Wednesday, 30 December 2020

THE E-BUZZ: New home, new name for Redbones / Enter the J’ca 60th Logo Design Competition / Jamaica cops top prizes at Travel Awards

>> Jamaica cops 8 trophies at 2020 World Travel Awards 
When the curtains came down on the recent 27th renewal of the World Travel Awards, there was ample reminder that Jamaica still ranks among the most beloved destinations on the planet. As in years past, Jamaica copped multiple awards at the ceremony (eight in total), including the coveted prizes for World’s Leading Family Destination and Cruise Destination and, interestingly, Wedding Destination. As for the other five awards: Round Hill copped Best Villa Resort; Goldeneye’s Fleming Villa won Best Luxury Hotel Villa; Island Routes Caribbean Adventures was named Best Caribbean Attraction Company; Sandals Resorts was once again named World’s Leading All-Inclusive Company while the trophy for All-Inclusive Family Resort went to Beaches.

>> Jamaica 60th logo design contest now open for entries 
The celebrations to mark our 60th year of Independence are set for 2022, but Jamaicans can get in the milestone spirit from now by entering the Jamaica 60th Logo Design Competition. Being put on by the culture ministry’s Secretariat of Commemorative Events and Special Projects, the purpose of the competition is to ensure that the design of this al-important logo will be “selected from a wider pool of creative energy and not just from a small pool of people.” Entries should “embody the Jamaican spirit in every shape and form.” The winner will be awarded US$2,500. Deadline for submissions is January 19, 2021. 

>> Redbones Blues Café finding new life – as District 5 – at R Hotel 
St. Andrew-based connoisseurs of fine dining and live music will have fond memories of the Redbones Blues Café on Argyle Road. After closing its doors and exiting the social scene a few years ago, the beloved high-end eatery has resurfaced. Now based at the R Hotel in New Kingston, it has been rebranded and has re-opened its doors as District 5 – with renowned culinary star Brian Lumley as its head chef. Says General Manager Alexander Pike, “We have paired one of Jamaica’s best and most innovative chefs with a great location overlooking New Kingston, with excellent customer service.” What else can patrons look forward to? Spacious open-air dining, fun and interactive themed nights and a mix of Jamaican, Caribbean and global cuisine.




















Thursday, 24 December 2020

AT THE THEATRE: Pantomime Company looking to connect with audiences new and old with their first virtual revue

FULL CIRCLE: Cast members in rehearsal for this season's production.

WHENEVER the Pantomime Company assembles to commence work on a new production, the excitement is through the roof. The cast and crew gets a real thrill out of the annual meet-ups for creative collaboration. So one can imagine the immense thrill, joy and relief, given the dreaded COVID restrictions, when members were informed that for the 2020 production they would be coming together to do a revue, which will be taped for virtual presentation. 

“The guys are happy to be back because there was a lot of doubt, a lot of back and forth, as to what would happen this year. So when they heard that we’d still be doing something, everyone was glad. [Coming together] is something we look forward to every year,” says LTM team coordinator Anya Gloudon, following a recent rehearsal. 

The 2020 production is titled Nah Give Up, and it’s a nearly 90-minute revue that will feature excerpts from previous hit shows (The Upsies and the Downzies, Iffa Nuh So, Queenie’s Daughter, among them), with lively song and movement accompanied by tracks and their in-house band. 

“We’re basically using pieces and certain characters from previous pantomimes that we’ve done to relate to what’s happening now,” Gloudon explains. “We’re leaning a lot on technology, like Zoom, so we’ll premiere it on our Facebook and other social media pages.” 

Helmed by renowned stage director Pierre LeMaire, the 78th annual production will feature a cast comprised of Pantomime regulars, led by such veterans as Kevin Halstead and Ray Jarrett. 

Nah Give Up is set to debut on Boxing Day (Dec. 26) at 6pm.




















