Saturday, June 28, 2008

Eddy Grant Back in Action

Eddy touring again

How Eddy Grant gave hope to South Africa

(After years out of the limelight, the man behind a song that became an anti-apartheid anthem returned as one of the stars of Nelson Mandela’s concert. )

(Telegraph) – When Nelson Mandela broke his long silence to denounce Robert Mugabe’s regime in Zimbabwe on Wednesday, it only heightened the expectation and intrigue surrounding yesterday’s 90th birthday concert for him in Hyde Park.

The show itself promised to bring together a good number of the pop musicians whose protest against Mandela’s incarceration at a similar concert in 1988 was ultimately rewarded with his release two years later.

One performer, who was not present that day, but has been included this time around, is the author of a song, which many saw as the very anthem of apartheid’s demise. Eddy Grant’s “Gimme Hope Jo’anna” hit the UK top 10 in January 1988. More importantly, it was banned by South Africa’s government, and thus, with its gambolling African beat and incisive lyrical idealism, it achieved a huge popular resonance there, in the drive to end the regime.

His performance of it at yesterday’s bonanza doubtlessly prompted many people to ask: “Eddy Grant - whatever happened to him, eh?”
The singer last toured in this country 22 years ago. His big moment came in the early eighties, with massive hits such as “I Don’t Wanna Dance” and “Electric Avenue”, but some time after “Gimme Hope Jo’anna”, he slipped off the pop radar.

Eddy Grant Eddy Grant
By coincidence, Eddy had long been planning a world tour this summer, to follow on from his 60th birthday in March. The Mandela concert came at a fortuitous time. By an even greater coincidence, he has been rehearsing for it in Johannesburg - the Jo’anna of the tune’s title.

He explained to the Telegraph how his search for a backing band led him here - to a group of newly unemployed musicians, who had served many years behind Lucky Dube, the South African reggae titan who was shot dead by carjackers in Johannesburg last October.
The unrest in Alexandra township, where black South Africans have been beating and killing immigrants and refugees from neighbouring countries such as Zimbabwe, means that their nearby rehearsal studio is off limits.

The irony of discussing an anti-apartheid protest song, whose mission to “make Jo’anna see how everybody could a-live as one” could now be levelled at black-on-black aggressors in the city, clearly weighs heavily on Eddy‘s mind.

“Xenophobia is a big issue here,” he says, “but it’s not exclusive to South Africa. I’m not making excuses for South Africa, but I have come to understand the way the world works. I’ve been telling people here, ‘This thing will pass, just like apartheid passed.’“
Some might be surprised to hear Eddy speaking with such sage-like authority. In critical circles at least, he is dismissively remembered as an opportunist British answer to Bob Marley, a purveyor of “reggae-lite”.

That assessment is wide of the mark: his biggest hits had an electro-pop dimension, which was astonishingly forward-thinking for its time. It’s also a little-known fact that he wrote, performed, produced and released all of them himself, on his own label. In the mid-eighties, he shrewdly acquired the publishing rights to his back catalogue, with the result that, unlike the vast majority of artists, all the royalties for his work go to him.

In Guyana, where he was born, and lived until he was 12, Eddy is a national hero, a role model for self-advancement. His face has adorned four different postage stamps. He left there when his father, a jazz trumpeter, moved the family to a cramped basement in Kentish Town, north London. As a black immigrant in sixties Britain, Eddy was inspired by British pop, as well as James Brown, whose self-determination he later sought to emulate. He made his first sortie into music-making in the late sixties as lead guitarist with arguably Britain’s first inter-racial beat group, the Equals. He wrote their number one hit, “Baby Come Back”.

After three years of intensive touring, he suffered a heart attack and retreated from the limelight. In his newly-bought pile in Stamford Hill, he built Europe’s first black-owned recording studio, then, equally ground-breakingly, set up his own label, Ice Records, and even his own record-pressing plant.

“I wanted to own a black bank, too,” he adds, “because I couldn’t get the money to support my ideas.” When he came back as a solo artist in 1979 with “Living on the Front Line”, his empire was in place. He duly moved back to the Caribbean, not to Guyana, but to a historic plantation house in Barbados. There, he built another studio, and recorded his big album, 1981’s ‘Killer on the Rampage’, much of it charged with subtle political messages.

