Monday, 30 December 2013

HOW DOES HE DO IT: Donald 'Iceman' Anderson on success and breaking all the rules

TRUE COLOURS: "I know I don't look it, and I'm gracious to God for that," says the actor of turning 40.

Many artists are content to stick to a singular lane in the pursuit of creative excellence. Not Donald 'Iceman' Anderson, who over the course of the past couple of years has shown that, among his contemporary peers, he's one of those rare talents who don't shy away from trying on multiple hats for size. And keeping superbusy. 

In addition to recently putting out a comedy album, signing on as an ambassador for mobile company LIME, and even collaborating with Lady Rennae on the groundbreaking animated TV series Mek Wi Laugh, the award-winning actor, recording artist and ace stand-up comedian can be seen this month treading the boards of the Little Little Theatre in the compelling saga My God Don't Wear Pajamas, as the beleaguered Denver Jenkins, a reformed convict doing his best to lead an upstanding and openly Christian life, even as he grapples with a domineering wife (Zandriann Maye) and a scheming stepmother (Hilary Nicholson). 

"It's a very internal character," he says of the part. "I've never played a role as complex as this in my entire career as an actor. It's quite an interesting script." 

Juggling multiple projects simultaneously seems to come naturally to the veteran performer. But Donald, who is signed to the indie label Roxstarz Entertainmment, admits that he's able to do it all thanks to a reliable secret weapon: his excellent working relationship with manager Dwayne Watkins. "We are on the same path as far as our work ethic is concerned," he explains. "We have no problem putting in the level of work that we know it takes to get to the level we want to reach. He pushes me very hard to the point where I get annoyed with him. But it's been nothing but rewards." 

Naturally, they plan to keep on pushing in 2014, a year that will mark a major milestone in the actor's life. "I'm celebrating my 40th birthday in February," he tells me. "I know I don't look it, and I'm gracious to God for that." (He's a Pisces; Feb. 22). 

And when it comes to making one of life's most significant decisions: choosing to share your future with someone, Donald is very clear about the kind of woman he's after. "As a man, sometimes you need somebody who can help you harness and hone your fire," he preaches. "That's the woman a single, eligible Iceman is looking for these days."

(And, by the way, Donald earns extra bucks as the host of Hot Ice, a lively afternoon show on radio's Hot 102 FM.)

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CUT TO THE CHASE: To The Finish is a winning look at pride and glory, ruin and redemption

MAKING TRACKS: Robinson stars as a top athlete who encounters unimaginable hurdles.

To The Finish (DMH Productions)
Director: Dahlia Harris and Suzanne Beadle
Cast: Julene Robinson, Chris McFarlane, Jerry Benzwick, Carl Samuels and Nadean Rawlins
Venue: The Pantry Playhouse, New Kingson

How does a superstar athlete who's made it to the very pinnacle of track-and-field success ever truly make it back after a devastating fall from grace? That's as good a central question as any driving the plot of Dahlia Harris' newest effort, To The Finish, a fast-paced cautionary and coming-of-age tale about family and trust, choices and consequences.

As penned by Harris and co-directed by Suzanne Beadle, the play has all the flourishes of a solid production: believable characters and performances, an involving story and universally resonant circumstances in its unflinching gaze at triumph and failure and the never-ending power of redemption.

Julene Robinson, a terrific talent in full bloom, is ideally cast as rural phenom-turned national champion Veronica Speid, whose record-setting natural athleticism and powerhouse sprinting catapults her to athletics glory. But there are weighty lessons to be digested of how straying from the straight-and-narrow can often bring about scandalous ruin on oneself and on those in your corner. Without giving away too much of the plot, it's all ripped-from-the-headlines current, and there are genuinely moving moments captured with real depth and palpable emotion. The conclusion, however, feels a tad too hasty.

I'm fond of the largely appealing auxiliary cast, the play's strongest asset: Nadean Rawlins and Chris McFarlane expertly convey the feverish worry and excitment of Veronica's country-bred folks; Carl Samuels brings a brutish tough-love style to Coach Reid while Jerry Benzwick is all smooth talk and Yankee cool as the two-faced sports agent Donovan Walker.