Saturday, 19 December 2020

CHAT ’BOUT: Alfred Dawes on fighting COVID-19 spread; JAAA’s Garth Gayle on reviving track-and-field; Tyrone Wilson on bringing back Reggae Sunsplash, and more

“It will increase economic activity, and it will bring back many jobs. I believe we have struck the right balance to increase but at the same time not encourage risky activities that would increase [virus] spread.” – PM Andrew Holness on the new COVID-19 curfew times to take effect over the holiday season 
** 

“One simple measure that would go a long way in saving the hospitality sector is the mandatory quarantine period. Test and re-test travellers to make sure that they do not have the virus, rather than sentencing them to quarantine needlessly. That will allow resources to be focused on other measures rather than policing them.” – Noted medic Dr. Alfred Dawes in a recent newspaper column 
** 

“We have a lot to do to begin the work put forward in our manifesto. We have a lot to do as we have the pandemic, and we need to get the sport b back on track… on behalf of track-and-field in Jamaica.” – Newly installed JAAA president Garth Gayle 
** 

“The difficulties did not take away from the quality of the show, and we’re very happy with the comeback.” – Reggae Sunsplash showrunner Tyrone Wilson 
** 

“Jamaica can boast that its electoral processes are above reproach and that there has always been a smooth and seamless transfer of power after the results of elections are declared. There has never been the spectacle of government refusing to demit office after losing an election. Jamaica is clearly a world leader in this respect.” – Integrity Commission Chairman, Justice Seymour Panton, in his message to mark International Anti-Corruption Day 2020
























Friday, 18 December 2020

NEW MUSIC REVIEW: Fresh tracks from Shenseea, Squash, Shaggy, Chino and Skip Marley

“The Process” – Chino 
His long months away from the studio and the spotlight afforded Chino some quality time for reflection and introspection. He’s re-emerged with some great new tracks, led by this mid-tempo winner (produced by his hit-making brother Stephen) that reminds us that human experience, in all its guises, teaches us patience, among other valuable lessons. B+ 
**

“Make Me Feel” – Skip Marley feat. Rick Ross and Ari Lennox 
Skip Marley is fast becoming known for his chilled-out slow jams. Among the bonafide highlights on his Grammy-nominated 2020 album, Higher Place, you’ll find this eargasmic gem about making that emotional connection, on which hip hop don Rick Ross and charming songstress Ari Lennox lend solid support. B+ 
**

“Money We Love” – Squash, Vybz Kartel and Chronic Law 
The curtains come down on another stellar year for dancehall music with this bangin’ club-ready collabo, bringing together the 6Six camp generals and the Gaza World Boss. Spitting some killer verses over a pulsating beat, the deejays make it amply clear that it’s all about the big bucks. B+ 
**

“Holiday in Jamaica” – Shaggy feat. Ne-Yo and Ding Dong 
Shaggy is all about an irie Jamrock Christmas, complete with great friends and a brand-new album for the fans. Ding Dong and Ne-Yo (supplying the hook) bring their infectious party energy to this lead-off single that’s perfect for the street jamboree and the classy uptown affair. B  
**

“Bad Alone” – Shenseea 
 Warning: Shenseea takes no mess. The queen bee stings on this fiery new bad-girls anthem, proving that she can bring it hard-and-heavy like the big boys, hold her own and roll with the punches. B























Monday, 14 December 2020

2020 IN REVIEW: Junior senator Gabriela Morris is our Young Newsmaker of the Year

    HISTORY MAKER: Morris, also a Shadow Minister, is the youngest-ever appointed member of the Upper House.

Brainy, stylish and a terrific role model for young Jamaicans, communications specialist Gabriela Morris created history this year, becoming the youngest person – at age 23 – ever to be appointed to the Upper House. Here are five fun facts about Senator Morris. 

1. She’s a St. James girl: Hailing from the Second City, Morris is a proud alumna of popular all-girls’ school Montego Bay High. 

2. Academics is a forte: At the Mona-based Caribbean Institute for Media & Communications (CARIMAC), she completed a Master’s degree in Communication for Social and Behavioural Change. 

3. Youth issues is a passion: A former Mona Guild President contender, Morris currently serves as a resident advisor at Irvine Hall and is an active member of the PNP Youth Organization (PNPYO). 

4. Dr. Peter Phillips had confidence in her: Morris was among eight Opposition senators that the former PNP leader called to serve, joining the likes of Damion Crawford, Dr. Floyd Morris, Norman Horne, Lambert Brown, Janice Allen, Sophia Fraser-Binns and Donna Scott-Mottley. 

