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An Artsy Editorial by Jared Quinton. Go to the original report for a gallery of photos.

In one of the light-flooded, seaside galleries that make up Miami’s Pérez Art Museum is an exhibition that no one should miss. “Bloodlines,” the first solo museum show of Firelei Báez, assembles several bodies of work that are each so vibrant, potent, and ingeniously self-contained that they entirely hold their own in the Pérez’s cavernous spaces. Together, they present an argument for Báez as one of our most gifted and relevant young artists working today, one whose exquisite works-on-paper are set apart by their devotion to poetry and politics, abstraction and narrative, history and fantasy in equal measure.

Báez is Dominican by birth and resides in New York, a diasporic context that could be easy to overemphasize in trying to make sense of her work, but that nonetheless must be acknowledged given her many explicit references to it. The primary experience of “Bloodlines,” however, is one of overwhelming aesthetic beauty. Báez moves effortlessly between mediums—often within the same works—mixing abstract washes of paint with intricate drawings, an exacting eye for archival materials with an exuberant, impressionistic handling of color and gesture. Patterns abound. Based on flora and fauna, strict geometry and swirling mandalas, these visual rhythms soar in their current installation under the southern Atlantic light. They draw you in close and yet cannot help but evoke the Caribbean islands just over the horizon.

The works’ ornate, colorful designs are not simply there for our visual consumption, delectable as they might be. In many cases, they converge into powerful female figures, saved from complete abstraction by their piercing eyes and distinctive fashions and hairstyles. In other cases the opposite dynamic is at play, and a closer inspection of the patterns reveals symbols and narrative vignettes that reference the experiences of African-American and Afro-Caribbean women—scenes of subjugation and, more frequently, radical self-making in the face of it. It’s at this point that the real politics of Báez’s work surfaces, delivered to your consciousness in opulent, impeccably made packages.

A self-proclaimed interest in the craft and art forms traditionally thought of as “women’s work”—textiles, jewelry, ceramics—permeates the artist’s practice. Báez channels the long history of ornamentation and fashion as acts of resistance among women of the African Diaspora. She embodies this connection quite literally through her intensive artistic labor, uniting their struggles with those of today. That these patterns pervade her work so thoroughly can, moreover, serve as expression of the universal nature of the oppression and survival that black women throughout the Americas have experienced since the days of the Middle Passage. The beauty has critical bite.

In her “Geographic Delay” series, different combinations of African, Caribbean, and American textiles and fashions coalesce into sturdy, self-possessed women that express “the layered histories that make up individuals, and all the alternative possible selves that can emerge out of chance and choice,” as Báez describes. In “Bloodlines,” a new body of work shown for the first time, the figures wear tignons—headwraps that women of color were forced by law to wear in 18th-century Louisiana, but whose oppressiveness they inverted with brilliant self-expression through design.

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The showstopper of the exhibition is Man Without a Country (aka anthropophagist wading in the Artibonite River) (2014), a massive wall installation of over 144 small drawings on archival materials like maps and book pages. They recall Ellen Gallagher in the way they repurpose weighty histories and dominant imageries to critique the very systems of power that created them and to reimagine the future. The work is an immersive, sweeping history made of a mosaic of intricate, specific visual narratives. The symbolism there needs no explanation.

Báez reveals the centrality of art and creative expression in the construction of identity and in the act of resistance. She collapses diasporic experiences and teases out connections into forceful works that demand and reward your attention. Her subject matter could be didactic in the wrong hands, but she sidesteps that risk with her focus on beauty, engagement, and emotion, seducing viewers into a contemplative space in which to confront them with painful histories. She is truly an artist for our time.

Posted by: lisaparavisini | February 9, 2016

Barbados-born woodturner wins Mount Dora Arts Festival

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For woodturner John Mascoll of Safety Harbor, winning the Best of Show award at the Mount Dora Arts Festival was déjà vu, Orlando’s Sentinel reports.

He had won top honors and the $5,000 prize at the festival in 2015. Sunday morning, he learned he’d won it again.

“This caught me off-guard,” he said. “My Caribbean background usually keeps me calm, but I was grinning like a Cheshire cat.”

Coming off a rainy Saturday, when hard-core buyers and collectors were among the few who braved the elements, artists welcomed crowds Sunday that did not let chilly temperatures and windy conditions keep them away.