“‘I Don’t Wanna Dance’ can mean that you don’t want to go out on the dance floor,” he says, “or it could mean that you don’t want to go along with an idea. That’s how I try to write: you take it how you want, but I am basically a writer of protest.” In that light, the song was his farewell to Britain as a land of class and colour divisions. His run of UK hits was broken when “War Party” was denied airplay during the Falklands conflict. Thereafter, Eddy focused his efforts on his native region.

Ice Records began a programme of calypso re-issues, a beneficent gesture, which may have been funded by more businesslike ventures such as the bastardised version of “Gimme Hope Jo’anna” used on an advert for a yogurt drink.

Eddy continued to release his own music locally, and mentored a raft of young Caribbean artists, whom he has provided with a generic identity, Ringbang, and a strong capitalistic and cultural ethos. “If we’re going to sell ourselves to America,” he reasons, “our value to them is being who we are, not trying to be them. That’s why preserving the old music is important. The world is made up of many different people. If you were to put all their strengths together, then you might get a better world.”

At 60, Eddy is in fabulous shape (being teetotal has surely helped). He’s a tough cookie, certainly not shy of bigging himself up, and only rarely given to moments of expansive idealism.

It transpires that he has spent a fair amount of time in Africa, having set up a distribution deal there in the eighties. So, “Gimme Hope Jo’anna” was written out of experience, not airy-fairy political correctness.

Eddy also plays at Glastonbury Festival tomorrow. On Monday, his 10-date UK tour opens in Brighton, and ‘The Road to Reparation: The Very Best of Eddy Grant’ is released, through a one-off deal with Universal.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Lyrics - Mystic GT Girl

She's my baby she's my one and only
she's a girl she will never leave me
she's the one who will always be by my side
she's my princess she will never leave me
she's a girl she will never hurt me
She's the one who will always my number one

Beautiful, intelligent and charming for sure
You got the kind of touch that keeps you wanting for more
They will [I have no idea what he says here] strickly hardcore
That's a typical GT girl
They'll Take good care of you just be faithful to them,
They'll be your companion and your best friend
They will stick to you to the very end
And I'm lucky to have one of them

Mannerly kind and well courteous
The kind of girl who will love you up and give you their trust
the way the walk the way the talk will sure to make you lust
that's a typial GT girl
You're looking for a woman that's a virtuous one
who has what it takes to fulfill Jah plan
You found what you've been looking for so long
Well now you can sing this song

I feel so lucky to be here in GT,
To be amongst so many beauties for sure
And I have my baby she's a real cutie
A real Nubian beauty for sure

Accolade - Guyana Music Awards

Saw this on Guyana is going to get a music awards show of it's own.
And the award for best male artists goes to??

The Vision

Accolade coincides with the strategic efforts to “promote Guyana”, by showcasing its rich and diverse arts and cultures. The unique exhibition of our local talent (at another level) is the continuation of the unleashing of our vast potentials in the music industry.

Once again Guyana will be making its mark in the international arena by rewarding artistic excellence in the music industry through a premier event comparable to international Award shows such as the Grammy’s and the one produced by BET.

Indeed, the line up of fantastic performances will represent a climax for the local entertainment diehards and at the same time promote and represent a hype for the local music industry. Guyanese are asked to prepare themselves for an event which can only be billed as an excellent experience - from red carpet entrances to outstanding local and regional performances from a mind blowing awards ceremony to interational celebrity endorsements.

The music industry is at a critical crossroad and deserves every effort to highlight its achievements, motivate its artistes, elevate standards, encourage artistic excellence and utilize talents that may be inclined to engage in negative endeavours.

It is both opportune and ideal that this venture, capitalizing on the positive experiences coming out of Guyana’s successful hosting of Cricket World Cup, (CWC), Rio Summit, Guyana Fashion Weekend and Commonwealth Finance Minister’s Meeting, (CFMM) all held in 2007 and CARIFESTA 2008, be staged at this time.

This celebration of achievements in the music industry will be Guyana’s most prestigous gala event.

“Arrowhead” our promotional group (registered under Business Names: Registration Act Chapter 90:05) is therefore desrious of advancing strategic partnership for high-level media coverage and public participation as part of our inclusive approach to maximize the potential of the music industry.

The Objectives

To recognise, appreciate and reward local artiste and music professionals for their contributions to the striving music industry in Guyana.
To extend motivation and provide exposure for local artistes, all relevant to the growth and development of the music industry in Guyana.
To provide an opportunity for local artistes to market and highlight their talent as a product.
To enocurage and promote qaulity as well as to increase meaningful involvement in an effort to ensure the overall development of the music industry in Guyana.
Live up to the prestige and challenge!