5. She has her game face on: “I am here to learn,” she said in a post-swearing in interview. “I believe that I have amassed some sort of experience in my own way, and I believe that [my superiors] see something in me.”
























Thursday, 10 December 2020

YOUTH MONTH SPOTLIGHT: How Ashé’s Rudy Tomlinson effectively fuses leadership with artistic pursuits

THE BOYS IN THE BAND: “I try to give them a sense of hope,” says Tomlinson, pictured here with members of the ensemble's male chorus.

IN person, Rudy Tomlinson comes across as a jovial and passionate youngster who has his serious moments. Professional, disciplined and not difficult to get along with. That’s why he strikes you as the ideal type to serve as leader of a multifaceted troupe like the Ashé ensemble (of which he’s been a member since 2009), whose core members – a wildly creative and energetic bunch – hail from a wide array of upbringings and social experiences. 

But at the same time, this kind of diversity of personalities can bring challenges, which Tomlinson knows all too well. “It can get rocky at times because you have various different personality types and characters to deal with, and sometimes what they are dealing with in the home space can be hard to deal with,” he tells TALLAWAH

Still, the 31-year-old Edna Manley College and Papine High alum has developed surefire strategies for quelling any tensions that may arise while he strives to keep everyone on the same page and moving forward. 

“For me, leadership is a great responsibility. People are watching you and following in your footsteps and you have to ensure that you lead with some level of integrity. You have to help the members improve and grow and keep moving forward,” he shares. “I try to give them a sense of hope.” 

Such huge responsibilities have not only brought life-altering lessons but have contributed immensely to his ongoing evolution as a young Jamaican man heading into his 30s. On reflection, Tomlinson tells TALLAWAH, “Apart from the patience and the discipline, you learn to believe in your craft and your dreams and what you set out to accomplish.” 

>> Profile: 3 Fun Facts about Rudy Tomlinson 

1. He has musical-theatre roots, having performed with the JMTC and the Jamaican Folk Singers. He’s also appeared in such hit Father HoLung and Friends productions as Moses, Amazing Grace, Jesus 2000 and Isaiah, which enjoyed a successful remount in Trinidad. 

2. He dropped out of his Edna Manley College dance programme in 2014, but he has since resumed tertiary studies (in Social Work) at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. 

3. Following up his high-school exploits in the JCDC Festival of the Performing Arts, Tomlinson secured a Top-10 finalist spot in the 2012 National Festival Song Competition with the crowd-pleasing entry “Down in Jamaica.”
























Wednesday, 9 December 2020

CRITIC’S NOTEBOOK: Larry Watson talks about keeping creative energy – and hope – alive in a pandemic

IN THE ZONE: Watson (right) and colleague Pierre LeMaire at the LTM.

IN a 2012 exclusive with Vogue, Tina Brown compared her post-New Yorker hiatus from the news stream/journalism world to having an amputated leg. Flash forward to 2020, and technical-theatre pro Larry Watson is telling TALLAWAH that many of Jamaica’s creative artistes du jour feel the same way, owing, of course, to the debilitating onslaught of the COVID-19 virus. 

“A lot of persons in the creative industries feel weakened. Their creative juices aren’t flowing, they’re not getting to express themselves as they are accustomed to. Their lives are on pause,” he argues. “They feel retired.” 

Livelihoods are threatened; pockets have been hard hit, he goes on to point out. “Obviously, financially, people are finding it very hard to live their lives as they normally do, and have to be coming up with alternative means of survival,” he notes. “In the schools, CXC teachers have it a bit easier than some because they are using Zoom to conduct their classes online and still get paid. But those who were employed to prepare students for things like JCDC Festival, they have basically been laid-off.” 

He feels their pain. Personally, Watson is putting up a courageous fight. “I’ve been retired for almost two years, so basically I’m living off my savings for the most part,” he says. “I find myself sitting at home watching TV a lot more now, and honestly I am bored.” 

And he knows he’s not alone. “A great way for persons who work in the arts to stay creative is to keep practicing on their own. They can spend time designing technical plots, make up storylines and try to fuse that with some other kind of reporting,” the LTM pantomime veteran shares. “Go online and upgrade your skills and your knowledge base. In Jamaica, we say ‘tun yuh han’ mek fashion’ when resources are scarce. My advice for creative artists in the meantime is to find ways of using whatever little resources you have to plot new directions.”






