“They tell me when you get all artistic, the place should not be called a workshop,” he said. “But my garage is my studio.”

The judges, Mark Price, professor at the University of Central Florida, Ann Larsen, director of the Leepa-Ratner Museum of Art and Richard Colvin, executive director of the Lake Eustis Museum of Art, also chose painter Charles Gatewood of Phenix City, Ala., for two-dimensional work, and jeweler Julie Jerman-Melka of Calumet, Mich., in three-dimensional work, for the Judges Choice awards, worth $1,500 each.

Two artists from Lake won Awards of Excellence, worth $500: painter Kate Carney of Eustis for two-dimensional, and sculptor Jim Casey of Clermont for three dimensional.

Other two dimensional Awards of Excellence went to Jeff Eckert of Tampa, Tom Styczynski of Riverview, Bruce Holwerda of Hoover, Ala., Robert Goodlett of Dunellon, Ning Lee of Livingston, N.J., Nicola Barsaleau of La Crosse, Russell Grace of Elkton, Wis., Bruce Reinfeld of Philadelphia, and Cali Hobgood of Urbana, Ill.

Other winners of Awards of Excellence, in the three-dimensional category, were John Whipple and Patrician Karnes, both of Winter Park, Jake Ollinger of Fairhope, Ala., Bill Slade of Jacksonville, Jack Hill of DeLand, Frank Strunk of St. Petersburg, Timothy Lockwood of Fillmore, Utah, Darla Ellickson of Decorah, Iowa and Linda Bobinger of Kingsland, Ga.

Layl McDill of Minneapolis, Minn. won the $250 Wendy Alderman Award for most creative use of the medium.

Posted by: lisaparavisini | February 9, 2016

Body tattoos rebound in Cuba after decades underground

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For decades, those who wanted to ink their body in Cuba did so secretly.

The socialist revolution drove tattoos underground, with parlors getting raided because they were seen as capitalist immortality.

It was a stark contrast from the heydays of the 1950s, when tattoos were for sailors prowling the streets of Havana and tourists lurching from sex shows to gambling den.

But now skin art is on the rebound in Cuba, with hundreds of tattoo parlors operating largely unmolested across the Caribbean island, Fox News Latino reports.

The studio where Mauro Coca works, La Marca, or The Brand, is the most salient example of Cuba’s new acceptance of tattooing. The studio sits on two floors of a refurbished colonial building in the middle of Old Havana, the government-restored heart of the city, giving it the clear if tacit endorsement of the City Historian’s Office, the agency overseeing every aspect of development in Havana’s most important tourist attraction.

La Marca opened a year ago on one of Old Havana’s busiest streets and has done some 600 tattoos for a mix of Cuban and foreign clients. It’s been used as a space for government-sponsored art events and its managers say they’ve never had any trouble with the state despite their lack of a license explicitly permitting tattooing.

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Like so many other activities in Cuba, tattooing is neither illegal nor explicitly permitted and regulated, leaving it operating in the gray area Cubans refer to as “alegal,” meaning simply that something lacks any legal status, positive or negative. And like so many other goods, tattooing supplies can’t be purchased from state businesses, meaning ink, needles and other goods must be imported in travelers’ luggage.

“Tattooing remains in limbo,” said Leo Canosa, La Marca’s owner.

In the middle of last year, state inspectors raided at least a half dozen Havana tattoo parlors, confiscating tattooing machines, needles and inks without providing a clear explanation. Alarmed, other parlor owners closed in order to avoid confiscation.

In contrast to the past, when tattoo artists simply closed down in the face of official pressure, owners of the shuttered parlors called a meeting with government inspectors and pushed for a legal resolution. They were allowed to reopen soon after.

“Tattoo artists, in reality, don’t have any official status, as artists or anything,” said Che Alejandro Pando, a tattooist who has been working in Havana for more than 20 years. “We’ve been fighting for them to accept us as artists in Cuba, but we haven’t found success.”

For much of the past half-century, ordinary Cubans associated tattoos with prisoners, who etched crude images on each other behind bars. That image began to soften by the early 2000s with the arrival of more tourists, some of them tattooed, and tattoo artists’ improved ability to get professional supplies as air travel to the island rose.