Ultimately, as To The Finish (with its rustic-chic set design and decent lighting) wisely observes, when you've hit rock-bottom, the only way to go is up. Tyrone's Verdict: B+

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SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE: Though plot-thin, Smaug boasts powerful score, visual grandeur

GOLDEN AGE: Freeman is back as the titular journeyman in Jackson's latest epic saga.

Taking in an epic blockbuster about honour and a days-long odyssey, it helps that the cinematography and music are up to the task to make the hours tolerable. With the Oscar-winning The Lord of the Rings trilogy, director Peter Jackson showcased a deft touch in this regard. He takes similar and gratifying creative risks with The Hobbit (the latest instalment, The Desolation of Smaug, now showing on the Palace Cinemas circuit), filling the screen with nothing short of visual spectacle, complete with jaw-dropping landscapes and an opulent palette. 

Then there are sharp little turns from his actors, led by the magisterial Sir Ian McKellen as the sage wizard Gandalf. Martin Freeman, meantime, is all pint-sized fervour as the titular ring-bearer Bilbo Baggins, while Richard Armitage reprises his tailor-made role of the heroic kingpin Thorin, who is leading his fellow dwarves on a quest to reclaim their long-lost kingdom, lending the plot its primary focus. 

So, Smaug, which picks up right where the first left off, can be described as a tale about reclaiming what's rightfully yours and how doing so can mean risking unimaginable peril and journeying to the ends of Middle Earth to battle no less than a fire-breathing beast (voiced exquisitely by Benedict Cumberbatch), monstrous orcs and take-no-mess elves, led by Orlando Bloom and Evangeline Lilly. 

Based on the JRR Tolkien masterpiece, the film is a bit thin on the meat (the story, after all, is being spread over three films), but with its allure and majesty and potent original score it casts and enchanting spell that only goes to show that Jackson and his merry gang of creative souls haven't lost their sense of adventure or whimsy nor that requisite magic touch. Tyrone's Verdict: B

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INTO THE WOODS: The Golden Macca Fat, a zesty blend of eco-consciousness and high-energy fervour

DO THE WAVE: Members of the Pantomime Company performing a scene from the musical.

The Golden Macca Fat (LTM National Pantomime)
Director: Pierre LeMaire
Cast: Sharon Edwards, Ray Jarrett, Faith Bucknor and Kevin Halstead
Venue: Little Theatre, Kingston. 

It's a reaffirmation of theatre's enduring tendency to astonish when issues like environmental activism can wind their way into a production like the LTM's National Pantomime. True, the bounty of Mother Nature and refreshing slices of Jamaican life usually figure prominently into the plot, but this go-round one senses a deeper appreciation for the birds and the bees that echoes a commitment to social responsibility through the performing arts. 

The likes of busybody Supe the Traffic Cop (Kevin Halstead) and the Shakespeare-quoting Miss Pengelleng (Faith Bucknor) aside, the most appealing character in The Golden Macca Fat is a determined young eco-warrior named Pointsettia (Juneau Williams), who sees it as her duty to champion the protection of endangered flora and fauna, including Pattoo (Yenique Hines), alongside her community leader mom, the Minister of Everything (an engaging Sharon Edwards), who is bent on safeguarding the community of Macca Fat Mountain from predators of all guises. 

And that most def includes the shady out-of-the-blue invest-ior Charlie Prosperity Hardtime (Ray Jarrett) and his pair of "hadministration hassistants," who have set their sights on acquiring the elusive golden macca fat, a dual symbol of hope and source of pride for the residents. 

The acting performances and the play itself run low on emotional heft, but with some infectiously catchy musical numbers ("We Nuh Beggy-Beggy" a bonafide highlight), lively choreography and a hyper-vivid cross-section among costumes, lighting and a set design of exemplary craftmanship, the show is high-energy family entertainment. 

