Saturday, 29 September 2018

MEN OF DISTINCTION: Colleagues hail departed stalwarts Errol Miller and Easton Douglas

THE MEASURE OF A MAN: A renowned veteran of the corporate world has left us with the passing of Errol Miller, the fiercely driven dynamo who was Chairman of the Flow Foundation when he drew his final breath at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) on Monday. Miller had been ailing for some time and was being treated at the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. “This is a significant loss not just for our company and foundation but also for the many organizations that [Mr. Miller] selflessly served,” says Managing Director of Flow Jamaica, Stephen Price. “He was much more than a team member; he was our friend, confidante, advisor and more to many of us. This is a sad day for Jamaica, but we take solace and pride in the incredible legacy that he leaves behind.” Culture and sports minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange says Miler was an estimable Jamaican who had no shortage of admirers. “He was someone I admired very much,” she says, paying tribute, “and someone who contributed a lot in his professional life and as a volunteer.” Miller is survived by widow Joslyn and son Stephen, also a Flow team member.

NATION BUILDER: When Easton Douglas once noted that, “He loves his country who strives to make it best,” he could have been talking about himself. According to fellow People’s National Party (PNP) comrades, Douglas, who was recently laid to rest following an official thanksgiving service at the St. Andrew Parish Church, was a devoted public servant. “He was always of the view that everything must be done to improve the living and working conditions of Jamaicans. He was not only a man of words; he was a man of action. I was proud to call him Comrade,” recalls former PNP Chairman, Robert Pickersgill. Current PNP Chairman, Fitz Jackson, also sings Douglas’ praises. “The Easton Douglas I met and knew was a consummate public servant who saw public service as the highest form in which to express and give the best in us,” Jackson says of the former South-East St. Andrew MP. “He saw Jamaica’s development and achievements as his personal achievements, regardless of who the various individuals are that have played a part in it. He will remain with us and continue to serve as an inspiration to us who knew him.”

Thursday, 27 September 2018

TALLAWAH BOOK CLUB: Vibrant new stories from the islands + Michelle Obama’s Becoming + Life-changing advice from Marguerite Orane

WINNING EVERY DAY: At her seminars and workshops, Marguerite Orane coaches CEOs and their leadership teams. In her books, she gives readers the tools for facing everyday obstacles and emerging victorious. The second and latest from this Harvard-trained specialist-turned-author is Forget It: What’s the Point? Letting Go and Claiming Joy, a collection of 21 stories that takes us on a romp through her life experiences, relating how she herself has struggled with adversities big and small and claimed joy. Story titles include “A Beautiful Dying,” “Happiness Backlash,” “Laughing at the Dirty Dishes” and “The Day Can Wait.” Orane, whose debut offering, Free and Laughing: Spiritual Insights in Everyday Moments, charted similar territory, is the sister of former Grace Kennedy boss Douglas Orane, who also written about triumph against the odds. When she’s not conducting workshops, she blogs about “joyful leadership.” She is the Founder and CEO of Free and Laughing Inc., a business dedicated to changing the way people live and work. 

‘ISLAND’ VOICES: Packing 256 pages, So Many Islands is a buzzworthy new collection of nearly 20 stories – “bold new writing from the distant shores of countries in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Pacific Oceans.” Published by Telegram Books, the collection was edited by Nicholas McLaughlin, with a foreword penned by Man Booker Prize winner Marlon James. Familiar names among the contributors include Melanie Schwapp whose story is titled “Granny Dead,” Emma Lewis (“Tread Lightly”), Jacob Ross (“Roses for Mister Thorne”) and Kendel Hippolyte (“Avocado”). “Giving voice to their challenges,” the publishers note, “these writers create a vibrant portrait of what it’s like to live and love on the small islands they call home.” 

IN HER OWN WORDS: Numerous books have been published about former US First Lady Michelle Obama, but none has been more eagerly anticipated than Becoming, her memoir being published by Crown in November. As she reflects on her journey, Mrs. Obama invites readers into her world, dishing up the experiences (triumphs and disappointments, the White House years, motherhood) that have shaped her. It goes without saying that Becoming is essential reading. “Warm, wise and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance, who has steadily defied expectations, inspiring us to do the same,” the publishers note.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

GAME PLAN: How lamentable deficiencies hamper table tennis, a vibrant national sport

YOU GOT SERVED: Opportunities for J'can players to enhance their skills are lacking.

INSIDE the National Arena on this groovy Sunday evening, the loudest cheers are reserved for the Jamaican players. A sizeable audience is watching the intense competition unfold as the 60th Caribbean Senior Table Tennis Championships take centrestage in city Kingston. Eight playing tables (four on either side) are surrounded by spectator stands, creating a mini ampitheatre setting.

There is Jamaica’s top-ranked star Simon Tomlinson, skinny and athletic, taking on a Bajan opponent at Table 4. A few feet away, a Guyanese contender has his teammates on tenterhooks as his match heats up. We also catch action from highly skilful players representing Martinique and the Dominican Republic. Ten countries in all are competing at this week-long tournament, with a grand finale slated for Saturday. 

