Posted by: lisaparavisini | July 29, 2014

Chronixx: ‘I’m Not A Perfectionist With Music’


Chronixx onstage on Saturday at LargeUp’s SummerStage event in New York City’s Central Park. Sherwin Dyer published this interview in Nassaw News Live. Follow the link below for the original report.

Summertime bodes well for reggae music. The genre’s biggest crossover moves — from Sean Paul to I Wayne — have been made during the balmier months, when Americans relax enough to stretch the geographical limits of our soundtracks. This year’s case in point: Chronixx, Jamaica’s current it-artist, steadily making strides on international shores. The 21-year-old Rastafarian singer — his sweet, sincere tunes and old-school-yet-not-overly-nostalgic sound are welcome antidotes to an irony-laden culture — released his debut EP, performed on Jimmy Fallon’s show and, this weekend, took the stage before a filled-to-capacity crowd for a free concert at Central Park SummerStage. That venue holds 5,500 people and an estimated 2,000 more stayed outside the gates, listening. It was a LargeUp event with New York’s iconic Rice and Peas sound system DJing throughout. Backstage, Chronixx reasoned with Baz Dreisinger about music-making, Rasta and the state of reggae.

BAZ DREISINGER: What a show! The crowd hit capacity almost right after the gates opened. Even Mick Jagger came out. What does it mean to you to be at SummerStage — one of few current reggae artists to perform at this venue in recent years?

CHRONIXX: Central Park was definitely, officially one of my most exciting shows ever. New York City is home to a lot of Jamaicans and Caribbean people — I think there are more Jamaicans here than in Jamaica. It’s home. So it feels like getting accepted at home.

And performing on Jimmy Fallon — again as one of few reggae artists to ever do so?

It was wonderful, but frightening, because I knew that everyone in Jamaica was watching, and if you mess up, you mess up in front of your whole family. My mother was watching, my grandmother was watching — it was scary. But other than that, it’s just music — it’s living. The stage becomes insignificant, the setting becomes insignificant, and you fall in love with the music and get in that state of relaxation and from there, the interaction and performance come to be.

How did it, literally, come to be — that Fallon performance?

Jimmy Fallon came to Jamaica and was staying at Goldeneye [the boutique hotel owned by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell]. He was on vacation, and he heard my music and liked it. So it was that simple: on vacation in Jamaica, hear some reggae, like the reggae — and here I am.

After the Fallon performance you posted something on your Facebook page about not having to water down one’s Rasta identity in order to achieve crossover success. Explain what you meant.

Rasta is our platform, that’s where we stand. And if you remove that platform, you’re not standing on anything. As a Rasta, as a Jamaican youth, that is my culture, that is who I am. So regardless of the music, the instrumentation, which show I am at — I’m going to be a Jamaican Rasta. When you look at the music charts, there’s reggae there but you don’t see nothing about Rastafari — and that doesn’t matter to me. There are a lot of youths out there who want to hear what I have to say as a Rasta, and I can’t brush those billions of youths under the carpet, just for a mainstream audience.

Is a mainstream audience something you think about? Current reggae has a kind of boom-and-bust history with American audiences: moments of great crossover success, but little lasting presence.

That’s because for us, as Jamaican youth with our morals, we are only willing to go a certain distance to please the mainstream. For me, unless people respect my morals and my culture, I can’t go too far. The industry doesn’t respect our culture; they try to give it a pop image. That’s what the celebrity thing is in America: You’re talented and then they refine it to suit everybody. You can reach to a level but then you’re asked to do and be things that are not acceptable. Dem say America is the land of the free, but except for the Rastaman — the respect is not there. I think that’s it with the mainstream thing: Celebrity life can’t work for a person like me; as Rasta you deal with the earth, you deal with farming, with meditation, health — and a celebrity life doesn’t facilitate any of those.

So how do you plan to navigate that celebrity world, considering?

My plan is just to live and do what I can, until I can’t do it anymore.

Last time Jamaican music was seriously on America’s radar it was dancehall: Sean Paul, Elephant Man, back in the early 2000s. Do you think roots reggae, your music, is more marketable?

Americans are marketing geniuses. They can market fridge to Eskimo people. Dem can market anything. You ever hear some song that’s number one in America and you’re like — this? So they can market dancehall, roots — whatever.

Your album Dread & Terrible is independently released. What made you go that route?