Above all, The Golden Macca Fat bears testament to the long-standing appeal of veteran playwright Barbara Gloudon's writing (imbued with a zesty mix of Jamaican humour and irrepressible community spirit) and the sure-footed direction of Panto debutante Pierre LeMaire. Tyrone's Verdict: B

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Saturday, 28 December 2013

JOYFUL NOISE: Handel's Messiah, holiday standards elevate KC Choir's savoury concert season

LIFT EVERY VOICE: The estimable choir offered striking renditions of sacreds and Christmas standards.

With a quartet of powerful guest soloists and accompanied by an up-to-the-task eight-piece orchestra (Paulette Bellamy on violin included), the Kingston College Chapel Choir delivered a superb 2013 concert season recently at the UWI Mona Chapel, chiefly marked by a fluent interpretation of Handel's vision for chorus and solos (in The Messiah) that compellingly satisfied my view that the choir is still a titan among choral groups of its kind in Jamaica. 

For the most part, veteran tenor John McFarlane proved that after all these years he's still in solid shape vocally. Rising coloratura soprano Danielle Watson (who regularly performs with Nexus) gave a pretty respectable account of her maturing gifts. Bass Byron Bellamy, who sang with the choir back in the '50s, made what can be chalked up to a memorable post-retirement return. 

But I simply must single out for special kudos the intriguing mezzo-soprano Raehann Bryce-Davis, possessed of awe-inspring vocal dexterity and a passionate delivery technique which made her performance all the more dazzling during her recitational take on such pieces as "But Who May Abide His Coming?" The singer is currently a Florida Grant Opera Young Artist and an Aspen Music Fellowship Artist, and the class and pedigree truly shows. 

Without the faintest doubt, the KC chaps had the Mona audience in their thrall with memorable renditions of, especialy, "And He Shall Purify" and the robust "His Yoke Is Easy." For those who know, Handel's Messiah is one of the most demanding oratorios in the classical canon., and to say the performers did it justice would only be modest commendation. 

As for the remainder of the two-hour-plus concert, the highlights proved quite numerous. Among the standouts: a soulful, profound treatment of "Come Emmanuel Come"; a brisk and lively take on "Masters In This Hall"; and sprightly rendition of "Calypso Carol" -- not to mention the effortlessly undulating strains of "Sleep Judea Fair." Grub Cooper's "Glory Hallelujah" and the Mexican lullaby "El Roro" wonderfully showed off the choir's distinctive blend of trebles, altos, tenors and baritones. But hats off to the tenors, in particular, who gave the concert it's central melismatic jolt.

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Friday, 27 December 2013

11 QUESTIONS: Basil Dawkins on a lifetime of telling stories and invaluable lessons learnt along the way

AWARD WORTHY: With cast members, accepting the Actor Boy for Best Production, for 2009's For Better or Worse.

Back with his latest effort, the ensemble piece My God Don't Wear Pajamas, the ace playwright-producer continues his quest of spinning authentic home-bred tales laced with universally resonant themes. He talks to TALLAWAH about the young man he was and the accomplished titan of Jamaican theatre he has become: 

When did you know that you wanted to write plays? 
I started out acting [with the University Dramatic Arts Society], but when I graduated from UWI I got a job that had me travelling a lot all over the place. And I realized that the only way for me to stay in touch with theatre was to write. Plus, it helps pass the time when you're overseas staying in a hotel. 

What's the most important element in writing a successful Jamaican play? 
A strong story with engaging characters. The less comedic you go, the higher the risk of not being successful. Even if you have elements of seriousness, you have to package it with a healthy serving of comedy. The sweetness will make the medicine go down a little easier. 

What part of the story do you usually find the hardest to write? 
Once I come up with the construct of the story, I just faithfully write it. I don't mechanically go about writing this for comedy or that for drama. Whatever is the honest thing that the character would say, that is what I write. And if at the end of the day it's comedic or dramatic, that's it. 

What do you do when you'e not writing? 
Producing, touring, thinking about what next to write. Generally, I'm either recovering from a play or getting ready to get into another one. 

