Rachaad, whose family tree includes the great musician Count Ossie.

Started as a monthly Sunday beach party, Wickie Wackie Live was launched in 2010 by the Raging Fyah band.

The series ran for 18 months featuring Raging Fyah along with other up and coming talent mixed with more well known names. The Wickie Wackie Live series has provided a live performance platform to a number of today’s young artistes including Jah 9, NoMaddz, Dubtonic Kru, Iba Mahr and Uprising Roots supported by more established artistes like Protoje, Romain Virgo and Duane Stephenson.

After a two-year hiatus, Wickie Wackie Live returned last month headlined by Raging Fyah, Jesse Royal, Skygrass, Pentatuech and Keida.

The community of Wickie Wackie has been a part of the Jamaican entertainment landscape on and off since the 1960s as a popular venue in St Thomas for dances and parties and continues that legacy today as hosts to the monthly live music series just 15 minutes outside of Harbour View.


Tessanne takes Adam’s advice

October 31, 2013

JO - Tessanne Chin credits the advice she receives from Adam Levine, her coach on The Voice, for guiding her through the competition so far.

Tessanne Chin

JO – SONGSTRESS Tessanne Chin credits the advice she receives from Adam Levine, her coach on The Voice, for guiding her through the competition so far.

Her comments come after another win Monday night on the NBC talent show. Speaking to the Jamaica Observer, the powerhouse Jamaican singer stated that the best advice Levine — front man for rock band Maroon 5 — has given her is to remain true to herself.

“He (Levine) just keeps impressing on me how important it is to just stay true to me, think from the heart… he will say to me, ‘I am not feeling you so, you have to put yourself in every song and make people believe it.'”

Chin admits she still gets a little star-struck when working with Levine, but notes that she is impressed by his ear for detail.

“He does not miss a thing. I am hard on myself, and he is just as tough, pushing me to give the best possible performance. I just relish this chance to work with him and listen to what he has to offer.”

Reflecting on Monday’s performance where she was pitted against Ashley Dubose, Chin explained that she was nervous as she did not know what her coach was looking for.

“Ashley and I are two different voices. I really rate her tone and vocal range, but because I did not know what the judges were looking for I had to be fierce, no play-play thing. I was just doing my best to represent Jamaica, while at the same time fit into this wonderful situation that I find myself.”

Should she win The Voice, Chin hopes to record an album with a “pop-rock island vibe” filled with all her musical influences.

“I love the music of Pink and Adele, I am loving Emeli Sandé’s new album and Lana Del Rey… I just want to make good, lasting music that will be around for a long time even when I am not around.”

Meanwhile, the international media continues to monitor Chin’s journey. Entertainment Weekly’s Jennifer Arellano named her the favourite for this season’s

top spot. “We all know Tessanne is the frontrunner in the whole competition. Ashley goes meek with her song choice, in her attempt to show her sillier, lighter side. But it’s going to take more than a quirky side to dethrone Tessanne,” the writer said in her online article.


2013 Sting – Movado returns to Jamaica

October 31, 2013
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JS – According to Supreme Promotions CEO Isaiah Laing, Sting 30 will serve patrons a mixed bag of goodies. “Throughout the years, Sting has become famous for giving the patrons what they want. The patrons want fun, excitement and good-quality entertainment for their hard-earned money, and that’s what they are going to get at Sting this year. Sting 30 will feature one of the most diverse lineups ever assembled for any dancehall/reggae event in the world,” Laing said.

He is confident that he and his partners, Downsound Records, have put together the right mix of reggae and dancehall stars to make the staging of the event a major success.

US rap star 2 Chainz and legendary dancehall star Super Cat were recently announced as the headliners of Sting 30.

International dancehall kingpin Mavado is also among the headlined acts on the line-up. Mavado, whose real name is David Brooks, is one of dancehall music’s most bankable stars.

recording deal

In 2011, he landed a lucrative recording deal with US hip hop label, We The Best Records, which is owned and operated by hip hop mogul DJ Khaled. Since then, he has not been seen a lot on the local stage, but remains a major player on the local dancehall scene.

“Without a doubt Mavado is one of the hottest dancehall acts, and since he signed his recording contract he’s been very busy performing and recording overseas. He’s definitely a fan favourite and the fans have been longing to see him at home. Not only that, but he hasn’t done a major show here in a while, and he really wants to perform for his fans at home. As a matter of fact, he is very excited about performing at Sting 30,” Laing said.

As the old adage goes, variety is the spice of life, and the organisers of Sting are always mindful of that. Sting 30 will also feature a number of veteran dancehall stars that have graced the Sting stage in the past. The 1980s cultural dancehall icons Josey Wales, Brigadier Jerry and National Honours Award recipient Charlie Chaplin, OD, will feature in a special three the hard way performance at Sting this year. “Every true dancehall fan, especially the more matured ones, will tell you that Charlie Chaplin, Brigadier Jerry and Josey Wales are dancehall legends. During the ’80s they were some of the biggest acts in the business. Everywhere you turned you would see posters for events featuring them, you would also hear them on the latest dancehall tapes. We want to give the patrons a chance to relive those glory days by watching these great deejays perform together. I am sure their performance will be one of the high points at Sting 30,” Laing said.

The full line-up for Sting 30 will be announced at a press conference next month. The 30th anniversary celebration will be held under the theme ‘Sting 30, Bring The Sting Jamaica Party 2013’.

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