It’s not by chance that Jamaica is playing host to the championships at this significant moment in its history. “It’s part of a strategic plan,” says Godfrey Lothian, president of Table Tennis Jamaica since 2013. “We have set ourselves certain targets, and one of them is to position Jamaica as the hub for table tennis in the region. We have the people who can organize these competitions. But one of the major problems that we have is finding the resources. We have the manpower. We just have to find the resources that we need.” 

But Lothian will be the last person to bash the Jamaican government where support is concerned. “The government has been helpful. They assist where they can,” he explains, seated inside his tiny office, also housed at the Arena. But they’ll need more, having set their sights on becoming the regional hub for the sport. “What we would love the government to help us with is setting up a centre of excellence. Our players would be able to use the facilities to train on a regular basis, not just for the two hours or on the weekends. What we envision is table tennis becoming like a profession for players. We want it to become an option as a career path.”

The president adds, “The development of that centre would greatly enhance our ability to compete internationally.” 

And the national representatives need all the practice they can get, Lothian hastens to add, especially the seniors. “I’ve seen some growth in the sport since I became president, especially among the youngsters. We have an 11-year-old on the Jamaican side playing in this senior championships. And last year we came second in the region at the junior level. Where we’re really struggling is at the senior level. After this tournament we have to look seriously at what improvements can be made to the programme.” 

Overall, he’s concerned but optimistic. “I think we are now at a crossroads,” the veteran 62-year-old sports administrator says. “We are doing a lot with some success, but we want our players to do better at the senior level.” 

For Oliver Mair, who has both played table tennis and served on the JTTA executive, greater support is key. “We have a lot of enthusiastic young players who want to do well, and I think we need to put a lot of the focus on those younger ones, give them greater support and even opportunities to go overseas to develop their skills,” Mair tells TALLAWAH, calling by phone. “What I’ve heard is that a lot of the young players in other territories have done stints in countries like China, where they get specialized training. So what can we do to generate more interest in the sport and secure greater support?” 

That’s also part of the strategic plan. “[The association] will be having a retreat by October/November to discuss the way forward. And we want to discuss things like coaching clinics and local school competitions,” says Lothian, who is up for Vice-President at this week’s regional AGM. 

But for now the focus is on putting on a successful, high-energy 2018 championships, the likes of which Jamaica will be hosting frequently for years to come.

>> The 60th C’bean Senior Table Tennis Champs is on at the National Arena from Sep. 23-29.

ACTOR BOY/THESPY WATCH 2018: These Best Supporting Actor hopefuls turned in commendable work

THE ODD COUPLE: Fagan is not backing down in this encounter with Trishana Wright.

Welcome back! This week we turn our attention to some males in supporting roles who could go all the way this season, thanks to terrific stage work in dramas, comedies and musical productions that rank among the year’s best so far. Again, we’re breaking them down into best bets, possibles and long shots. 


Everaldo Creary (BLACK SHEEP): Playing street yute Squeegie, who takes a youngster under his wings, Creary’s performance takes him through a rollercoaster of emotions, culminating with a wrenching flashback scene that’s simply powerful stuff. 

Rolando Fagan (SUGAR DADDY): As ne’er-do-well Jermaine, Fagan gives one of the most buzzworthy breakout male performances of the season (no pun intended), proving that for a newcomer he can hold his own in a strong ensemble cast. 

Chevan Shirley (BELLY WOMAN): The School of Drama actors were on their A-game in the Dorraine Reid-helmed production, with Shirley in particular turning in laudable work as a concerned brother who stands up for family honour above all else. 

Junior Williams (MATURE ATTRACTION): In a stellar remount, Williams was ideally cast as a domineering office manager who abuses his power but knows how to effectively captain his ship. 


John Chambers – Jeezam Peas 
Hanief Lallo – The Parables 
Chris McFarlane – Dat a Gwaan Jamaica Remix 


Aaron Moodie – Belly Woman

Monday, 24 September 2018

ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Agent Sasco’s Hope River brims with positive energy and life lessons

RECORD TIME: The deejay showcases growth and substance on his superb fourth album.

On Agent Sasco’s new disc, Hope River, there is a track called “My Song.” It’s an anthemic mid-tempo tune that lifts the spirit and gives you that ‘I-can-conquer-the-world’ feeling. In short, that’s the overwhelming vibe you get when you press play on the 14-track album. A hypnotic mix of rootsy reggae, rhythmic dancehall and nonstop positive energy, it’s a solid effort from one of the most outstanding voices working in the contemporary dancehall space.

Among today’s top-flight Jamaican entertainers, the Kintyre-bred lyricist makes it clear that he is not one of those deejays chasing the hype, the glitz and the young girls. That’s not where his heart is. Hope River not only showcases a remarkable sense of maturity; it highlights the growth of an artiste who has come a long way since bursting onto the scene with the party hit “Girls Gone Wild.”