Now tattoos of Cuban revolutionary figures, the Cuban flag, gods and goddess of the African-based Cuban religion Santeria, among other designs, can be found on Cubans of all ages and social status.

“Tattoos are a work of art,” said Alain Gomez, a 31-year-old self-employed worker with what he said was his Chinese Zodiac sign tattooed in black on one arm. “It’s not like before, when people looked down on someone with a tattoo.”

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An article by Curtis Caesar John for Shadow and Act/Indiewire.com.

Brooklyn’s Caribbean Film Academy (CaFA), producers of the ongoing Caribbean Film Series that debuted last April at its regular home of BAMcinematek with a sold-out screening of the Trinidadian hit “God Loves the Fighter,” is now releasing a brand new series that will travel around Brooklyn and NYC showing niche Caribbean short and feature films.

The first film debuting in CaFA’s new series will return audiences to Jamaica via two Israeli DJ’s intent on resurrecting a once-popular style of reggae music.  In “Congo Beats the Drum,” Ariel Tagar (Kalbata) and Uri Wertheim (Mixmonster) travel from their basement studio in Tel Aviv, all the way to the Kingston ghettos and countryside, looking for their favorite singers of days gone by to record an album with forgotten Rub-a-Dub style reggae artists . Insisting on not using any computers in the process, while blending in elements of techno, psychedelic funk, African roots music, they encounter an eccentric and often challenging culture while trying to achieve their goal.

Rub-a-Dub style reggae was developed in the late 1970’s through the 1980’s and served as the precursor to Dancehall music, filling the gap of influential Jamaican rhythms after the passing of Bob Marley in 1981.  And according to Beth Lesser, author of “Rub-a-Dub Style: The Roots of Modern Dancehall,” this innovative music style, with its use of pre-programmed beats and “battles” also influenced hip-hop during its time of major growth.

Appearing in the film are past Rub-a-Dub champions such as Jah Thomas, Mutabaruka (who film fans should remember as the character Shango from Haile Gerima’s “Sankofa” – 1993),  Little John, Echo Minott, Major Mackerel, Trinity, Puddy Roots and the sadly, recently departed Prince Jazzbo.

Screening on February 13th at the Made In NY Media Center-IFP in DUMBO, Brooklyn (30 John Street) at 6:30p, this is a must-see for music and reggae enthusiasts.  Tickets should still be available.  Preceding the film is the touching short film “Egress,” directed by and starring Sean M. Field, who hails from Barbados.

For more information, go to CaribbeanFilm.org

Posted by: lisaparavisini | February 9, 2016

Jews of the Caribbean

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A relatively small number of Jews have lived in the Caribbean since the time of the Spanish Expulsion in 1492. As refugees from fascist Europe in the 1930s and ’40s, they formed what has been called a Calypso shtetl. A new study from Columbia University Press, “Calypso Jews,” investigates how contemporary Caribbean authors have been inspired by this presence. Its author, Sarah Phillips Casteel, is associate professor of English at Carleton University, Ottawa. Recently, Casteel spoke with the Forward’s Benjamin Ivry about these cultural interchanges and identifications.

Benjamin Ivry: You discuss Derek Walcott’s book-length poem “Tiepolo’s Hound” (2000) as an example of a Nobel Prize-winning writer with roots in Saint Lucia and Trinidad identifying with a Jewish character, the French painter Camille Pissarro. Yet Walcott writes of Pissarro: “He wasn’t much of a Jew. He did not observe, as he had on the island, the tribal sorrow.” Why this lukewarm portrayal of a personality with whom the poet clearly identifies?

Sarah Phillips Casteel: I think he is more interested in Pissarro’s cultural Jewishness than his religiousness. One of the running themes of Walcott’s work is to make links between the European and Caribbean, so he is more interested in Pissarro as a figure who bridges cultures rather than in religious terms.

The Jamaican-American author Michelle Cliff’s 1993 novel “Free Enterprise” explains that Caribbean synagogues have sand on the floor “because the Jews in Spain had secret gathering places, and they used the sand to muffle the sound of the services.” Why did Caribbean Jews need this reminder of past persecutions?

I understand there is quite a debate about what the sand on the floor of synagogues means. Cliff, in a romantic way, picks up one purpose of the sand, as a need to hide their identities and muffle the sound of the service. Whether this is strictly true or not, she addresses questions of whether cultural survival is possible in situations where it must be suppressed.

