Wednesday, 29 April 2020

HOT TOPIC: Chris Gayle clears the air on Tallawahs departure, says he wanted to end CPL career “in the Jamaican uniform”

LET ME EXPLAIN: The star batsman took to social media to set the record straight.

IF Chris Gayle had his way he’d end his international cricket career in the Jamaican uniform. That was always the plan. But for now that plan has been derailed.

As the world knows by now, the towering left-hand batsman has been dropped from the Jamaica Tallawahs squad (which is currently gearing up for the 2020 Hero CPL league) and will instead be wearing the St. Lucia Zouks uniform when league action gets going around late summer/early September.

But, in any case, Gayle will be the first to defend his rep and assure his Jamaican supporters that not being retained for the 2020 season by Tallawahs management came as much a shock to him as to everybody else.

“Let me make this clear. I didn’t sell you out. I wasn’t retained. I was released. I just want to make it clear. And it’s not no money thing. I’ve been there, done that,” Gayle asserted, finally breaking his silence on the matter in a three-part video clip uploaded to his YouTube channel. “I wanted to finish my career in the Jamaican uniform. That was my plan. Things have now actually changed.”

By and large, Chris Gayle’s biggest grouse concerning the unforeseen development is that it wasn’t done “respectfully” by the team’s management (led by CEO Jeff Miller and owner Kris Persaud), with whom he’d signed a three-year contract.

Hurt as he is, Gayle says there’s no love lost between him and Persaud, in particular, who he describes as “a nice man, a good man” who “still has my respect.”

Now, he’s turning his full attention to his new assignment with the Zouks. “It’s official. I’m now part of the Zouks family and I’m looking forward to it,” he said, sounding like a man who doesn’t hesitate to put the past behind him.

At 40, Gayle, who has played for both the Jamaica Tallawahs (winning two titles – 2013 and 2016) and the St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots, is considered the leading T20 run-scorer of all time.

>> Video Link: Chris Gayle breaks his silence, speaks his mind

NEW MUSIC REVIEW: Fresh tracks from Lila Iké, Shenseea, Ce’Cile, Jamiel and hot newcomer Indie Allen

Ce’Cile – “Quarantine”
Few female entertainers working in reggae and dancehall today can craft a tuneful between-the-sheets jam like Ce’Cile. The current health crisis has sparked a wave of inspiration globally, and the singer-songwriter has responded, treating fans to a sexy, seductive number for when you turn those lights down low. B+ [Take a listen]

Jahmiel – “Shepherd”
Young reggae soldiers like Jahmiel ought to be commended for the unwavering artistry and sense of responsibility that they largely strive to uphold. His latest effort (about leadership, perseverance and being wise among wolves) strikes a powerful chord and delivers a timely message. B+ [Take a listen]

Lila Iké – “I Spy”
Industry insiders are intrigued to see what Lila Iké’s new record deal (via In.Digg.Nation) with RCA Records will being. In the meantime, we’re sprung on her spicy new track, which (coming in the wake of “Second Chance” and “Where I’m Coming From”) confirms her status as reggae-soul new It girl. A- [Take a listen]

Shenseea – “Foreplay”
When it comes to sex and other hot topics, Shenseea likes to subvert her good-girl persona with the kind of candour that borders on PG-16. She lets him know exactly what she wants on this steamy track sure to make even Spice blush. B [Take a listen]

>> TALLAWAH One-To-Watch Artiste
Indie Allen – “The West” 
With a confident flow reminiscent of early Ky-Mani Marley and lyrical grit that nods to Protoje, Indie Allen has announced his presence as a messenger and conscious crooner with something meaningful to say. His assured delivery is a potent asset on this hard-hitting tune, reminding us that in this bittersweet paradise only the strong survive. A [Take a listen]

Monday, 27 April 2020

NEWS FEED: ‘Say Yes to Fresh’ campaign launched to support local farmers

FARM 'FRESH': New agri campaign to boost demand for locally grown produce.

IN the wake of a major falloff due to the coronavirus crisis, the Government has launched a new agricultural campaign – Say Yes to Fresh – to offer direly needed assistance to diligent farmers and their families across the island. The campaign is encouraging Jamaicans to #BuyWithPurpose as we #SupportOurFarmers.

“We’ve launched the campaign in an attempt to encourage all of us to play our part and increase the demand for our fresh produce and meat. If we can increase local demand, then it will motivate our farmers and fishermen to keep at it during these times,” explains Floyd Green.