How have you managed to defy categorization as a writer all these years? 
I tell people all the time, Don't categorize me as someone who is always going to write a drama or a comedy. Mi ah guh tell you a story. That is me. And you're going to find that in the midst of the most terrible things something humorous is happening, and in the midst of the most humorous thing, something tragic is happening. So I don't put myself in a box. 

Who were your icons and mentors growing up? 
From I was about seven, I was reading Easton Lee's scripts. He used to write plays for the Jamaica Social Welfare when my mother was a welfare officer in Westmoreland, and she used to direct them in the community. Also, Barbara McCalla was the person who ushered me into theatre really. When I just started out acting she was already a big talent. 

What inspired the title of your latest play, My God Don't Wear Pajamas
The title is just a cute way of saying God nuh sleep. 

When are you going to publish your first book? 
I had a complete draft of a book I was writing about how to successfully produce a play. But then one of the big hurricanes came and wet up everything. And every day I say to myself that I really should go back and write it as a guide to help others. I was even thinking of taking a year off from theatre to just focus on that instead. 

What do you consider your greatest achievement? 
Surviving in this business against the odds. 

Your kids are now full-grown adults. What's a valuable lesson fatherhood has taught you? 
I didn't meet my father until I was in my 50s, and I had decided that under no condition would I let my children grow up without me. Whatever is the circumstance, I'm going to be in their lives as a positive role model and influence. They must can access me if the need arises. 

What do you hope people remember most about Basil Dawkins' work 20 years from now? 
That it was always extolling the ability to forgive oneself by forgiving other people. And the theme of the underdog triumphing and being the one with the wisdom. I hope that I leave people feeling better and that the play starts a conversation.

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Tuesday, 24 December 2013

HIGH NOTE: Opera starlet Raehann Bryce-Davis talks divas, modern-day Harlem, and her island home

THE VOICE: "These boys are phenomenal. The vowels, the purity of sound. It was just beautiful," says the US-based artist of recently collaborating with the KC Chapel Choir. With colleagues, below.

Raehann Bryce-Davis travels the entire world for work, but her heart remains on the sunny island of her youth, Jamaica. And that's saying something for the lavishly talented mezzo-soprano who was most recently wowing classical music lovers at a recital in Harlem, New York. 

What goes on in Harlem these days I wanted to know? "It's amazing. I just love the whole vibe and culture of the place," the 28-year-old songbird says of the storied neighbourhood that famously inspired the legendary likes of Claude McKay and Lorraine Hansberry. "I do a lot of travelling to places where most of the people don't always look like me. So when I do get to be in a place like that, where I see my people around me, I get excited. And that's exactly how I feel about being here in Jamaica." 

The charming, full-bodied songstress and fast-emerging opera starlet was in her element (glorious pipes all ablaze!) this past Sunday at the UWI Mona Chapel, giving a magical rendition of excerpts from Handel's masterful oratorio The Messiah, alongside the Kingston College Chapel Choir. "It was fantastic," she tells TALLAWAH following the well-attended concert. "These boys are phenomenal. The vowels, the purity of sound. It was just beautiful." 
Born in Mexico to Jamaican parents, Raehann got to hone her craft at the Manhattan School of Music, where she completed a Masters and acquired a professional studies certificate. She admires the divas of the Russian school and can't stop singing the praises of such African-American greats as Jessye Norman (a personal fave), whom she recently bumped into at Carnegie Hall. 

Up next for the busy bee is a portrayal of Albine in Thais. And when she's not singing? "I like zumba, I like yoga, and I enjoy skiing." And paying regular visits to Jamrock one can imagine. "Of course," she enthuses. "Here is home. I come back as often as I can get here."