Friday, 4 December 2020

2020 TALLYS: Buju Banton leads the pack with 9 nominations; Romain Virgo, Popcaan, Protoje pick up 7 nods

    WINNING STREAK: Having a career high, The Gargamel has reason to smile.

CAPPING a triumphant year that saw him winning the Jamaica Festival Song Competition (with the patriotic anthem “I Am a Jamaican”) and earning a Best Reggae Album Grammy nod (for Upside Down 2020), Buju Banton has snagged the lion’s share of nominations – a total of nine – for the 2020 TALLAWAH Music Awards. In addition to consideration for Album of the Year, Best Male Reggae Artiste and Best Reggae Song, Banton is up for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Male Video and Video of the Year for his smash hit “Trust.” 

Protoje, Popcaan and Romain Virgo are tied with seven nominations each. Koffee is a strong ambassador for the ladies with mentions in six categories, while Chronixx and Vybz Kartel are solid contenders with five bids each. 

Artistes up for four nominations include supergirls Lila Iké, Sevana and Jada Kingdom, alongside star boys Dexta Daps, Skip Marley, Richie Spice and Kevin Downswell. Shenseea, Bugle, Dalton Harris and Etana are up for three awards. Vying for the coveted Record of the Year prize: Romain Virgo (“Best of Me”), Dexta Daps (“Breaking News”), Govana (“Hamants Convo”); Koffee (“Lockdown”), Popcaan (“Protoje”), Protoje feat. Popcaan (“Royalty”), Vybz Kartel (“Then You… and Me”), Richie Spice (“Together We Stand”), Buju Banton (“Trust”) and Jada Kingdom (“Win”). 

Honouring the year’s best in Jamaican music, the TALLAWAH Music Awards is now in its second year. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, January 26.

>> And the Nominees Are: The Complete List of Nominations


















SOCIETY, SOCIETY: Mark Golding puts on his armour … Restaurant Week 2020 nixed …. Jamaica’s new Rhodes Scholar…

>> Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. In the case of Mark Golding’s ascension to the presidency of the People’s National Party (PNP), this rings hauntingly true. How he’ll eventually unite a political party clearly being down by ego and power struggle will make for front-row seat entertainment and non-stop public commentary. But, as it turns out, Golding is far from backing down from the heavy-duty challenge. In fact, he’s already mapping out a game plan that sounds like a winner. In his speeches so far, he is decisive and convincing. “We will rebuild stronger together,” he recently told comrades. “It will be a collaborative effort, and I hope everybody will buy into it. Nuh care how long it takes, we will do it, and the party will be stronger.” He’s not sugar-coating things, which is refreshing. More power to him… 

>> Who let the dogs out? As expected, people have mixed reactions to the recent passing of the Dogs (Liability for Injuries) Act, which has been passed to punish negligent owners. According to the legislation, owners of bad dogs that attack and injure persons could be fined from $500,000 to as much as $3 million or face imprisonment of 6 months to 15 years. This move comes in the wake of the savage canine attack on a five-year-old boy in St. Ann, who has been flown to the United States for treatment, which is reportedly costing millions of dollars. 

>> One thing that COVID-19 certainly hasn’t ruined: appetites. That’s why foodies, restaurant owners and other food establishment proprietors were avidly looking forward to the usual November staging of Restaurant Week. Stephanie Scott and her team remain as passionate as ever about their winning brand, so hopefully, all being well, RW will return to the social scene next year. 

>> York Castle High in St. Ann has produced this year’s Rhodes Scholar. He is 22 year old Fitzroy Wickham, a neurosurgeon-in-training at the Connecticut-based Wesleyan University. He says being a country boy who is used to overcoming great hurdles has always pushed him to excel academically. He recently told an interviewer, “I have a deep desire to inspire people across Jamaica, who like me grew up in the often-forgotten rural area.” Fitzroy’s scholarship covers, among other things, post-grad tuition fees, personal stipend and airfare to Oxford. 

>> Questions of the Week: 
1) Who is the most glaring omission from this year’s Grammy nominations Best Reggae Album category: Protoje or Popcaan
2) Who is on your list of the Most Intriguing/Fascinating Jamaicans of 2020? Be sure to compare your list with ours when it is unveiled in the coming weeks.




