Just how a woman say she want to remain single for a while, you know, and see whaa gwaan? That’s why. You get signed too young and you get signed for less than your potential. It’s actually my EP, but everyone called it an album, which it’s not. It’s a project that captured a vibe I was feeling, not a full album.

You’re identified — along with other young artists like Protoje and Jesse Royal — as part of Jamaica’s “new roots movement,” which blends old-school roots music with a kind of new-age hipster aesthetic. Does this label annoy you?

Not at all. We are a movement, with a lot of youths — a whole heap o we shouting at the same time, very loud and very vibrant.

Your father was a reggae artist named Chronicle, so you practically grew up in the studio. How old were you when you first started making music?

Professionally, 15.

And unprofessionally?

From ever since.

Who are you listening to these days?

Enya. Her vocal abilities, her elasticity, ability to replicate strings and percussions — amazing.

Your song “Smile Jamaica” is the perfect replacement for Bob Marley’s “One Love” in all the tourism ads. Would you be up for having that song used in those ads featuring happy tourists?

That song is for the people and if it will ultimately benefit the people of Jamaica, by all means.

What is your songwriting process like? How do you make music?

It can come from a memory, a color, a feeling. From there, it becomes a word or a phrase or a sound. I meditate a lot with my thoughts. I spend half an hour every day just thinking, and that’s really how I make music. Melodies for me are more like a mechanical thing — you know what kind of melodies will drive certain feelings — that’s the technical part. When you meditate so much, the songs are already there, so you go in the studio it flows.

See, I’m not a perfectionist with music. I like it raw; I don’t like to polish it too much. If so God give it to me I’m not going to use my human brain to replace heavenly things with human things. A lot of things that don’t make sense to our brains make sense to our souls. So the grammar not right — the grammar is not correct. Some of the “ares” could be taken out; some of the “is” could be “are”; you didn’t pronounce the “t” properly — but it’s feelings. When you think, you don’t think in complete sentences. And when you feel, you don’t feel in perfect grammar.

For the original report go to

SUN DOG S&S reissue final front cover

This review by Simon Lee appeared in Trinidad’s Guardian. Here are two excerpts, with a link to the full review below.

Bocas Lit Fest winner 2013 Monique Roffey makes a return to her thinly-disguised native land in her fourth novel, House of Ashes, published on July 27, the anniversary of the 1990 attempted coup.

For Trinidadians this “faction-cum-docudrama” will either sink into the amnesia of collective denial, or be welcomed as an earnest and imaginative attempt to provide the kind of analysis of the island’s legacy of violence and one of its two recent historical flashpoints, which the official inquiry failed to deliver, because as one of the novel’s main protagonists and the sole first person narrator, Minister for the Environment Aspasia Garland observes: “An inquiry would implicate everyone.”

Readers outside the Caribbean will negotiate a psycho-drama/political thriller with a structure suffocatingly locked down in a siege-with-hostages dynamic. But while House of Ashes flags up other established genres from dystopia to historical fiction and a long tradition of Caribbean fiction of political and personal violence (Carpentier’s In the Kingdom of this World, Explosion in a Cathedral, Alexis’ Compère General Soleil, Chauvet’s Amour, Colère, Folie, Danticat’s Farming of Bones, Marquez’s The General in his Labyrinth) it transgresses regional and diasporic boundaries.

Roffey inserts her revisionist text into the post 9/11 discourse on terrorism and extremist fundamentalism and compounds complexity with such other topical tropes as conservation, eco lit, governance, corruption, New Age mysticism, the psychopathology of the postcolonial Caribbean and its manifestations in dysfunctional families, failed parenting and the angry young dispossessed black man.

Roffey combines writing with teaching creative writing and at times House of Ashes reads like a series of intense assignments, which might have benefited from more rigorous editing.

Ashes is undoubtedly ambitious, permeated with more pain and desire to understand a homeland than Césaire’s Notebook, but emotional and historical proximity have their own limitations.

Césaire wrote from Paris, while Roffey wrote in Trinidad, not always successfully fictionalised as “Sans Amen,” (a pun on “land without men,” or even more loosely “a godless nation”?).

The decision to rebrand may have saved her from a fatwah and the umbrage of those who feel they’ve been maligned but did not grant her the control distance bestows.

House of Ashes (which recalls Haitian Emperor Henri Christophe’s motto—Je renais de mes cendres—I’m reborn from my ashes) is probably best read as multi-text, tending towards a meta text, a book of many tropes, some of which sit uncomfortably with others.