According to the state minister, the last two quarters have been good for Jamaica’s agri sector, with a reported seven percent growth in the last quarter alone. “However, with the significant downturn in demand due to the fallout in the tourism sector,” he says, “our farmers have been hard hit.” 

As such, the timing couldn’t be better for a campaign like Say Yes to Fresh. “The truth is that the transformation of agriculture requires an all-of-country approach,” Green says. “As consumers we must make a conscious and concerted effort to ensure that whenever we shop we are supporting those who keep food on our table.” 

“For us, this crisis brings a great 
opportunity to accelerate the pace of 
the reorganization of the entire 
agricultural sector.” 
– Floyd Green

Friday, 24 April 2020

GOOD MEDICINE: Pork and your immune system / Peppermint as headache cure / Put a lid on coital leakage

>> One good thing about PORK
An immunity booster that snuffs out invading germs, pork is your friend. Per First for Women magazine, the zinc found in pork is a potent antiviral mineral that destroys germs at their most common point of entry – the tissues lining your nose and throat. What’s more, researchers in Australia found that people who enjoy 12 ounces of pork weekly have 58 percent fewer sick days, especially during the colder seasons.

>> PEPPERMINT is good for relieving TENSION HEADACHES
Tension headaches can result from some of the simplest actions, including sitting at your desk for too long. When it comes to easing the pain, medics like US-based health-care professional Dr. Shelly Meyer reaches for peppermint. “The menthol in mint relaxes the tense muscles that drive the headache,” she explains. To feel better in a jiffy, combine 4 to 8 drops of peppermint oil with 1 ounce of coconut oil into a roll-on bottle, then roll this minty mix across your temple and forehead for 10 to 15 seconds. Repeat 10 minutes later.

>> How to prevent PEEING during SEX
During intercourse you may experience pressure on your bladder or urethra, which can trigger the urge to urinate. And if there’s any fluid in your bladder, leaks can occur. According to ob-gyn and author Dr. Laura Coris (The Change Before the Change: Everything you Need to Know to Stay Healthy in the Decade Before Menopause), the best ways to prevent coital leakage are to empty your bladder before sex and do Kegel exercises regularly to strengthen your pelvic muscles. Avoiding or limiting your consumption of bladder-irritating foods and drinks (chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, etc.) may also help.

NEWS + NOTES: Financial aid for small businesses; Tablets in Schools project gets a big boost...

STARTING OVER: “We are building back our business and trying to recover as best as possible,” says Trevor Heaven, proprietor of the Mandeville-based Heaven’s Fesco service station, which snagged headlines last month after a fiery explosion at the station left one man dead and several other people injured and hospitalized. The fire reportedly caused damage in the vicinity of $100 million. The service station has reopened for business, with vastly improved public safety measures put in place. All 42 employees, it has been reported, have participated in fire-fighting training sessions. “We actually hire fire wardens for each shift [now] to ensure that all of the red-flag areas are identified quickly and are reported,” Heaven says. “We have had our structured integrity tests done, pressurized our tanks and lines. We have new dispensers, new fittings. Everything is brand new.”

POISED FOR GROWTH: Over the course of the next four years, the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) will be stepping up efforts to ensure the continued international competitiveness of Jamaican products while facilitating business development and trade - thereby aiding the country's economic growth. To that end, some 213 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises will be beneficiaries of a financial-aid programme slated for the new fiscal year, which commenced April 1. The initiative is in collaboration with Jampro and will place emphasis on such priority sectors as manufacturing and agriculture, as well as the emerging industries of hemp, bamboo and cannabis.

MONEY WELL SPENT: As part of the islandwide efforts to enhance teaching and learning skills through global digital inclusion (with the goal of increasing digital literacy), the Government, in partnership with e-Learning Jamaica, has signed off on the procurement of 40,000 tablet computers for students and 25,000 devices for teachers under the Tablets in Schools project. A new phase of the project, which is to be renamed 'Technology in Infant and Primary Schools programme' will start in te 2020/21 fiscal year. According to CEO of e-Learning Jamaica, Keith Smith, his company will play a long-term role in the maintenance and upgrading of the tablets (for both teachers and students), which will be distributed to schools within the next 15 months. "e-Learning will be putting in place mechanisms to support the schools to get better use of technology," Smith says. "[However], in light of COVID-19, we are trying to expedite the process to facilitate greater online learning."