Even if well-meant, doesn’t stereotyping have its pitfalls, as when a character in Cliff’s 2010 novel “Into the Interior” mentions the “hook of her [grandmother’s] nose [as] evoking a Carib ancestor, Sephardic fugitive, who is to say?” The Cuban writer Oscar Hijuelos told The Jerusalem Report that he might have Jewish ancestors, since “there’s a whole side of my family that looks very Semitic.” Why would non-Jewish writers claim Jewish ancestry, embracing dubious criteria of appearance as proof?

That’s a good question, and I agree, and sort of worried about that quite a bit while working on this book. In some of the cases, although we think of people as Afro-Caribbean, they do have Jewish ancestry. It’s problematic, referring to physical characteristics. In the Caribbean it is quite common to look at physical characteristics because identities are so mixed.

The novel [“I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem” by Guadeloupean author Maryse Condé, sympathetically describes Benjamin, a Jewish slave owner in a romantic relationship with one of his female slaves. Why does this Jewish slave owner get a free pass for behavior that elsewhere has been faulted in Thomas Jefferson and others?

That again is something that interested me a lot, because it seemed to me different from the way this narrative would have played out in North America. I found a kind of philosemitic way of identifying with Jewish characters, sympathizing even in the case of a Jewish slave owner. I think in the Caribbean that there is a more matter-of-fact acceptance of this than elsewhere.

In 2009, the writer Cynthia McLeod, whose novel “The Cost of Sugar”] is set in Suriname on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America, told the Forward that “every Surinamese has Jewish blood… American Jews don’t want to speak of this, but [Jews] did [have slaves] in Suriname; we can prove that.” Few Caucasians, or indeed people of color, like to admit that their ancestors owned slaves, not even Ben Affleck. Is it naive to be amazed that, centuries ago, some Jewish traders were slave owners?**

I suppose so, but again, I think that North American Jews are quite invested in an understanding of ourselves as having a progressive politics. We should emphasize that Jews played a very minor role in the economic structure of slavery, but it is hard to reconcile that history with a more contemporary sense of Jewish history as a form of victimhood.

You conclude that positive feelings of identification with Jewish people outweigh negative emotions about Jews in Caribbean literature, yet insofar as today just a few dozen Jews remain in Trinidad and Tobago, for example. Is this a case of philosemitism without Jews?

Well, we should say that a number of these writers are now living in the United States and England, and Caribbean literature tends to be written in the diaspora, and these settings themselves tend to have an influence on the writers. This idea of blacks and Jews as separate categories of people doesn’t really hold up in the Caribbean. There are black people with Jewish identities and genealogies and last names.

Caryl Phillips, born in Saint Kitts, has written about his shock as a youngster on learning about the Holocaust, because “if white people could do that to white people, then what the hell would they do to me?” Phillips wrote in 2001 in “A New World Order” about how discovering that his grandfather was a Sephardic Caribbean Jew was another source for his interest in the destruction of European Jewry. Which of these was most important for him?

[Phillips] would say it was the former, not the revelation about his grandfather, that raised his interest in the subject. I argue that it is very much about this adolescent experience in Britain, of being in a situation where slavery is not taught but [Phillips] does have access to information about the Holocaust. There is a generation of writers who share that experience.

These depictions seem to echo real life, where among people of Jamaican origin, Gen. Colin Powell in his memoirs claims some Jewish ancestry and served as a Shabbos goy in an Orthodox synagogue in the Bronx. Bob Marley reportedly had a Syrian Jewish ancestor. Yet Harry Belafonte referred cursorily to his Jewish grandfather in an autobiography, and later made controversial statements about Jews. Are any expressions of Caribbean Judaism in fiction or poetry as negative or ill at ease as Belafonte’s?

Not that I have come across. I have not found any literary examples of that, and again, that is striking. You would expect perhaps for there to be a variation. One of the things I argue is that these [Caribbean] writers belong to a generation who grew up during World War II or afterwards and are influenced by their awareness of the Holocaust, which serves as a substitute for them of a memory of slavery. It’s also an expression of discomfort, written about by Caryl Phillips, with African-American anti-Semitism.