It examines postcoloniality; the failures of decolonisation and the legacy of slavery and indentureship; the caudillo or strongman/macho man charismatic leader; issues of power, violence, and governance in small island states afflicted with imposed global neoliberal economics and regional drug trafficking.

. . .

There is much in this long novel, possibly too much for a single text to embrace, to prompt readers to consider universal issues of power, inequality and “the chain of violence…which stretches across the world”. Locally, it focuses our attention on distant and recent history and the problems which have not been addressed since 1990, which have recoiled with the vengeance we all live with, or die by, right now.

For the full review go to


NOT only is this National Parks Week, but today marks the anniversary of the death of an American poet famed for a verse called Trees (see fact 10.) . . . from London’s Express.

1. There are approximately 60 times as many trees in the world as people.

2. Earth’s oldest living organism is believed to be an 80,000-year-old colony of Aspen trees in Utah.

3. The actor/manager Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree was grandfather of the actor Oliver Reed.

4. Aspirin was originally made from the bark of willow trees.

5. A lover of trees is a dendrophile; the worship of trees is dendrolatry.

A lover of trees is a dendrophile; the worship of trees is dendrolatry

  1. According to Guinness World Records, the machineel tree of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico is the world’s most dangerous tree. Its sap can cause blisters or blindness. 

7. Seeds from 500 trees orbited the Moon 34 times on the 1971 Apollo 14 mission.

8. They were planted on their return to Earth but the resulting trees seem perfectly normal.

9. According to the US Forest Service, areas with large trees have lower rates of crime than those with small ones.

10. “I think that I shall never see/A poem lovely as a tree,” (Joyce Kilmer, who died on July 30, 1918).

For the original report go to

Photo from garylj’s photostream at Go to the site for more!


This from kdramastars, and The Times.

Prince Harry, Prince William, and Princess Kate meets the six- time track and field Olympic champion Usain Bolt. And what did they talk about?

Chicken nuggets, of course!

Usain Bolt has been rumoured to be a big fan of chicken nuggets. He is such a big fan that he is said to have eaten more than 1,000 chicken nuggets during the 2008 Beijing Olympics in China.

Bolt did not confirm if he really did, but he said that he has eaten properly for the Commonwealth Games in UK for his 4 x 100 meter relay.

Bolt was quoted saying, “no more chicken nuggets.”

But the cheeky Prince harry said, “A box of nuggets every now and again is good for you.”

“Every now and again, not every week,” William, his brother- in law added.

And then, Harry asked if Bolt hits the gym.

“Do I workout? No – do you workout?”

Then, a cheeky Bolt replied with the same question.

“Obviously! That’s solid!” the Royal Prince said jokingly, pointing at his chest.

The two brother reminisced their first, but noisy encounter with a Jamaican girls netball team, as the sprinter is also Jamaican.

“You could hear them through two sets of windows,” the Duke of Cambridge said laughingly.

Bolt is a 27- year- old Jamaican runner, and mostly considered to be the fastest man in the world, as he still holds the title for the 100 meters and 200 meters sprint.

The four met in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games for this year. Bolt is said to be a participant of the said event.

A quote from Bolt became viral in the internet in the past few weeks. In the statement, he said: “I just imagine all the other runners are big spiders, and then I get super scared.” However funny that seemed, there is no confirmation he really said that. (But, haha, That really is funny!)

And then, perhaps not so funny . . .

According to The Times, the world’s fastest man was waiting for his car in the athletes’ village overnight when he unleashed a thunderbolt, saying the Games are “a bit s**t” and “the Olympics were better”.

For the original reports go to and

Posted by: lisaparavisini | July 29, 2014

Yurumein: Homeland now available for purchase


A message from Andrea Leland, director of Yurumein.



This film will be a great resource for any student of Caribbean history or culture. - Monica Hairston O’Connell, Executive Director, Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College Chicago, Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology

Leland’s new film vividly and sympathetically portrays the resiliency of the culture and the drive of its people to reclaim their cultural heritage, including the nearly defunct Garifuna language – Morris A. Phibbs, Deputy Director, Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College Chicago, M.M. in Music History and Literature

Yurumein is a 50-min documentary that tells a unique story deserving of a place in the annals of the African Diaspora: that of the Carib/Garifuna resistance to slavery in St. Vincent. Yurumein recounts the heroic yet painful past of Vincentian Caribs, which culminated in the extermination of scores of their ancestors at the hands of the British in 1797. Those Caribs who were not killed were exiled to the coast of Central America where, for the last two centuries, the Garifuna culture has been kept vibrant and alive.