With an event of this magnitude, the music industry will catapult to a new level providing great benefits to be derived all for the maximum advantage of your company.

Coming fully on board will facilitate the upward climb of business by connectiing with thousands of locals, overseas-based Guyanese and non-resident visitors from North America, United Kingdom and Caribbean to more than six events during an eight-month period.

Proposed Dates and Activities

The fantasy of creative entertainment!

June 6th 2008 - Official Media Launch

July 25th 2008 - Cocktail Launch

October 4th 2008 - Accolade Fashion Event

November 30th 2008 - Pre-Show & Cocktail Party Accolade Awards & Mega Show

Friday, June 6, 2008

First Born - Got Style

Firstborn - Irits

Firstborn - Irits

FirstBorn - Headlines

Spotlight: Firstborn

First Born stands for:

F - Forever
I - Inspirational
R - Reaching
S - Souls
T - Teaching
B - Brotherhood
O - Obedience
R - Righteousness
N - Naturally

Guyanese by birth, Rastafarian (by choice) to their very core, this quintet delivers a strain of Reggae music that exuded, spirituality, culture, tremendous brotherly love and originality. Originally conceived as an accapella outfit in the 1990’s, they achieved a breakthrough in 1997 with a live showcase on the Freddy Mc Greggor concert at the Guyana National park, promoted by Vizion Sounds, Walter ‘Wally’ Fraser. The existing of the then line up Troy Azore, Shawn Williams, Trayon Garrett and Lambert Semple, so impressed ‘Wally’ and the late great Dennis Emmanuel Brown with their unique originality that Wally signed them to his label VIZION SOUNDS RECORDS and Dennis Brown offered his special vocals on their debut single ‘Repatriation Time’. This track featuring prominently on their acclaimed follow up album ‘Exodus Chapter XIII Verse 2’ which was recorded at Leggo’s Studio, Kingston, Jamaica with saxophone contribution and musical direction by the magical Dean Fraser. The album gaining two Guyana National Awards for Best New Artists and Best New Group. Rolston Richmond was now welcomed to the unit and has ever since positively added to what is FIRST BORN

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Copyrights Laws

Modern copyright law still an aspiration

By Gaulbert Sutherland

Almost nine years after President Bharrat Jagdeo said that an updated copyright law was key to the country’s development and voiced his intention to have this in place by the following year, Guyana still has no modern legislation and renewed calls are being made for this in time for CARIFESTA.

But it is highly unlikely that such protection will be afforded to artistes and producers during the regional arts festival, which is due to be held in the latter part of August. Currently, there are consultations ongoing on a draft bill but Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony told Stabroek News earlier this year that he did not believe that this would be completed in time for CARIFESTA.

Notwithstanding this, the Guyana Art and Craft Pro-ducers Association (GACPA) is planning to present a petition to the Culture Ministry shortly in an effort to have some form of protection available for locally produced work before the festival.

Back in 1999, President Jagdeo had said that updated copyright laws were key to the country’s development and had stated that he intended to have a draft bill, in circulation at the time, in place by the following year. This, however, has not materialized. Questioned on this last week, former Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Gail Teixeira said that the opposition of a group to the draft bill back in 1999 had an impact on it not being laid in parliament.

Copyright infringement is rampant in Guyana and over the years, various artistes and other persons have raised concerns about the lack of such legislation and its effects on their livelihood. Many have left these shores stating that they could not make a living here because of the dearth of such laws.
There have been calls made by persons questioning the effects the lack of such laws would have on artistic works during the regional festival and local entertainer, Rudy Grant, in a letter to this newspaper last year, had said that artistes should boycott Mashramani and CARIFESTA unless copyright laws are enforced. The GACPA too, is calling for some form of copyright protection before the regional festival comes to Guyana.

General Secretary of the association, Denzil Hollingsworth said that with CARIFESTA coming to Guyana’s shores, protection for the works of local artistes and craft producers is vital. She said that the association is seeking copyright protection for local music, crafts and other items produced here and has signed a petition, which they hope to present to the Culture Minister shortly. She said that they are hoping that something can be done before CARIFESTA “because we will have people coming from all parts of the world and we want to protect our stuff”. Hollingsworth alluded to the presence of Chinese-made craft on the market and said that at the moment, the 105-member association is focusing on the protection of locally made artistic works. She asserted that protection is critical so as to encourage continued production.

Local authors of books and textbooks have also complained bitterly about the theft of their work and bookstores have also been in the forefront of the campaign for an updated law.