You dedicated “Calypso Jews” to your grandparents Avie and Harry Phillips: “colonial Jews… whose lives were shaped by the struggle against racism in their native South Africa.” What kinds of racism did your grandparents battle?

They were both doctors and were very much against the apartheid regime, and for that reason, they made the difficult decision to leave South Africa. My interest in Postcolonial literature came from this family history of Jews occupying a singular status in society. [My grandparents] were also great readers and kept lots of African literature in the house, which also sparked my interest.

Posted by: lisaparavisini | February 9, 2016

CMCArts to Host Artist-in-Residence Kendal Henry

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With support from the V.I. Council on the Arts, The Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts (CMCArts) has announced its upcoming artist-in-residence Kendal Henry will be on St. Croix for his third visit to engage the community around the issue of revitalization and the power of art to transform culture, The St. Croix Source reports. Henry is one of the world’s leading public art consultants; he currently manages New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art Program.

During CMCArts’ Second Thursday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Feb. 11, he will give a talk on public art and introduce the collaborative project “Invisible Heritage: Identity Memory and Our Towns,” which he is working on with local curator Monica Marin. This project asks artists and writers to approach the topic critically by bringing to light some of the histories that have been made invisible or marginalized.

Artists will draw inspiration from the rich African Diasporic vernacular traditions of the Virgin Islands as seen in the built heritage, music (quelbe, cariso), dance (bamboulah), storytelling and other art forms. This project will culminate in a show at CMCArts on April 20 as part of the Literary Festival.

Henry will meet with local artists, policy makers and Sen. Jackson at 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 12, at CMCArts to offer his expertise on a bill that Sen. Myron D. Jackson has drafted to enact a one percent art fund, locally. That evening from 5:30-7:30 at CMCArts, Clean Sweep of Frederiksted will host a night of living stories where presenters Wayne “Bully” Petersen and Eugene “Doc” Petersen will tell stories in the Anansi tradition, and a panel of elders will share their personal accounts of growing up in Frederiksted.

The following day, from 3-5 p.m. on Saturday Feb. 13, Frandelle Gerard (of CHANT) will lead a walking tour of Frederiksted that highlights the historic “Free Gut” community and the families and business that were located there. Historian George Tyson will also share insight that he has compiled from the St. Croix African Roots Database that documents the stories of the families from St. Croix living during the period of Danish rule (1734-1917). These oral histories as well as archival material will provide the back bone for this community project.

During his week-long residency Henry will meet with University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) and Good Hope Country Day School students to share his latest work from around the world. He will also conduct studio visits with artists La Vaughn Belle, Gerville Larsen, Mike Walsh and others who are creating work as part of the project.

“Art has the power to transform culture – it can change neighborhoods and people,” said Henry. He is a Crucian native, who left the island in 1985 after graduating from John H. Woodson Junior High school. He is an artist and curator specializing in public art for over 25 years.

He illustrates that public art can be used as a tool for social engagement, civic pride and economic development through the projects and programs he has initiated in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Papua New Guinea, Australia and the Caribbean.

Henry believes that the most successful public artworks start with the question, “What is the artwork to achieve?” and takes into account the audience and surrounding environment in the creation of that artwork. Henry is currently the Director of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program and an adjunct professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.

The Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts is located at 10 Strand Street, Frederiksted, St. Croix.

Public Programming
Thursday, Feb. 11, at 5:30-7 p.m. — Kendal presents at CMCArts 2nd Thursday
Friday, Feb. 12, from 10 a.m. to noon — Meeting with Sen. Myron Jackson to discuss Percent for Art Bill
5:30-8 p.m. — “Folktales and Tales from Folks” event with Clean Sweep Frederiksted at the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts
Saturday, Feb 13, from 3-5 p.m. — Walking Tour of Free Gut in Frederiksted with Frandelle Gerard and George Tyson (starting point at CHANT office)
Tuesday, Feb 16, from 9:30-10:45 a.m. — Public Art Talk at UVI Little Theatre (Room 401)
11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. — Lunch at UVI
1:20-2:10 p.m. — Public Art Talk at Good Hope Country Day School
Wednesday, Feb 17 — Studio Visits: Gerville Larsen, La Vaughn Belle, Mike Walsh
Thursday, Feb 18, from 5:30-8 p.m. — Art Thursday in Christiansted

Posted by: lisaparavisini | February 9, 2016

Newcomer celebrates black beauty in exhibit

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Tucked away on the lower level of the New Haven Free Public Library, vibrant artwork depicting black women in joyous scenes will be on view until March 4, Sara Tabin reports for The Yale Daily News.