Almost two decades later, Hope River (his fourth studio album) is celebrating empowerment, gratitude, positivity and rising above the obstacles in your way. It’s responsible artistry. It’s substance.

He gets introspective and reflective on “Banks of Hope,” reminding us that time is longer than rope; spirituality and old-school mento instrumentation add to the appeal of “Mama Prayed,” a duet with gospel star Glacia Robinson; and he savours life’s endless possibilities on “New Day.”

The number of collaborations feels a little excessive, but who wouldn’t want to have their musical friends join them on this feel-good ride? Wayne Marshall shows up for “Journey”; Stephen Marley hops on for “Grateful”; and Kardinal Offishall supplies some tough rhymes on “Legacy.”

Other highlights: Dre Island’s smooth hook on “So Blessed,” on which Sasco remembers the one-room board house and seizing opportunities; Sevana’s sultry-sweet vocals on “They Will Rob You,” a cautionary tale that’s also about fighting for love; and “Passage of Time,” an excerpt of a 2004 interview with Buju Banton, one of the deejay’s idols. 

In many respects, Buju’s influence on Agent Sasco is undeniable – from the robust tone to the deep introspection and the keen observations that have become hallmarks of his craft. 

Hope River has all these attributes in copious abundance, and easily earns comparisons to records like Damian Marley’s Welcome to Jamrock. So, truth be told, it’s no idle boast when the deejay says he’s winning right now. Tyrone’s Verdict: B+ 

BEST TRACKS: “So Blessed,” “Winning Right Now,” “Mama Prayed” and “My Song”

WHEN LIFE HAPPENS: Patricia Reid-Waugh uses lessons from her journey to empower retirees and people starting over

NEW CHAPTER: Author and resource person, Reid-Waugh lives a full life.

PEOPLE are nervous when they attend Patricia Reid-Waugh’s seminars. Her topic is retirement, how to prepare for it and how you can still live a fulfilling life well into your retirement years. Life doesn’t end because you’re now on the sidelines, away from the shove-and-thrust of the game, she tells her audiences.

In fact, the crux of Reid-Waugh’s message is that an exciting new life can begin with retirement. You have nothing to be nervous about if you sufficiently prepare. “This is not the time to go into the departure lounge and sit down. This is the time for you to start doing new things, exploring new things,” she tells TALLAWAH, as we sit amongst a late-lunch crowd at Café Blue in Liguanea. “Things you might not have had the time to do, now’s a great time to give them a try. Turn your hobbies into income-generating activities.”

In short, Reid-Waugh makes retirement sound like a thrilling adventure awaiting you. So it’s no surprise that the title of her relatively new book is Retirement: A New Adventure (Author House), a sort of expert’s guide giving readers the dos and don’ts and plenty of other sage advice.

Reid-Waugh knows what she’s talking about. A divorcée who blew out 70 candles in July, she is a very accomplished and refined lady who has done everything from teaching Mathematics at Calabar High to working in the financial sector on the tiny island of Nevis. It was while living and working in Nevis that she fell ill. The illness caught her off guard. She retired in 2011. “I was totally unprepared for it,” she recalls. “I had made absolutely no preparations.”

Now, having survived and thrived, she wants to help other Jamaicans steer clear of such pitfalls. In addition to writing and publishing her book, she’s been speaking at retirement seminars put on by such organizations as the National Land Agency, the Electoral Office, the Jamaica Teachers’ Association and CARIMED, for whom she recently did four sessions. “What I want people to know is the importance of preparation. You are going to have to recognize that you are no longer in this job. You have to change your whole mindset,” she explains.

But for Reid-Waugh, the best approach is to always stay positive. Look on the bright side. “This is when you can now be your best self, the person you’ve always wanted to be. There is a lot to do. There is a lot you can do.”

Reid-Waugh herself is a sterling example. In addition to becoming an author, she plays the organ at her church, St. Luke’s Anglican; she’s a choir director and has been serving as a Justice of the Peace for the past four years. That’s not all. “I’m now learning to play the violin. I started in 2013, and I’ve already passed Grades One and Two,” shares the relentless achiever, who also wants to master the steel pan. “I have a full life. That’s what’s important,” she adds. “And that’s why I don’t look 70.”

Surviving and Thriving: More from Miss Patricia

The public response to Retirement: A New Adventure: “The response has been very good. People like the book. When I do seminars, I get comments like ‘You know I never thought of that’ or ‘I never looked at it that way.’ Others now feel encouraged to write memoirs and tell their own stories.”

The Jamaican Government can do more: “In Nevis, there is a senior citizen steel pan group. They go out into the town square and they give concerts. And it’s a government-sponsored initiative. I think our government needs to do more for our senior citizens and retirees by way of programmes like these. And the associations that have been set up to help senior citizens and retirees need to be more accessible and effective. Older people need things to keep them active. And a lot of them need help with things like financial planning.”