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Monday, 23 December 2013

IN THE MIX: Cultural news, notes, and what's on the horizon

Tessanne Chin plans to wait.... a minimum of five years before having her first child. The 28-year-old singing sensation and Season 5 winner of The Voice revealed to the hosts of the Today show on NBC recently that she's heeding the advice of pop megastar Celine Dion about starting a family. Chin and Dion dueted beautifully during the talent show's grand finale last Tuesday night. Meantime, Tessanne's 2014 itinerary is already taking full-bodied shape. First up are appearances at next Saturday's star-studded Shaggy & Friends bash at Jamaica House and the Rose Bowl Parade in California. As for that feverishly anticipated debut album for Universal Records, March is being eyed for a tentative release date. "Hopefully we can link up with the right producers and writers," Tess told TV J's Simone Clarke-Cooper

And speaking of new albums, Thespy winner Donald 'Iceman' Anderson, who is headlining this month's Basil Dawkins offering My God Don't Wear Pajamas, has released his debut solo comedy album, a 14-track disc dubbed Breadfruit Tree. "The album is a timely political satire that sets out to make the listener laugh," Anderson says. "[You are] guaranteed to have a much better day after listening to this album." 

A new exhibit, Explorations II, centred on the twin themes of religion and spirituality, has just opened at the National Gallery of Jamaica, and will be on view through March 2014. 

UPDATE: The lineup for next month's Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival is nearing completion, with Grammy winners Chrisette Michele (pictured, at right), Aaron Neville and Toni Braxton among the acts already confirmed to rock the mic on the mainstage. The festival is scheduled to run from January 30 to February 1 at the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium at Greenfield.

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OSCAR SHOCKER: Palm D'Or-winning Blue is the Warmest Colour overlooked for foreign-language-film shortlist

TRIPLE THREAT: Seydoux, with director Abdellatif Kechiche and co-star Adele Exarchopoulous celebrating their big win at Cannes in May.

According to a 2011 poll, old white men account for the majority of voters who select the winners of the annual Academy Awards. So one can't help but wonder: were these old timers turned off by the adult content (a little girl-on-girl action) in Blue Is The Warmest Colour, hence its absence from the list of shortlisted films being considered for January's Oscar nominations? 

The critically heralded Blue, about the manic highs and depressing lows of a young lesbian romance, was the most garlanded -- and daring -- film at this year's Cannes Film Festival, picking up the prestigious Palm D'Or and a performance prize for actress Lea Seydoux. 

Though it was highly fancied to now represent France at the Oscars (and possibly win) alas, that shall not come to pass. Much of the same can be said of The Past, another of the year's best-reviewed outside-the-box films, by A Separation's Asghar Farhadi, which has also been surprisingly snubbed. 

But one of these eight countries will bag the golden statuette come March 2: 
The Broken Circle (Belgium) 
An Episode In The Life of an Irish Picker (Bosnia) 
The Missing Picture (Cambodia) 
The Hunt (Denmark) 
Two Lives (Germany) 
The Grandmaster (Hong Kong) 
The Notebook (Hungary) 
The Great Bounty (Italy)

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PEAK PERFORMER: Working mom Zandriann Maye talks art and life and reuniting with Uncle Basil

JUST THE TWO OF US: Maye, having a moment with daughter Jahzan, a budding actress herself. Below, with co-stars in 2011's Stop Dat Train.

Though she's an actress who relishes nothing more than disappearing into well-drawn characters crafted by playwrights as prolific and provocative as Basil Dawkins and Aston Cooke, Zandriann Maye has no qualms about putting her own real-life story out there, before the viewing public. In fact, Maye (an aspiring playwright) says she feels an enormous sense of responsibility and relief in sharing her personal trials-and-triumphs tale with other young women, particularly those grappling with the myriad challenges attendant to single motherhood. 

Hence the creation of the autobiographical When One Door Closes, which played to fair-sized crowds at the Pantry back in 2011. "I needed to heal. I needed to let other women who found themselves in similar situations recognize that there's a way out," Maye says of the inspiration that gave birth to the piece. "I wanted to show that you can let what was meant to be your downfall be what lifts you up." 