Monday, 20 April 2020

REAL TALK: From Chronology to Dela Splash, Chronixx’s evolution continues to fascinate us

ROCK STEADY: Is the reggae star taking creative risks with his next album?

IN a recent interview with, Chronixx spoke about, among other things, the correlation between artistic vision and fan appreciation. “All the people who bet on you from the start so that your visions can be realized, you have to be part of their visions too…”

We couldn’t agree more. Many of us local fans who’ve been riding shotgun on this musical journey – from the Dread & Terrible days to the smash success of his Grammy-nominated opus Chronology – have always been fascinated by the remarkable, tell-tale artistry that characterizes Chronixx’s output. He’s yet to disappoint us.

For one thing, versatility becomes him, and that seems to define his approach to his craft, above all else. Diehards and skeptics alike have no doubt taken note of the hard and heavy Chronixx (“Behind Curtain,” “Warrior”); the ladies have been introduced to the soulful and romantic side (“Give Me a Try,” “Majesty”); and roots heads dig the cool and conscious Chronixx (“Black is Beautiful,” “Jah is There,” and the list goes on and on).

At this stage of the game, we’re bracing for what appears to be a more experimental Chronixx – if his latest offering, “Dela Move” (off his well awaited sophomore disc, Dela Splash) is anything to go by. Both the song and its innovatively orchestrated video (a cinematic feast of light and dark and eye-popping visuals) suggest an edgier, more experimental style from the visionary artiste.

Indeed, we’re getting a glimpse of his vision for the rest of his career, which is clearly about pushing creative boundaries. So critics should have much to comment on when we finally sample the results. 

It’s a step in the right direction. Serious artistes always want to challenge themselves creatively. Still, it remains to be seen if Dela Splash (the album’s title pays homage to his old Spanish Town neighbourhood) will dramatically alter the course of what’s been an impressive career so far.

Just on his second album, Chronixx (only 27 years old) is still warming up. But he’s released so much music since his arrival on the scene that this feels like a third or fourth album. Real talk.

In any case, he’s been whetting appetites for Dela Splash, and next to Buju Banton’s well-on-the-way comeback disc, Upside Down, it will, we predict, easily rank among the play-it-to-death-records of the year.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

THE E-BUZZ: The success of Romeich Entertainment / RCA signs 3 reggae acts / Actor Boy nominees revealed

>> Protoje says RCA deal is a coup for Jamaican artistes
Grammy-nominated reggae star Protoje continues to make impressive strides in his career. It’s just been announced that his In.Digg.Nation collective has inked a deal with RCA Records – a deal that encompasses an additional two In.Digg.Nation artistes – Lila Iké and Sevana. “With a brand as globally strong as RCA, they are able to provide us with a platform to showcase our talents on an even broader international level,” the entertainer says. “I feel very grateful to have been given [this] opportunity to not only impact my life and career journey but also that of two other artistes on my label.”

>> Jambiz, Quilt top list of Actor Boy nominations
Better late than never. The nominees for the 2019 Actor Boy Awards were finally unveiled earlier this week, with a whopping 15 nods going to avant-garde performing arts troupe Quilt for their provocative show Re’Ashored, including bids for best production, directing, and mentions in several technical design categories. Meanwhile, Patrick Brown’s acclaimed dramedy Straight Jacket (which recently won three Thespies) continued its strong awards-season run, picking up 11 nominations. Winners will be announced in May.

>> ‘Romeich is a super boss,’ says Shenseea
Commanding industry respect, consistently putting out great music and bagging multiple endorsement deals for its artistes, Romeich Entertainment stays winning. What’s the secret? “Romeich Entertainment is a great team that [is working] with a lot of these corporate companies because manager-wise Romeich is very aggressive, so he always gets the job done,” says reigning dancehall diva Shenseea, who recently signed on as the new brand ambassador for Boom Energy Drink, on the occasion of their 10th anniversary. “He has great ideas on how to incorporate the artiste with the brand, and that’s how we keep winning as a team.” In addition to Shenseea, the music company’s roster of artistes include TALLAWAH Music Awards Record of the Year winner Teejay and Grace ambassador Ding Dong.