The film offers an intimate portrait of the burgeoning movement among Carib/Garifuna communities in St. Vincent to learn from their Central American brethren–for the very first time–the traditional language, music, dance, spirituality, and history of their ancestors. As people who have faced colonial powers, genocide, disenfranchisement and cultural hegemony, the Garifuna men and women featured in Yurumein are a testament to the incredible perseverance and strength of the human spirit.

Click here to purchase

Posted by: ivetteromero | July 29, 2014

U.S. to Help Dominican Republic Fight Major Forest Fire


A horrific fire in the Dominican Republic is barely under control in Valle Nuevo, the National Park where a week old blaze has charred hundreds of hectares of mostly pine forests at 7,000 feet above sea level. U.S. ambassador James Brewster announced Washington’s assistance to fight the blaze. President Danilo Medina visited the area today.


Medina met with the forest fire program manager, who explained the strategy to combat the blaze in the area some 30 kilometers from Constanza.

In a statement, the Environment Ministry reported a light drizzle Tuesday afternoon which lowered the in temperature and slowed the fire’s advance in the area of Valle Nuevo. It said several agencies work together with around 700 firefighters and heavy equipment preparing the logistics to bring the year’s worst forest fire under control.

United States ambassador James W. Brewster on Tuesday said Washington will help the Dominican government with funds and equipment to fight the forest fire that has charred several thousand hectares of the Central Mountains. Brewster said the blaze is of concerns for the U.S., which has already received the Dominican Government’s request for help to fight the blaze at Valle Nuevo National Park, near Constanza.

For more information, see and

Also see articles in Spanish: and


The Jamaica Observer announced a clean sweep for Jamaica in women’s 400m at the XX Commonwealth Games today in Scotland, followed by a gold medal in the women’s triple jump:

Stephanie McPherson (50.67) won first place, followed by Novelene Williams Mills (50.86) with Christine Day (51.09) in third place. This was followed by a win by Kimberly Williams, who earned the gold in the women’s triple jump.

For more information, see and


“Abstracting Nature,” an exhibition by Alberte Bernier and Olga Guerra, will open to the public from August 8 to September 7, 2014, at hob’art co-operative gallery, The Monroe Center for the Arts. The gallery is located at 720 Monroe Street, E208, Hoboken, New Jersey. The artists’ reception will take place on Saturday, August 9, 6:00-8:00pm. There will also be an Artists’ Talk on Sunday, August 17, at 3:30pm.

Description: “Abstracting Nature” puts in perspective a selection of artwork in which each artist illustrates her expressionist interpretation of nature. Although different in scope, their work evokes similar sensitivity and emotion. Alberte Bernier will present artwork created from oil on canvas and mixed media. Cuban-born Olga Guerra will present mixed media pieces of work through photography and scanography, the art of taking pictures with a scanner.

Olga_Guerra_Leaving Cuba

Alberte Bernier works in several mediums, and she incorporates found objects gathered from various landscapes into her work. For Bernier, a Chashama artist, painting represents a desire to convey emotion and fantasy.

Olga Guerra puts emphasis on light, movement, depth of field, colors and layers. For Guerra, who works mostly with found objects, the scanner is an endless source of challenges and delights that allow her to reconcile two and three-dimensional designs.

For more information, you may contact: Alberte Bernier at and Olga Guerra at Also see and

Gallery hours, Thursday – Sunday, 1:00-5:00pm and by appointment at (201) 319-1504. Free parking is available at the rear of the building on Jackson Street and is wheelchair accessible.

Gallery information may be obtained on the website and from the director, France Garrido, (201) 319-1504 or

[Images: Top, Alberte Bernier’s “Exodus”, oil on canvas; second, Olga Guerra’s “Leaving Cuba”, scanography.]


caribBEING, in partnership with the Brooklyn Museum, presents Target First Saturdays featuring the best of Caribbean film, music, and art.  The emphasis of this program is to bridge arts, entertainment and cultural gap by presenting culturally relevant and contextual programming in Central Brooklyn with an emphasis on the Flatbush neighborhood.  

On August 2, 2014, from 6:00 to 10:00pm, caribBEING will present Dalton Narine’s film Mas Man: Peter Minshall, the story of a Trinidad Carnival designer who became an Emmy Award–winning artistic director for three Olympic Games; Hannah Roodman’s Project 2×1, a documentary about the Crown Heights neighborhood, recorded by its West Indian and Hasidic community; and a live music performance by Request Band. These events will take place at the Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Pkwy, New York, New York).