Wednesday, 2 December 2020

2020 TALLAWAH MUSIC AWARDS: The Complete List of Nominations


RECORD OF THE YEAR 

“Best of Me” 
Romain Virgo 

“Breaking News” 
Dexta Daps 

“Hamants Convo” 
Govana 

“Lockdown” 
Koffee 

“Promise” 
Popcaan 

“Royalty” 
Protoje feat. Popcaan 

“Then You… And Me” 
Vybz Kartel 

“Together We Stand” 
Richie Spice 

“Trust” 
Buju Banton

“Win” 
Jada Kingdom 


SONG OF THE YEAR 

“Breaking News” 
Dexta Daps 

“Carry Me” 
Kevin Downswell 

“Lockdown” 
Koffee 

“Memories” 
Buju Banton feat. John Legend 

“Never Make Her Sad” 
Romain Virgo 

“People Like You” 
Gramps Morgan 

“Royalty” 
Protoje feat. Popcaan 

“The Sidechick Song” 
Shenseea 

“Together We Stand” 
Richie Spice 

“Win” 
Jada Kingdom 


ALBUM OF THE YEAR 

Fixtape 
Popcaan 

Higher Place 
Skip Marley 

In Search of Lost Time Jamaica 
Protoje 

Now I Rise 
Dre Island 

The Experience 
Lila Iké 

To Tanesha 
Vybz Kartel 

Upside Down 2020 
Buju Banton 


BEST NEW ARTISTE 

Answele 

Indie Allen 

Jafrass 

Jaz Elise 

Khalia 

Maestro Don 

Tamo J 


BEST REGGAE SONG 

“24 HRS” 
Bugle 

“Be Okay” 
Dre Island feat. Jesse Royal 

“Frustration” 
Jafrass 

“Got To Be Tough” 
Toots & the Maytals 

“I Am a Jamaican” 
Buju Banton 

“It’s Alright” 
Chalice feat. Wayne Armond 

“More Strength” 
Busy Signal 

“Never Make Her Sad” 
Romain Virgo 

“Pressure” 
Koffee 

“Together We Stand” 
Richie Spice 


BEST DANCEHALL SONG 

“Aircraft” 
Aidonia

“Bandulu” 
Squash 

“Breaking News” 
Dexta Daps 

“Cree” 
Alkaline 

“Me, Myself and I” 
Rygin King 

“Mr. Universe” 
Skillibeng 

“Number Don’t Lie” 
Popcaan 

“Rich” 
Masicka 

“The Sidechick Song” 
Shenseea 

“Watch Dem” 
Ding Dong 


PRODUCER OF THE YEAR 

Comar Campbell (Frankie Music) 

Dane Ray 

Jordan McClure (Chimney Records) 

Romeich Entertainment Rvssian 

Stephen ‘Di Genius’ McGregor 

ZJ Chrome 


BEST COLLABORATION 

“Cane Fields” 
Natural High feat. Wayne Marshall, Jesse Royal and Kabaka Pyramid 

“It’s Alright” 
Chalice feat. Wayne Armond 

“Lighter” 
Tarrus Riley feat. Shenseea and Rvssian 

“Memories” 
Buju Banton feat. John Legend 

“One World, One Prayer” 
The Wailers feat. Shaggy, Skip Marley, Farruko and Cedella Marley 

“Pioneer” 
Maestro Don feat. Bounty Killer 

“Royalty” 
Protoje feat. Popcaan 

“Same Prayer” 
Chronixx feat. Kabaka Pyramid 

“Slow Down” 
Skip Marley feat. H.E.R

“Something New” 
D Major feat. Busy Signal 


BEST GOSPEL ARTISTE 

Chozenn 

Christopher Gayle 

DJ Nicholas 

Jermaine Edwards 

Kevin Downswell 

Levy’s Heritage 

Rondell Positive 


BEST GOSPEL SONG 

“Carry Me” 
Kevin Downswell 

“Come” 
Christopher Gayle 

“Na Sell Out God” 
Levy’s Heritage 

“One Dose (of the Holy Ghost)” 
Treisha Williams 

“Our Response” 
David Sutton 

“The Mirror” 
Rondell Positive 

“Watch Over Me” 
Jermaine Edwards 


BEST ALTERNATIVE/SOUL/R&B/CLASSICAL ARTISTE 

Chevaughn 

Dalton Harris 

Dean Fraser 

Khalia 

Natel 

Sevana

Shaun Antoine 


* Special 2020 Category * 
BEST COVID-19 LIVE PERFORMANCE 

Agent Sasco – Sascoustic Live 

Buju Banton – “All Will Be Fine” (BET) 