Always aim to live your best life: “You have to keep it moving. And that’s what keeps your spirit alive, and you really get to enjoy the fullness of life. Live, don’t just exist. That’s the message.”

Saturday, 22 September 2018

@THEDISH: David Tulloch on the Sugar Daddy factor + Dalton Harris brings his A-game to the X Factor + Is Damion Crawford the future of the PNP?

>> ‘I’m Ready’: Damion Crawford on being a major asset in the PNP
Could Dr. Peter Phillips and Damion Crawford become a new Obama and Biden? The newly elected PNP Vice-President thinks so. “I believe that within the party I am the greatest complement to Peter Phillips, and the PNP has always ran with a complement. When they claimed Portia wasn’t smart, Phillips was her complement. And now they are claiming that Phillips is an old person. I think I am that complement,” Crawford told reporters at the PNP’s 80th conference inside the National Arena on Sunday. Crawford (now in his late 30s) is also firm in his belief that he is an asset to the People’s National Party as he now looks to solidify his place in the top brass. “I think I have national connections that are sure to support me. The younger voters are sure to support me. The assumption that I didn’t have a constituency is flawed,” he says. “Every individual has to look at themselves and ask what more can I do? How can I be more effective and efficient? I believe that I have been one of those who have been gaining attention for the party.” Of the four VPs (Crawford, McNeill, Phillips the younger and Paulwell) installed on Sunday, Crawford received the most votes (1,973) from the delegates.
>> From the Heart: Teary-eyed Dalton Harris receives standing ovation on UK's X Factor
“It was a little intimidating, but I just had to keep all of that inside and just concentrate on giving the best performance,” says Jamaican singing sensation Dalton Harris, who is earning raves for his knockout rendition of “Sorry Seem to Be the Hardest Word” on the UK’s X Factor before a live audience of 6,500 persons. They responded with a standing ovation. After drying his tears, Harris received four ‘yeses’ from the judging panel (including Simon Cowell!), progressing to the next round of the competition. According to Harris, he was overcome with emotions, hence the tears. “I was just overwhelmed,” he told the Jamaica Observer. “It was more like a sense of triumph after all my hard work.” So what is his game plan for the next round and beyond? “I am just going out there to do my best,” says the 24-year-old who tapes in London. “I have no expectations. I’m just gonna do my best.” We wish him all the very best!
>> Some Like it Hot: Why audiences have fallen for Sugar Daddy
Undoubtedly, Sugar Daddy is David Tulloch’s most commercially successful play in recent years, drawing large crowds to the Phoenix Theatre on weekends. “People just can’t get enough, and I am pleased that I’ve achieved what I set out to achieve,” he tells TALLAWAH on a rare break from the production. Like Fifty Shades of Grey, he insists, the play’s erotic charge is not the only draw. “We don’t have a problem pushing the envelope. People know that. But I think the patrons love the strong storyline. It has sex and nudity, but there’s meaning and purpose behind it. I wanted to tell a real, real story. We wanted something tasteful, and this is valid, tasteful entertainment.” But Tulloch readily concedes that you can’t please everybody when it comes to presenting sex on the Jamaican stage in one guise or another. “People who want to see it raw can go to the [strip] clubs for that, but those who don’t need it so bare can come and see a show like Sugar Daddy. It’s enough to excite you,” the 37-year-old playwright-producer explains. “This is not disrespecting anyone; this is not demeaning anyone. And I will always believe there’s a need for this kind of entertainment.”

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

NEWS FEED: Jampro reopens NYC office + Edward Seaga to give UTech public lecture + Work to begin on Asafa and VCB statues

>> Having already completed statues Olympians Usain Bolt (unveiled last December) and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (to be unveiled October 14), sculptor Basil Watson and Culture/Sport Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange have signed an agreement for Watson to commence work on statues of Asafa Powell and Veronica Campbell-Brown. The statues fall under the Jamaica 55 Legacy Programme. “The maquettes will be ready later this year,” says Grange, “so we can have a special unveiling for the media, and then early next year those statues will be mounted and unveiled in Statue Park.” 

>> This week, as part of a revamped marketing strategy targeting the Tri-State area for investments and exports, Jampro is reopening an office in New York City. An official ribbon-cutting and reception ceremony will take place at the office, now located inside the Jamaican Consulate. The office will join Jampro’s Toronto location to jointly form the promotions agency’s North American Regional Offices (NARO). “This is a crucial move to capitalize on the business possibilities that exist in the US,” says Jampro’s president, Diane Edwards. “With this new focused office, we will now be more targeted in our promotions strategies and attract more investment dollars to the country.” 