Peter Minshall

Mas Man (The Complete Work) explores Peter Minshall’s leap from designer in the Trinidad Carnival to an artistic director of the Opening Ceremonies for three Olympic Games, based on his knack for “making what is small seem big in open space.” Minshall was instrumental in staging the 1992 Barcelona Games, Atlanta (1996) and Salt Lake City (2002), for which he won an Emmy. Olympic Games producers found Minshall’s genius for orchestrating grand spectacles in the Trinidad Carnival, where his themes usually played on good and evil. His platform has been “the Mas,” which he brings to the streets as theatre, or dancing mobiles, way beyond the horizon of masquerade.

Dalton Narine, producer and director of Mas Man, is an award-winning Florida-based, Trinidadian-born journalist, screenwriter, and documentary filmmaker.’

Project 2×1: Shot in part with Google Glass, Project 2×1 is a short documentary film and grassroots initiative exploring the distinct cultures of the Hasidic and West Indian communities living side by side in the 2 mile x 1 mile area of Crown Heights.

Hannah Roodman: Creative storyteller with expertise in multimedia production, branding, copywriting, and community & partnership development.

For more information on films, see, and

For more information on caribBEING, see

Posted by: ivetteromero | July 29, 2014

World Trade Center Ship Had Made a Caribbean Voyage


There always seems to be a Caribbean connection. . . I can’t help but remember passages from Antonio Benítez Rojo’s The Repeating Island: The Caribbean and the Postmodern Perspective (in honor of which this blog was named) when traces of the Caribbean’s “heteroclitic archive” appear in unexpected places, in this case, the World Trade Center site. The following article focuses on research conducted on the 18th century Hudson River sloop found buried at the World Trade Center grounds, tracing its history and partial trajectory, including proof that it had sojourned in Caribbean waters. Here are excerpts:

In July 2010, amid the gargantuan rebuilding effort at the site of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, construction workers halted the backhoes when they uncovered something unexpected just south of where the Twin Towers once stood. At 22 feet (6.7 meters) below today’s street level, in a pit that would become an underground security and parking complex, excavators found the mangled skeleton of a long-forgotten wooden ship. Archaeologists had been on-site throughout the excavation of the World Trade Center’s Vehicular Security Center. They had found animal bones, ceramic dishes, bottles and dozens of shoes, but the excitement really kicked up when the 32-foot-long (9.75 m) partial hull of the ship emerged from the dirt.

[. . .] Researchers at the lab dried the fragments slowly in a cold room and cut thick slices of the wood to get a clear look at the tree rings. The team established that the trees used to build the ship — some of which had lived to be more than 100 years old — were mostly cut down around 1773. Then, to determine where the wood came from, the researchers had to find a match between the ring pattern in the timbers and a ring pattern in live trees and archaeological samples from a specific region. “What makes the tree-ring patterns in a certain region look very similar, in general, is climate,” said the leader of the new study, Dario Martin-Benito, who is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. Regional ring patterns arise from local rain levels and temperatures, with wetter periods producing thicker rings and drier periods producing smaller rings, he said.

Martin-Benito and his colleagues at Columbia’s Tree Ring Lab narrowed their search to trees in the eastern United States, thanks to the keel of the ship, which contained hickory, a tree found only in eastern North America and eastern Asia. Otherwise, the researchers would have had much more difficulty in limiting their search, as oak is found all over the world.

The ship’s signature pattern most closely matched with the rings found in old living trees and historic wood samples from the Philadelphia area, including a sample taken during an earlier study from Independence Hall, which was built between 1732 and 1756. [. . .]

Historians still aren’t certain whether the ship sank accidently or if it was purposely submerged to become part of a landfill used to bulk up Lower Manhattan’s coastline. Oysters found fixed to the ship’s hull suggest it at least languished in the water for some time before being buried by layers of trash and dirt.

Previous investigations found that the vessel’s timbers had been damaged by burrowing holes of Lyrodus pedicellatus, a type of “shipworm” typically found in high-salinity, warm waters — a sign that the ship, at some point in its life, made a trip to the Caribbean, perhaps on a trading voyage. Martin-Benito speculated that the infestation might have been one of the reasons the ship met its demise just 20 or 30 years after it was built. [. . .]

For full article, see

[Many thanks to Rod Fusco for bringing this item to our attention.]

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