The images on display — some painted and some produced digitally — are the work of self-taught local artist Alana Ladson. Ladson’s current exhibit “Queens” will be formally introduced to the public during a Feb. 4 opening reception and is both free and open to the public. “Queens” is the first of six exhibitions the library will show over the course of the year. A common thread running throughout the six exhibits is a focus on reflecting the diversity of the New Haven community.

“I remember when I was younger I didn’t really have a lot of books, pictures or art with people that looked like me, it felt like I couldn’t see myself anywhere,” Ladson said. “I want to make sure more people are seen.”

Ladson said she draws her artistic inspirations from her desire to uplift women of color. According to her exhibit’s official description, “Queens” intends to correct the “appropriated, mistreated and misunderstood,” media presentation of the black woman and family unit. Ladson said she hopes to shine a light on the beauty of natural Afro-Caribbean hair textures and skin colors in a relatable and peaceful manner. Above all, Ladson said she wants her pieces to bring happiness to those that look at them while also conveying a sense of power and dignity.

“I want them to promote that peace and calm, but I still want to demonstrate more of a quiet storm type of effect,” she said.

In addition to painting and drawing, Ladson uses affordable technological tools as a medium for reaching her audience. She said she uses “Procreate,” a $5.99 iPad app, to sketch designs with the help of a tablet pen, instead of Adobe Photoshop, a more expensive image-editing software that requires a fast computer speed.

NHFPL Community Engagement and Communications Manager Ashley Sklar said the library has had a gallery for displaying art for years but only decided to launch an official library program this year.

“[The library] is an institution that serves everyone in the community and I wanted the gallery to be reflective of that. I wanted it to be an open and accessible opportunity for everyone,” Sklar said, adding that she hopes everyone will be able to identify with either a piece of art or an artist over the course of the year.

The library issued an open call to artists last fall, giving them roughly six weeks to submit their work and potentially be included in the exhibit. Selection was conducted by a panel of judges made up of community members and library staff. Sklar said the display has already garnered positive reception from library patrons.

David Greco, a member of the NHFPL board of directors and executive director of Arte Inc., a New Haven nonprofit that promotes Latino art, was on the panel that selected Ladson. He said her bright, colorful pieces and status as an emerging artist impressed the panel.

Greco said he hopes members of the public from different backgrounds who come to gallery openings will be able to communicate and break down stereotypes together. He also hopes the library will expand the space it displays art in, as the years progress.

The NHFPL’s Ives Main Library was completed in 1911 and expanded in 1990.

Posted by: lisaparavisini | February 9, 2016

Digicel inks three-year deal with Machel Montano

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Digicel announced on Friday 29 January the signing of Trinidadian producer, songwriter and soca artist, Machel Montano, in a partnership that will include the broadcast and development of content featuring Machel as he represents Digicel as a regional brand ambassador, The Cayman Reporter reports.

For many years Machel has been the star attraction at Trinidad and Tobago’s carnival which has been referred to as one of the greatest shows on earth as it features massive bands, outrageous costumes, pulsating music and non-stop dancing.

This year, Machel will headline various shows including Army Fete and Fantasy Saturdays with the kickoff being his own Machel Monday show featuring Pit Bull, Lil John, Taurus Riley and Omi. Through the partnership with Digicel, The Machel Monday show will be made available on pay per view and accessible at http://live.ceen.tv/MachelMonday.

The three-year partnership means Digicel customers can enjoy multimedia experiences across multiple platforms and devices. And, as the carnival season kicks off, customers will be treated with sneak peeks and early releases of Machel’s new songs and videos – as well as behind the scenes interviews and looks as he takes his music to the people of the Caribbean. Subscribers on Digicel Play will be in for a treat as there will be multiple telecasts of content featuring Machel over the years.

Five-time International Soca Monarch Champion, Machel, is excited at the new partnership saying; “I am delighted to be joining the Digicel family. I have always admired the work Digicel does in entertainment and in the communities and welcome the opportunity to be a part of that.”