TALLAWAH BOOK CLUB: Curdella Forbes wows the critics / Kei Miller’s latest / A UWI scholar tackles indigenous J’can cinema

ONCE UPON A MATTRESS: When was the last time you witnessed the work of a contemporary Caribbean female author drawing comparisons to that of Marlon James and Kei Miller? Jamaican-born Howard University professor Curdella Forbes has earned that distinction for her critically acclaimed novel A Tall History of Sugar, a finalist for the 2020 OCM Bocas Literary Prize. Published by Akashic Books, this remarkable story (which Vanity Fair has classified alongside James’ John Crow’s Devil and Miller’s Augusttown) follows the mysterious love affair of a couple (Moshe and Arienne) from childhood to adulthood, across the rocky terrain of rural Jamaica, and from the streets of the Corporate Area to the hustle-and-bustle of the English capital. The critics are simply in awe of Forbes’ accomplishment, landing her book on several Best-of-2019 lists. “The premise is ingenious,” raves the UK’s Guardian, “and the novel is an epic modern fairy-tale.”

LOST AND FOUND: Forward Prize winner Kei Miller’s oeuvre spans fiction (The Last Warner Woman), non-fiction (Writing Down the Vision) and the kind of poetry best described as bruising and endlessly provocative. In Nearby Bushes, his latest collection of verse, falls right in line, exploring “his strongest landscape yet,” a world in which “it is both possible to hide and heal, a landscape marked as much by magic as it is by murder.” A recipient of the Silver Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica for his contribution to the literary arts, Miller holds a Doctorate from the University of Glasgow. His previous poetry collections include There is An Anger That Moves and The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion

SHARP FOCUS: As we wait out this Covid-19 pandemic, film buffs and scholars can pick up a copy of the recently launched Show Us As We Are: Place, Nation and Identity in Jamaican Film (UWI Press) by Dr. Rachel Moseley-Wood. She presents readers with a series of discussions on 11 well-known Jamaican-made films, alternately examining their complexities, sophistication and artistry. At the same time, Moseley-Wood (lit and film studies lecturer and now Head of the Department of Literatures in English at UWI Mona) assesses Jamaica as “a hedonistic paradise,” even as she challenges the unifying narratives of nationhood. “It’s essential reading,” says Dr. Jean Antoine-Dunne, “for those who wish to challenge the status quo.”

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

LIFE + STYLE: Create a refreshing, restorative living space with these expert tips

WELCOME HOME: Beach's book is teeming with ideas for really transforming your place.

THE handbook Design Smarts: Inspiration for Home & Life by Mitzi Beach makes an excellent reference guide for veteran interior designers and first-time homemakers alike and just about anyone who wants to impress their guests. Below, three of her tips for bringing some mellow vibes into your space.

>> You can brighten your mood by literally brightening your space, says Beach, who recommends that homeowners invest in overhead lighting via ceiling fixtures or bulbs – and ambient lighting from lamps and wall sconces. Bonus: hang sheer curtains to let natural rays shine through. 

>> When it comes to accents, she says, don’t shy away from bold touches that make you happy. Buying accent pieces in a shape or a print that you really like can help you ‘reset’ by shifting your awareness to them. The point, the interior designer emphasizes, is to keep the overall aesthetic light and simple, then let your heart sing with a rug, a throw pillow or an accent chair that really speaks to you.

>> What colours should you splash on your walls? If you love darker colours, says Beach, save those for the library or the formal dining room – not where the majority of the ‘living’ happens. Warm, pale colours create a refreshing, restorative atmosphere that you can ‘colour up’ from season to season with flowers and décor. Perfect for rooms with lots of comfy seating where you want your family and guests to gather, socialize and connect.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

CHAT 'BOUT: Dr. Donovan Stanberry predicts threat to Jamaica's food security / Prof. Densil Williams skeptical about GCT reduction / Gussie Clarke pays tribute to Bob Andy, and more

"Bob Andy was one of the few remaining musical icons who always exhibited humility and respect for all while being deep in and guided by his spiritual and philosophical reasonings. I am proud to have benefited from knowing and working with him." - Augustus 'Gussie' Clarke

"GCT reduction will not have the desired effect. It would therefore have been better that the Government not give up this revenue, but instead protect that source and use it to invest in critically needed equipment and other things in the healthcare system." - Prof. Densil Williams

"Our Government's performance in [the fight against #Covid-19] has been outstanding. In years to come it may represent a model approach to emulate by other countries in treating with the threat of contagious diseases." - Peter Champagnie QC

"The current #Covid-19 pandemic, which has occasioned major disruptions in global supply chains, will most certainly have an impact on agricultural production, trade and food security in Jamaica." - Dr. Donovan Stanberry