Cultural issues
Speaking with Stabroek News on the issue last week, Teixeira, who is now the Presidential Advisor on Governance, said that copyright has to do with a number of issues and at the time that she was Culture minister, the one-day consultation that was held on copyright had been focused on cultural issues. She said that at the time Anthony Vieira of the Independent Media Associa-tion had passionately opposed the bill. “It certainly had an impact”, she said, when asked whether this was the reason that it was not laid in parliament as planned.

However, when contacted, Vieira said that he had attended the consultation in his private capacity and as a TV station owner and declared that he had neither supported nor opposed the bill. He said that he had pointed out that that draft legislation was transcribed in a manner that excluded the then GBC and GTV from copyright infringement. “She (Teixeira) was saying that everyone would pay copyright except the GBC”, he stated adding that Teixeira promised that this would be rectified but was never done. He said that after this was pointed out the meeting broke up and another was never held. The television station owner said too that the bill had sought to discriminate between protection for locally produced works and foreign ones and declared that what applied to one had to apply to all.

Meantime, Teixeira stated that copyright was not only about protecting music and artistes but encompasses other aspects such as trademarks as well and is made up of different types of legislation. She said that the consultation held at the Umana Yana in 1999 was to deal with issues relating to culture and a number of recommendations had been made. But, she noted, the issue of an independent regional Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) to collect and pay out royalties, was a bugbear, not only in Guyana but in the Caribbean.

The Presidential advisor noted though that the Deeds Registry has a copyright desk, where copyright can be registered. “Copyright means nothing unless you register what you have produced”, she said.
Speaking on the issue back in 1999, Jagdeo had said that the priority given to have the legislation enacted was not driven by any pressure on his government to do so. “There is no pressure that I am aware of, with the exception that I feel that it is needed to be in place for our country to move forward”, he had stated. He had said that he found it necessary for the development of some sectors such as “the music industry, the computer software (industry), and some other areas. That’s why I am putting it up as a priority, not because of any pressure.”

The legislation would have replaced the existing Act, which is substantially the 1956 Copyright Act of the United Kingdom insofar as it forms part of the Laws of Guyana. The UK has since updated its Copyright Act and several CARICOM states such as Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia and Belize have enacted copyright legislation. Guyana is a signatory to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and is also a member of the World Intellec-tual Property Organization (WIPO).

Trinidad implemented a modern law several weeks ago and it has already begun to have an effect on persons who sell pirated DVDs. (See story on page 5.)
Dr. Anthony had told this newspaper earlier this year that the issue could be approached in two ways, either by making incremental changes to existing legislation or more comprehensive changes and because of the many implications of such laws, discussions had still been ongoing. It is not clear at which stage the consultations are at now.

Copyright law, basically seeks to protect the owners of intellectual property of all kinds so that they can benefit from their creations. This includes literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works, sound recordings, films, broadcasts and cable programmes. The law provides that no one may reproduce these without the permission of the owner of the copyright who is often the author but may be the publisher, broadcaster or other person. In most cases, those persons will require a payment of a fee as a price for giving their consent. These fees vary in different circumstances.

Monday, June 2, 2008

StruckRoot - M

StruckRoot is a four-piece rock band from Guyana, South America now based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The current line-up comprises of Ricardo Dupret on Vocals, Andre Rahaman on Guitars, Rawle Staunton on Bass and Samuel Constantine on Drums.
The band was formed in March 2004 by guitarist Andre Rahaman and drummer Jude Mendonca who played together previously in a few local bands. Ricardo Dupret was later recruited in April as the band vocalist along with Romeo Yong as their bass guitarist.

Following the success of numerous live shows performing cover songs and developing a strong fan base within the local rock scene, StruckRoot began working on original material to help promote the band locally and record their first Demo EP. During this period Romeo Yong was replaced as bass guitarist, following the return of Jude Mendonca who took a short break from the band only to depart once again due to personal reasons. StruckRoot continued performing live shows throughout the next two years with various bass guitarists and new drummer Samuel Constantine.

In June 2007, StruckRoot began recording at the Brutal Tracks Studio in Guyana, three original songs for their Twisted World Demo EP. Bass guitars were contributed by Rawle Staunton who filled the vacant bass slot in January 2008.

The Twisted World Demo EP includes the songs: Twisted World, The Passing and Purify (now available at

Influences of the band include Metallica, Alter Bridge, Alice In Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Pink Floyd, Sevendust and Tool.