Digicel Director of Marketing for the Caribbean and Central America, Peter Lloyd, said, “We are very happy to welcome Machel to the Digicel team. He is a phenomenal artist who has shown his pedigree to the Caribbean and wider world for over 20 years. Our customers are at the heart of everything we do and this partnership is no different – as customers will get exclusive content including live concerts, music videos and exclusive footage which will be available on free-to-air TV, mobile and payTV for our Digicel Play subscribers to enjoy.”

Digicel Group is a total communications and entertainment provider with operations in 32 markets in the Caribbean, Central America and Asia Pacific. After almost 15 years of operation, total investment to date stands at over US$5 billion worldwide.

Digicel is the lead sponsor of Caribbean, Central American and Pacific sports teams, including the Special Olympics teams throughout these regions. Digicel sponsors the West Indies cricket team and is also the presenting partner of the Caribbean Premier League. Digicel also runs a host of community-based initiatives across its markets and has set up Digicel Foundations in Haiti, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea and Trinidad and Tobago which focus on educational, cultural and social development programmes.

Posted by: lisaparavisini | February 9, 2016

Sade Serena releases Daylight

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International artiste and songbird Sade Serena, has officially released her single ‘Daylight’, a track from her upcoming EP slated to be released in March, Jamaica’s Star reports.

Raised in Miami, Florida, with Jamaican roots, Sade Serena’s sound can be described as one of Caribbean and Latin music with a contagious reggae bass line.

Sade Serena exploded on the music scene with hits such as Tonight,Hello Kitty, All Natural,Whatever You Want and a slew of cover remixes which are still enjoying rotations on the airwaves internationally.

The former background singer and dancer for popular American R&B/hip hop group, Pretty Ricky, revealed the story behind Daylight.

“My single Daylight is about being completely infatuated with someone. Its the part of the relationship when everything is new. Everyone’s favourite part! When everything is fun and you are still exploring that person,” she said.

Meanwhile as fans gear up for more exciting projects, the multitalented yet humble recording artiste would like to assure supporters of her music that she will not stray from her roots. “I incorporate my roots in my music. The goal is to create music that is true to what I consist of which is of course, Caribbean, hip hop, R&B and dance.”

Posted by: lisaparavisini | February 9, 2016

Carroll Dawes, Legendary Jamaican Theatre Director Dies

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Carroll Dawes, legendary theatre director, scholar and teacher, who is generally recognised as one of the most influential and innovative theatre directors Jamaica has produced, died early on Monday (on the eve of her 84th birthday) at her home in London, England, after a long illness, Jamaica’s Gleaner reports. Her daughter, Gwyneth Dawes, was by her side.

One of the early directors of studies at the Jamaica School of Drama, Dawes oversaw the building of the School of Drama at its present location, produced its first curriculum, and formed its first student company, the National Festival Theatre of Jamaica.

A highly celebrated director of what are often cited as definitive stagings of some of the world’s greatest plays (from Shakespeare to Ibsen to Brecht) seen in Jamaica, Dawes directed critically acclaimed productions of plays by, among others, Derek Walcott, Dennis Scott, and Wole Soyinka. She left Jamaica in 1977 and relocated to Nigeria, where she taught at several universities, including Ibadan, Ife Ife, and Calabar.

She retired in 1992 and settled in England, where she lived until her passing.

Dawes was born Carroll Cecily Morrison on February 3, 1932, in Hopewell, Hanover, to Cleveland Morrison, an education officer and former vice-president of the Jamaica Union of Teachers (now Jamaica Teachers’ Association), and Vivienne Maud Morrison, a teacher.

EDUCATION

After completing her education at the St Hilda’s Diocesan High School in 1950, she won a scholarship to the newly formed University College of the West Indies. In 1955, she married Jamaican poet and novelist Neville Dawes, and the two had a daughter, Gwyneth, before their divorce in 1957.

Dawes would go on to secure her Master of Fine Arts in Directing and her Doctor of Fine Arts in Theatre History at the Yale School of Drama in 1971, and even before this, had built an enviable reputation as one of the most innovative and gifted theatre artistes in Jamaica from 1950 onwards.

In 1980, she was the recipient of the Institute of Jamaica’s Centenary Medal in Theatre Arts.

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