"After we survive this pandemic, many of us will have varying degrees of mental illness associated with not just loss and suffering of our loved ones and ourselves... Social workers and other of like mind and training are going to have more challenges and will be more relevant than in our history." - Dr. Orville Taylor 

Monday, 6 April 2020

NEW MUSIC REVIEW: Press play on these brand-new hits from Kemar Highcon, Kabaka Pyramid, Shenseea and Kumar Bent

 "The Sidechick Song"

Shenseea has been a bad girl. Having sashayed her way into the life of another woman's man she's now hopelessly entangled. With this melodic 'matey' confessional (accompanied by a crisp, stylish new video), the dancehall star gives voice to countless 'other women' who feel they deserve to be more than something on the side. [Take a listen] B

Kumar Bent
"Remember Me"

Off his highly anticipated debut disc, Kulture Walk, Bent's earnest new track blends stirring vocals with a life-affirming message, delivering yet more proof that the former Raging Fyah frontman could soon be drawing comparisons to his more seasoned peers Protoje and Chronixx.  [Take a listen] A-

Kemar Highcon

How does Kemar Highcon keep the honeys in his thrall? With his winning mix of movie-star good looks, smooth lyrics and killer charm. He shares the details of his exploits on this bouncy new player's anthem that's a bit slim on the meat but has no shortage of swag.  [Take a listenB-

Kabaka Pyramid feat. Chris Martin

The current global health crisis is affording couples more quality time than ever. Listening to this mid-tempo jam (on which Martin supplies a smooth hook), at once it's clear that both entertainers have novel ideas for getting the most of the free time - be it late night or early-early morning.  [Take a listenB

>> Bonus Track!
Alicia Keys feat. Protoje and Chronixx
"Underdog (Remix)

Two of Jamaica's finest bring a dose of conscious vibrations to A-Keys' repeat-worthy latest hit that's all about keeping your head up and getting tough when the tough gets going. In the end, this 'underdog' takes flight via empowering R&B-pop with a splash of roots-reggae magic. [Take a listenB+

Friday, 3 April 2020

Q-&-A: Keisha Patterson talks about the plight of street kids, why Reggae Month matters, and being a nature lover

PLAYING TO HER STRENGTHS: "So far it's an exciting work-in-progress. It's not been easy," Patterson says of working on her new album.

With her knack for convincingly portraying headstrong lasses (Cutie in Frank The Freak; Julie in Romi & Julie), Keisha Patterson seems ideally cast as Chrissy, the brainy-sassy one in Jambiz's latest musical comedy, The Windscream Posse, which is about homeless kids who band together to survive on the mean Kingston streets.

It's a role that has Patterson thinking about the social commentary at the heart of the play. As the show's producers hit the pause button due to the coronavirus outbreak, the singer-actress dishes with TALLAWAH about the rough world out there for young outcasts, plus her sophomore album-in-progress, and more.

TALLAWAH: What has been the most eye-opening thing about playing a street kid in The Windscream Posse?

Keisha Patterson: The most eye-opening thing for me was the different backgrounds they all come from. The different stories that they have: for example, one ran away, one was abused, one was orphaned. And thinking about the different backgrounds you realize it's not a choice that these kids make to be on the street.

TALLAWAH: In your view, what  more can the government and government agencies do to ameliorate the situation islandwide?

KP: I'd suggest the opening of more shelters for them and a kind of placement system. There have to be better options than wiping a car glass at the stop-light.

TALLAWAH: Let's switch gears and talk about the recent observance of Reggae Month. How important is it to set aside a special month to honour our music?

KP: It's good. The month itself is important. We do celebrate reggae throughout the year, but one month dedicated to events and other activities is good for the industry.

TALLAWAH: Speaking of music, it's been more than a decade since you released your jazzy-funky solo debut, Sunday Kind of Love. What do you want your next album to sound like?

KP: (Laughs). I love jazz and reggae. That's been my foundation, and that's where my spirit is. So I'll definitely be continuing with that fusion, mixed with different elements of the world. So far it's an exciting work-in-progress. It's not been easy. I'm working with Dalton Browne again and doing most of the writing, but other writers are contributing as well. 

TALLAWAH: When you're not working, how do you like to spend your spare time?

KP: I love to be in nature, go to the beach, visit parks. That's my vibe. I love greenery, love nature and reflecting and meditating.