>> The Most Hon. Edward Seaga will present the next UTech Distinguished Public Lecture, scheduled for next Thursday, September 27, at the school’s Lecture Theatre 50, commencing at 5pm. The former Jamaican prime minister and current UTech Chancellor will speak on the topic “The Origins and Development of Jamaican Music.” The lecture series, coinciding with UTech’s 60th anniversary celebrations, has already hosted such presenters as Judge Patrick Robinson and Governor General Sir Patrick Allen.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

TALLAWAH BOOK CLUB: How to conquer your fears + How the C’bean shaped the US + How to love Jamaicans

OUR KIND OF PEOPLE: We love the title, but according to the critics and fans of the book, it’s deceptively simple. Alexia Arthurs’ debut collection of short stories, How to Love a Jamaican, dives deep into the fictionalized lives of Jamaican immigrants and their families back home. Published by Ballantine Books and packing some 256 pages, her 11 stories tackle myriad themes, chiefly loyalty and betrayal, tenderness and cruelty, while offering readers an unforgettable “portrait of a nation and people and their way of life.” In “Shirley from a Small Place,” for instance, a world-famous pop star retreats to her mother’s new house in a rural part of the island. Other very telling story titles include “Mash Up Love,” “The Ghost of Jia Yi,” “Bad Behaviour” and “Light-Skinned Girls and Kelly Rowlands.” The glowing reviews speak volumes of Arthurs’ storytelling prowess. “With its singular mix of psychological and sun-kissed lyricism, this dazzling debut marks the emergence of a knock-out new voice,” proclaims O Magazine, while Marie Claire raves, “Arthurs’ debut is vivid and exciting, and every story rings beautifully true.” 


>> In addition to PNPYO president, youth activist and expectant mom, Krystal Tomlinson has added first-time author to her impressive résumé, recently launching the motivational offering, Kill Fear: The Art of Courageous Living. “The book looks at the root causes of fear,” she explains, “the science behind how the fear works, identifying the fear you have and tools to beat that fear in a corner.”

>> Historians will thank Debbie Jacob for Making Waves: How the West Indies Shaped the United States. Published by Ian Randle Press, the book gives an account, via 30 stories, of some famous and lesser-known Caribbean sons and daughters who significantly helped shape American society from the 1700s to the present. You’ll encounter “exciting and vivacious” tales centred on Alexander Hamilton, Sidney Poitier and Marcus Garvey, but you’ll also be enlightened about how a West Indian woman started the witch hysteria in Salem and the crucial yet unsung role Barbados played in the American Revolutionary War.

Monday, 17 September 2018

ON THE RECORD: Ce’Cile dishes on new projects, the music biz and enjoying motherhood

HOT MAMA: "I find that there's more I'm now enjoying about life," shares the superbusy artiste.

AMONG the many things Ce’Cile Charlton has mastered since making her music-industry debut over two decades ago is the art of working the spotlight. She makes it seem effortless. Motherhood has been a bit more challenging. But, as she tells TALLAWAH, she’s getting the hang of it. With September now in full swing, the entertainer’s six-year-old daughter, Christiyana, is back in school, as her mommy sets her sights on new business ventures and keeping pace with the hot young starlets doing their thing. Fresh from a jaunt in Europe, the ‘forever 25-year-old’ chats with TALLAWAH.

TALLAWAH: For some parents, the annual back-to-school period can be such a hassle. How have you been finding it this time around?
Ce’Cile: It’s not a hassle for me because we had the whole summer to prepare, so I’m handling it pretty well. She’s six now, so I’ve gotten the hang of it. I was away for part of the summer, doing a few weeks in Europe, but we had our Face Time. Now I’m back home, and she’s back in school. 

TALLAWAH: Speaking of Europe, it’s nice to hear that you’re still advancing your career after so many years in the unpredictable music biz. But we were led to believe that you had retired.
Ce’Cile: I am not retired, and I don’t plan to retire any time soon (Laughs). We’re always doing music, always touring. Always working. But when you’ve been in the business for a while, sometimes it’s best to take a break to focus on other priorities in your life. And the competition is hotter right now. We see a lot of strong females coming to the fore like Shenseea and Spice, but you just have to find your niche and do your thing.

TALLAWAH: That’s so true. You just saw Sugar Daddy, the hottest show in town. What’s your honest opinion on the production?
Ce’Cile: I had heard so much about the play. I came for the sex, but I got the message (Laughs). I heard it was raunchy, but it’s dealing with real-life situations. When you go to see shows overseas like on Broadway, they push the envelope, so why not here in Jamaica? I think it’s a great play with life lessons.

TALLAWAH: You’re noticeably trim and slim these days. How do you keep your body looking so fashionably on-point?
Ce’Cile: I don’t know. When I stay home and don’t travel, I tend to eat more, but when I’m away I try to eat better. For most of August I was in Europe, and I was eating a lot healthier. Not much sugar, and I think that helps. And I find that there’s more I’m now enjoying about life. I was in a car accident in May of last year, and I had issues with my ribs, and even though I’m not 100% where I want to be right now, I try to stay happy. I live for my friends and my child.

TALLAWAH: Do I hear a single woman speaking?
Ce’Cile: (Laughs). I’m not married, but I do got a man.