For the past two-plus years she's largely been off the radar but, as she explains, she's been kept extremely busy training and nurturing primary-school talents for national performing-arts competitions. The bright and multi-award-winning tween Jahzan McLaughlin (her daughter) is a fine example of the products emerging from the Maye school. 
Now, at 35, Zandriann (who snagged an Actor Boy in 2009 for Cooke's Jamaica 2 Rahtid sequel) has landed the plum comeback role of sparkplug Molly in Dawkins' silver-medal-winning My God Don't Wear Pajamas, premiering this end-of-month at the Little Little Theatre. "I go through deep emotions in certain scenes," confesses the actress, known for her vivacious stage presence, "and I just like doing it because it's so much fun." 

With castmates including such exquisite stars as Ruth HoShing and Jean-Paul Menou (under the guidance of Douglas Prout), Maye couldn't want for better company. Still, it's getting to reunite with Dawkins, who gave her a star-making role in 2005's Hot Spot, that she seems most enthusiastic about. "Uncle Basil has always been one of those in theatre taking care of me," she tells me. "It's awesome working with him; he just has an amazing cool. You get taken care of, and it makes me feel that I am appreciated."

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HOME ON THE RANGE: The good times roll, farm romance blooms in A Madea Christmas

RELATIVE VALUES: Perry (left), with Najimy and Larry the Cable Guy, getting acquainted.

Madea keeps it country strong, and at the height of the holiday season to boot in A Madea Christmas, a hugely enjoyable and heartwarming family comedy that transports viewers deep into backwoods Alabama, where traditions are sacred but the living isn't always farm-fresh easy. But leave it to the world's rowdiest grandma to throw caution to the wind (never being one to hold her tongue) and bring a little good-humoured mischief into the mix. 

It's arguably the feather-lightest entry in the Tyler Perry canon, but the cast is characteristically heavy on star power and conviction, even when the story takes melodramatic turns. 

Veteran actress Anna Maria Horsford co-stars as Eileen, a strong-willed department store supervisor who coerces Madea into road-tripping with her to Alabama to pay a surprise visit on her daughter Lacey (Tika Sumpter), a nurturing schoolteacher who is playing house with a white farmhand named Connor (Eric Lively). Their relationship is a secret they must shield fiercely from her mom who has never been gung-ho about interracial dating, let alone involving one of her own. 

Sparks fly but so do the laughs when Connor's folks (played by Kathy Najimy and Larry the Cable Guy) show up at the house, with their rapid-fire speech and rib-tickling quirks, setting in motion a chain of events examining everything from race relations to the sacrifices made in the name of family. 

Chace Crawford (One Tree Hill) and Alicia Witt (The Upside of Anger) round out the roster of strong supporting players, as a struggling yet hopeful couple whose gifted young son, one of Lacey's students, exhibits the qualities of an about-to-make-it Justin Bieber, underscoring the point that you just never know what or who will turn up in a Tyler Perry flick. Tyrone's Verdict: B

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Friday, 20 December 2013

FARM TO TABLE: Stush-in-the-bush reinterpreting cottage industry with a spicy take on rustic gourmet

DOWN TO EARTH: The Binns, the dynamic duo behind the culinary label.

"Sexy vegetarianism, that's what my husband calls it," shares Lisa Binns, referring to the bold concept driving their small culinary brand Stush-in-the-Bush, a neat range of cottage industry products spanning the gamut from enchanting spices to savoury delectables and other condiments.

"Basically, we are into rustic gourmet. We have a farm in Free Hill, St. Ann, where we grow organic greens, parsley, you name it. And we prepare them in a tasty, nutritious and unique way to satisfy the taste buds of our customers."

As for the bigger picture, Stush-in-the-Bush ranks among the very first set of homegrown foodies/chefs to showcase their labels and fare at Kingston Kitchen when the event got going about two years ago. The husband-and-wife duo (Christopher, a meek Rastafarian is the hardworking hubby) while just getting their feet wet in the industry, see no limits as to where their passionate take on Jamaican cuisine can take them. 

"All our products are made with love and affection; those are the first two ingredients you see on the bottle," Binns charmingly explains. "And, ideally, we like to give you, our customers, what we ourselves love to eat. We like to spice it up." Where are the products currently available? "We're now available at select outlets in Kingson and in Runaway Bay, or you can get the products directly from us." 