Chronixx – Irie Jam Virtual Concert Series 

Dalton Harris – “Graveyard” 

Konshens – Digicel Unplugged 

Romain Virgo – Digicel Unplugged 

Tessanne Chin – Digicel Unplugged 


BEST REGGAE ARTISTE – Male 

Buju Banton 

Bugle 

Chronixx 

Dre Island 

Jahmiel 

Protoje 

Richie 

Spice 

Romain Virgo 

Skip Marley 

Tarrus Riley 


BEST REGGAE ARTISTE – Female 

Etana 

Koffee 

Lila Iké 

Naomi Cowan 

Queen Ifrica 

Shuga 

Tanya Stephens


MUSIC EVENT OF THE YEAR 

Children of the Icons Tour 

Dennis Brown Tribute Concert 

Digicel Unplugged series 

Jamaica Rum Festival concerts 

Reggae Wednesdays in the Park 

Reggae Sumfest 2020 

Sagicor 50th Anniversary concert 


BEST MALE VOCAL PERFORMANCE 

“Carry Me”
Kevin Downswell

“Cry” 
Dalton Harris 

“Little Apples” 
Christopher Martin 

“Lost My Heart” 
Kumar Bent 

“Never Make Her Sad” 
Romain Virgo

“People Like You” 
Gramps Morgan

“Something Special” 
Gyptian 


BEST FEMALE VOCAL PERFORMANCE

“Forget Me” 
Lila Iké 

“I Can’t Breathe” 
Queen Ifrica 

“Mango” 
Sevana 

“One Night” 
Tanya Stephens 

“Quarantine” 
Ce’Cile

“Rock My Body” 
Etana 

“Win” 
Jada Kingdom 


BEST DANCEHALL ARTISTE – Male 

Alkaline 

Dexta Daps

Ding Dong 

Govana 

Konshens 

Popcaan 

Rygin King 

Squash 

Teejay 

Vybz Kartel 


BEST DANCEHALL ARTISTE – Female 

Ce’Cile

Ishawna 

Jada Kingdom 

Lisa Hyper 

Macka Diamond 

Shenseea 

Spice 


BEST MALE VIDEO 

“24 HRS” – Bugle 
Director: Damaniac Visuals 

“Best of Me” – Romain Virgo 
Director: Kurt Wright 

“Dela Move” – Chronixx 
Director: Nabil 

“Nice Up the Dance” – Kabaka Pyramid 
Director: 300K 

“Royalty” – Protoje 
Director: Storm Saulter 

“Then You… And Me” – Vybz Kartel 
Director: Jay Will 

“Trust” – Buju Banton 
Director: Kieran Khan 


BEST FEMALE VIDEO 

“Climbing” – Naomi Cowan 
Director: Kia Moses 

“Could It Be” – Jah 9 
Director: Samo Kush and Fernando Hevia 

“Forget Me” – Lila Iké 
Director: Shane Creative 

“Mango” – Sevana 
Director: Sevana and Yoram Savion 

“Truly” – Etana 
Director: Prof and Krys Rass 

“W” – Koffee 
Director: Matt Baron 

“We are Jamaica” – Sakina Deer
Director: Patrick Brown 


VIDEO OF THE YEAR: Viewers’ Choice Award 

“Dela Move” – Chronixx 
Director: Nabil 

“Mango” – Sevana 
Director: Sevana and Yoram Savion 

“Royalty” – Protoje 
Director: Storm Saulter 

 “Then You… And Me” – Vybz Kartel 
Director: Jay Will 

“Trust” – Buju Banton 
Director: Kieran Khan 

“W” – Koffee
Director: Matt Baron 

“We are Jamaica” – Sakina Deer 
Director: Patrick Brown