TALLAWAH: Are you the marrying kind?
Ce’Cile: I don’t know if I ever will [get married]. I’ve never been asked, and I’ve never asked. Yes, you can do that now (Laughs). But my auntie Winsome told me that sometimes marriage spoils things. And I personally don’t like having a man too much in my space. I love having him in my life, but not in my space.

TALLAWAH: Interesting. You always have some exciting new projects in the works. What’s next? 
Ce’Cile: I’m looking forward to doing different types of things. I’m working with people outside of Jamaica on some stuff. I like to experiment, and I hope to do more of that here in Jamaica. And take my songwriting to the next level. How things are now you don’t have to limit yourself geographically. I’m also working on a children’s book with my friend Cassandra, as well as some other business ventures. I had my hair line, and I hope to bring that back. And just continue keeping up with my daughter.

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Talented tenor Hanief Lallo finds his place in the world of musical theatre

STRONG SUIT: “I just really like being on stage performing,” shares the 28-year-old.

ONE of Hanief Lallo’s favourite singers is jazz vocalist Michael Bublé. “He’s so sincere in how he comes across in his music. He has a spirit and an energy that makes listening to jazz a wonderful experience,” Lallo says of the Grammy winner, who is also a great live performer. Similar qualities could be cited to describe Lallo himself, who knows how to thrill an audience, whether he’s performing with the University Singers or Father HoLung & Friends.

In this season’s The Parables, Lallo portrays the mean and ruthless King Pharaoh, commanding the stage with authority, while showing off an impressive vocal range, his robust tenor put to terrific use. You immediately understand why he’s always wanted to perform in operas. 

“When I was at Our Lady of the Angels Prep, I had a group of friends who just loved performing, and one day we were discussing what we wanted to be in the future, and I just said I wanted to be an opera singer. That was always my dream,” the 28-year-old tells TALLAWAH one recent evening at the Little Theatre, after catching a performance by the Jamaican Folk Singers.

Lallo is now a trained software developer, armed with a Computer Science degree from the University of the West Indies. But he’s been getting plenty of opera-lite experiences with HoLung and the Mona-based Singers. He was a fan of the University Singers long before becoming a member. “I used to always attend their season and listen to their CDs, so I knew that when I got to UWI I would audition,” says the Ardenne High alum.

He’s been with the Singers since 2012, the same year he joined Father HoLung & Friends, going on to appear in such mega-musicals as Moses, The Messiah and last year’s smash hit Queen Esther, playing the pivotal role of Haman. 
These days, given his day job and performances that can pop up at any time, sometimes his schedule gets hectic, but “I think I manage very well.” To wit, The Parables is set for a remount at the Courtleigh Auditorium in mid-October and the University Singers are reprising their 2018 season the following week at the Philip Sherlock Centre. 

Lallo has also worked with such standout troupes as Tribe Sankofa and Nexus. All these diverse experiences, he admits, have changed his life, enhancing his self-discipline and deepening his passion for the performing arts. “I’m grateful. I’ve been able to meet the right persons to help me along the way, and I still have a long way to go,” he notes. “Everything has happened for me as it was supposed to happen.” 

But is becoming an opera singer still on the cards? “I’ve thought about it, and I hope it’s something I’ll be able to pursue. If I did Broadway I’d be happy, too,” he says. “I just really like being on stage performing.”

Saturday, 15 September 2018

NEWS FEED: Theatre’s Oliver Mair to be appointed Consul-General to Miami + Major Hugh Blake now heads up Supreme Ventures Racing + Joseph M. Matalon set for PSOJ Hall of Fame honours

LIVING LEGEND: Corporate-world stalwart Joseph M. Matalon is set to become the 26th inductee into the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) Hall of Fame. Past inductees include Earl Jarrett and Don Wehby. “It’s obviously very flattering that the PSOJ would seek to induct me. I am humbled and, at the same time, very grateful and happy,” says Matalon, who has served as founding Chairman of the St. Patrick’s Foundation and is a former Chair of the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) and current Chair of the ICD Group Holdings. The PSOJ is certain they picked the perfect candidate to honour this year. “[His] contribution to nation-building is not just limited to economic transformation,” notes CEO, Jennifer McDonald. “He has also impacted the lives of thousands of young Jamaicans through community engagement and charitable work.” 

>> Effective September 10, Major Hugh Blake is the new CEO at Supreme Venture Racing and Entertainment. Blake succeeds Brando Hayden, who occupied the post for a short period before departing the company. A commissioned officer of the Jamaican army, Blake also has a background in business that has seen him working with such notable entities as Jamaica Cane Products Sales and the Lascelles deMercado conglomerate. Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment is used by parent company Supreme Ventures Limited to oversee its horseracing business, Caymanas Park. 

>> Buoyed by his passion for Brand Jamaica, coupled with his wide experience in marketing, sales and the arts, as well as agro-processing real-estate and tourism, Oliver Mair has been tapped to take over as Jamaica’s consul-general to Miami this month. A former sales and marketing manager at Jamaica Broilers, Mair replaces Franz Hall, now the Director of Protocol in the foreign affairs ministry. Mair, an award-winning theatre practitioner, has also worked with the Jamaica Table Tennis Association and Air Jamaica.