Any expansion plans afoot? "We haven't decided on that as yet; we're sort of establishing ourselves in the market right now. But we're very excited to see what's in store for us."

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GIRL TALK: Aisha Davis riffs on sisterhood, new music, and major plans for 2014

SHORT STORY: "I know next year will be a great year for me," predicts the singer, photographed at the Devonshire last July.

Why fly solo when you can tag your fab girlfriends along for the ride? Just ask Aisha Davis, the seasoned reggae-soul songstress who recently joined forces with fellow indie chanteuses Stephanie Wallace-Maxwell and Niquet Goldson for a prima-diva songfest at St. Andrew's Red bones Blues Cafe recently. Utterly intrigued by the concept, TALLAWAH caught up with Davis at the concert to get the scoop on this girl-power alliance and what the future might hold for the, as well as Davis' own solo career: 

TALLAWAH: It's such a supercool idea that you and the girls opted to come together in this fashion. Have you known each other long? 
Davis: Stephanie and I have known each other musically for a while. I've known Niquet for like a year or two now. We were all at Mario Evon's video launch, and Niquet suggested that we do a show together, and we agreed. But it was a joke kind of thing. But being the consummate planner that she is, the next day Stephanie was on the phone and sending emails. It was on. We were all on board from then. 

You guys performed Nina Simone's "Four Women," one of the most powerful tunes ever written about struggle and survival and the Black-woman experience. 
We love Nina, and the song is about four strong Black women that she sings about so powerfully. And we are three very strong Black women in our own right. So the song was only fitting. 

Otherwise, what's the chemistry been like since you teamed up? Any catfights? 
(Laughs)Working together is awesome. It's amazing that all of us can come together, no cussing, nobody trying to outdo anybody. We're all very supportive of each other. We hang out and we have fun. It's a wonderful vibe. 

So what's next? Anything noteworthy in the pipeline to report? 
I don't want to say too much, but there's something major in the works. Look out for it. 

Solo-wise, I hear you've been polishing up tracks for an album. 
Yes. My album should have been out this year, but it's definitely gonna drop by the first quarter of 2014. Right now I'm promoting the first single "When You Hold Me", and then we move on from there. I know next year will be a great year for me.

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Thursday, 19 December 2013

EDITOR'S PICKS: Great ideas for your reading, listening and viewing pleasure this weekend

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri 
A follow-up to the acclaimed author's Pulitzer-winning debut, The Interpreter of Maladies, this immaculate story collection repeatedly rewards readers, thanks to the remarkable eloquence and sensitivity with which Lahiri writes about transplanted Indians -- their neuroses and life-changing experiences -- that makes for incredible page-turning pleasure. 

Eternal: The Best of Libera 
Pristine choirboy voices combine to thrilling and transporting beauty on this "greatest hits" compilation from one of the finest classics-pop ensembles of the teenage demographic. A repeat-worthy two-disc set, the record delivers a combination of sacreds, standards and covers, with such highlights as Enya's magical "Orinoco Flow" and Christopher Cross' "Sail Away." 

Kingston College Chapel Choir in Concert
Under the baton of master conductor Audley Davidson, the KC Chapel Choir has earned a reputation of tackling master works from the greats of classical music with impressive gusto. This weekend you're invited to discover their vibe anew as they present excerpts from Handel's Messiah, in addition to other beloved Christmas music at the UWI Mona Chapel (and other corporate-area venues) for their 2013 concert season.  

The Town, directed by Ben Affleck
Argo's Best-Picture win at this year's Academy Awards was chiefly testament to Ben Affleck's deftness as a filmmaker -- and an underrated director. (He was infuriatingly snubbed in that category). His expanding body of work includes such earlier masterpieces as Gone Baby Gone (with Morgan Freeman and younger bro Casey Affleck) and the deeply affecting bank-heist drama The Town, in which he burns a hole in the screen alongside Jeremy Renner, Regina Hall, Blake Lively and John Hamm. A gripping and stirringly told tale of small-town chaos and the ties that bind.

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