@THE DISH: Krystal Tomlinson claps back at the critics + J’ca Tallawahs planning something different for 2019 + Idris Elba gearing up for Yardie sequel

>> Stand by your man: Krystal defends Beenie; talks future marriage 
Krystal Tomlinson is losing no sleep with the gossip mill in overdrive about her becoming Beenie Man’s newest babymomma. “What they’re saying is that too many children are on this Earth with him as their father, and that is a very unfair characterization of his role as a father to his children,” she says, breaking her silence in a lengthy Observer interview. “None of his children suffer any form of discrimination, have been prejudiced in any way because he is not in a relationship with their mothers. And it’s very unfair to speak of people’s children as if one or more don’t have a right to be here, and I think that’s my biggest concern.” But, at the same time, inquiring minds want to know – Will Beenie and Krystal tie the knot? “It’s a serious discussion that requires a financial and legal shift,” she responds. “None of us consider it a prerequisite for child-rearing, but it’s a plan. We’ve just chosen a different order, an order that many Jamaicans practise.” Tomlinson just launched her first book, Kill Fear, a motivational tome about rising above your deepest fears. 
>> Cheer up, guys: Why did the Jamaica Tallawahs lose?
On Wednesday night, a two-wicket defeat to the St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots saw the Jamaica Tallawahs exiting the 2018 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) cricket championships in Georgetown, Guyana. Cue the sad music. Skipper André Russell believes their defeat was due to a poor all-around performance. “We didn’t stand out the way we’re supposed to in the bowling; a lot of bad deliveries. We have to refocus and do something different next year,” Russell told reporters. Obviously, we are disappointed.” The Tallawahs made headlines throughout the season, most memorably when the team’s management switched their home-matches venue from Kingston’s Sabina Park to Lauderhill, Florida, sending them on a losing streak and earning the ire of devoted fans. Here’s hoping next year brings way better results.
>> More to come: Idris Elba planning a Yardie 2
Honorary Jamaican Idris Elba enjoyed working on Yardie so much that he plans to do a sequel! Film Commissioner Renée Robinson told the Financial Gleaner this week that Elba, who made his directorial debut with the gritty Jamaican tale of drugs, guns and domestic drama, already has a part two in pre-development, with filming to take place in Jamaica and England once all is in place. With a stellar cast, including several Jamaican standouts (Sheldon Shepherd, Shantol Jackson, Dennis Titus, Everaldo Creary) Yardie premiered at Sundance in January to mixed reviews. It’s yet to hit cinemas locally and overseas, but it’s been doing the festival-circuit run all year. A screening recently took place at Palace Cineplex, Sovereign Centre, in St. Andrew.

DARK DEPTHS: The Nun takes fans to The Conjuring’s terrifying beginning

GOOD INTENTIONS: Sister Irene (Farmiga) holds fast to her Christian duty.

THE Abbey of St. Carta, located in the mountains of Romania, is a place where the brave dare not venture. With good reason. It’s the chilling setting at the heart of The Nun, a scary but flawed little movie that serves as a prequel of sorts to the entries in The Conjuring series. Delivering lots of jolts and suspense, it grabs hold of you from the opening sequence. 

A timid nun has committed suicide, hanging herself off a balcony at the front of the abbey. Days later, a farmhand, Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet), from a nearby village discovered the body and alerted officials. How come no one from the abbey saw fit to give her a proper burial? 

When the Vatican is informed of these strange happenings in Romania, they dispatch Father Burke (Demian Bichir) to investigate and file a report. Selected to accompany him is a young novitiate from London, Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga), who is on the cusp of taking her vows to be confirmed a nun. 

With Frenchie leading the way, they arrive at the abbey, only to discover that this is not your typical nunnery. It’s a dark and terrifying place, full of tunnels and secret passageways. The place looks deserted. The visitors are in for a rude awakening, when they encounter the evil force that has taken over. 

What subsequently plays out is a battle between the living and a malevolent spirit that refuses to be vanquished. It’s the same evil force, apparently, that wreaked havoc in The Conjuring 2

Directed by Corin Hardy, working with a commendable script by Gary Dauberman, The Nun seeks to explain how this entity came about. While the film does a decent job of keeping you on tenterhooks, it lacks the heft that fortified its predecessors, making them solid entries in the horror-thriller canon. 

But the film is no disappointment. In short, The Nun works best as an origin story for fans of The Conjuring series who want to fit the puzzle pieces together. Tyrone’s Verdict: B

Friday, 14 September 2018

ON THE SCENE: Miss Lou’s ‘kids’ celebrate her statue unveiling; Ricardo Fuller puts on his game face; Usain Bolt’s gravitational pull, and more

SPACE CHASE: Sep. 12, France: Usain Bolt keeps reminding us that there’s nothing left for him to do – except climb Mount Everest. Earlier this week, the legendary sprinter ticked another cool item off his bucket list when he got to do some sprinting and sip fine champagne in zero-gravity conditions, during a flight aboard a specially modified Airbus Zero-G plane above Reims in France. The Mumms Champagne ambassador enjoyed the moment alongside French astronaut Jean Francois Clervoy and interior dedigner Octave de Gaulle. (Photo: Reuters) 

GAME DAY: Sep. 8, St. James: Digicel Manning Cup ambassador Ricardo Fuller is flanked by a pair of lovely Digicel ladies at the Catherine Hall Stadium, as action kicked off in the 2018 schoolboy football season in Montego Bay on the weekend. (Photo: Sleek)

RING DING: Sep. 7, St. Andrew. Several showbiz icons joined Culture minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange at the official unveiling of a new Basil Watson statue honouring the late great Miss Lou, in her old hometown of Gordon Town. Leonie Forbes, Oliver Samuels, Karen Harriott and Owen ‘Blakka’ Ellis were among the stalwarts in attendance. (Photo: Ministry of Culture) 

WE ARE FAMILY: Aug. 31, Kingston. Rising Stars alum Verlando Small, never without his instrument, and lady-in-red Terri-Karelle Reid, who still hosts the popular talent show, share a moment at the Victoria Pier, on the occasion of the JDIC’s 20th anniversary launch, where Small thrilled the guests with his virtuosic stylings. (Photo: Skkan Media) 

MODEL CITIZENS: Aug. 31, Kingston. The JDIC 20th anniversary affair at the Victoria Pier also drew appearances from parliamentarian Fayval Williams and Saint International boss Deiwght Peters, who was accompanied by one of his young runway divas. (Photo: Skkan Media)

MEK WE DANCE & SING: J’can Folk Singers’ enjoyable 2018 season delivers diverse musical package

'VINTAGE' SPLENDOUR: The iconic choir has a song for every occasion.

WITH every performance of the Jamaican Folk Singers, who mount an annual concert season in September, you are compellingly reminded of the rich diversity of the Jamaican folk songbook. You are convinced that there’s a song for every occasion – from the festive to the mournful, from hard labour to leisure and playtime. 

But for the 2018 season, dubbed “Vintage Folk,” the iconic 20-member choir took it up a notch, infusing their presentation (divided into two parts) with rousing community-theatre spirit and infectious energy, pulling the audience into the celebration. Paula Shaw’s apt choreography nicely complemented the lovely blend of voices. 

The song selections ranged from witty gems about domestic drama, suss and rivalry to nosy neighbours and characters as colourful and unforgettable as “that wutliss dry-yeye gal Fanny,” the brats who love to “peep inna mi pot pon fire” and poor young Helena, who mistakes poisonous bush for cerasee to cure her belly ache. 

The Singers, whose speedy costume changes went from a bandana-and-white ensemble to semi-formal attire, dipped into the archives to deliver nicely arranged pieces offering sage advice (“Don’t board the wrong train!”), exploring our food culture (“Mango Time,” “Linstead Market”) and steeped in bans o’ excitement (“Sweepstake”). 

A handful of children joined the performance for the History, Bible Knowledge and Geography lessons, which came at the top of the second half. That segment made way for some mento quadrille and contra quadrille, with the seven-piece band (drummers and guitarists) serving up a spirited interlude as they got their time in the spotlight. 

With the Yuletide season fast approaching, the Singers closed the curtains with a couple of stirring Jamaican favourites – “Christmus A Come” and “Run Come Quick.” Truly, the Jamaican Folk Singers’ repertoire holds a song for every occasion.

ACTOR BOY/THESPY WATCH 2018: Who are the leading ladies ahead of the pack?

SCENE WORK: Actresses like Black Sheep's Jodian Findley stood out with strong performances this year.

QUICK recap: We’ve commenced our 2018/19 Awards Season Watch, putting the spotlight on the outstanding plays and performances that could be in the running for Thespy and Actor Boy consideration when nominations are announced. This week, we highlight some Best Actress hopefuls, breaking them down into best bets, possibles and long shots.


Samantha Brevett (SUGAR DADDY): Breakout performances don’t get more compelling than this: Brevett owning every scene she appears in, as Anita Leslie, a frustrated wife who aims her anger squarely at her hubby of 25 years (David Tulloch).

Dahlia Harris (CASE OF THE EX): Playing a ballsy, self-possessed dancehall queenpin summoned by an old flame (Kadeem Wilson) to help him win a musical contest, Harris anchored her performance with immense conviction and presence.

Sabrina Thomas (AS HE WATCHES): As Kerry, a devoted cop grappling with a tough case and personal drama, Thomas gave arguably the strongest performance of her burgeoning career, while wearing hats of producer and scriptwriter.


Jodian Findley Black Sheep
Andrea Wright – Granny Del


Patricia Martin – My Wife’s Mother-in-Law

>> Leading Men: A look at the Best Actor hopefuls