StruckRoot relocated to Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2008 to promote their music to a wider audience. The band recently participated in the Manifest Rock Fest held at the Manifesto Rock Bar in Sao Paulo.

Sign up now with our mailing list at Reverbnation and download Purify for free!

Contact info:

Tel: Andre: 55-11-8814-5770 / Ricardo: 55-11-8825-2602



Roger Anthony - Answer dem

Roger Anthony - Answer dem

In the News: Roger Anthony aka 'Brains'

Electric Roger from Brains guy to Brutal Jammers front man
Published May 31, 2008
By Iana Seales (Stabroek News)

Roger HassellThe cool aura, electric vibes, raw energy and identifiable voice that defines Brutal Jammers front man Roger Hassell is dished out so often in the local entertainment circuit he has become the poster child of consistent, quality entertainment and is still slogging it out on local soil.

His laid-back attitude readily exposed by the casual clothing on and off stage; the unfussy tone in his voice and that particular facial expression that says, “What’s the big deal?” sort of completes the package of who Roger appears to be.

But without hesitating or attempting to put into words exactly who he is, Roger tells The Scene in an interview on Thursday that he is the same guy whether on stage, in the studio, on the street. There is simply no difference.

But is this the same guy who appeared in those Brains Watch World television advertisements playing the role of a dumb shopper? It is, and the difference a few years made was tremendous. Roger went from Brains employee creating and appearing in ads for the business, to lead vocalist in Brutal Jammers — the top band in the country by any measure, though bookings alone sets it apart.

“I love what I do and have come a far way since Brains. People actually call me Brains, sometimes people I have never seen before. My story is probably the same as everyone else’s, hard work and commitment,” the entertainer says.

He is in one of the studios at Swansea on Waterloo Street where his band and work is based sitting mere inches away from his equipment. Though focused on the interview his eyes wander every few minutes in the direction of the equipment as if his work was silently calling.

Roger admits that work consumes him pointing out that Brutal Jammers is always rehearsing in an effort to stay on top and to perfect its craft. Daily hours are scheduled for rehearsals and he is so serious about every session he rarely misses any.

“It is not play at all and Brutal Jammers can get way much better, we need only practice and keep things going without slacking up. There is always room for error but if we stay focused then the possibility reduces,” Roger said.

He mixes no words about how good Brutal Jammers is, something he credits to the band’s appeal to audiences of all age and its ability to do covers very well. Additionally, he says, the band carefully selects its repertoire for every show and practices within that particular limit. Sometimes Brutal Jammers is booked twice a month and other times, it ends up doing four shows. This, he says, requires that band members put in the hours.

TV to Front man
While still in school Roger and group of friends formed a singing group and performed under the name, ‘Heartbeat’. The group had about eight songs in its collection, the most popular being an R&B number titled, “I’m Sorry”. After three years, the group lost its heartbeat and broke up. Roger says he found employment with Brains Watch World during that time and remained with the store for about three years. He recalls that one day the owner approached him saying that he wanted to do an advertisement. Roger was asked to come up with an idea and after running into local comedian Habeeb Khan, he had an idea and moments later, an ad. The ad was a hit among local audiences and similar ads followed. Roger was officially the ‘Brains guy’.

But Roger teamed up with the Fireclan band while working at Brains and got experience performing at shows. Three years after working with Brains he left to join Brutal Jammers and had also made the decision to leave Fireclan.

When he joined Brutal Jammers Roger says the potential was there for him to grow and for the band to get stronger. It took a few months and soon enough things started falling into place. He says people started booking the band often and crowds started responding in unexpected ways.

Brutal Jammers now plays at almost every show in the country with Roger leading the group in his usual, electric way. The band has played at Crop Over in Barbados and also in Jamaica. Though he loves teaming up with other band members to perform, he points out that solos give him the opportunity to really dig deep and show that individuality that defines him.

Roger reveals that he has around nine songs of his own, one of which is now receiving airplay – “Like that”. He says the song has an R&B flavour to it but points out that he also does reggae, soca and dancehall.

He is also part of a recently formed group called “Cowboys” that also includes local singers, Island Man, Mystic and Bishop. The group already has two songs out, “She want me” and “She rob me” that are creating quite a buzz. Roger hastens to add that no particular female was in mind when the songs were written.

In terms of collaboration, he is eyeing possible projects with some of the best in local music - Timeka Marshall, X2 and Malo.

One thing is for sure, Roger will be carrying the Brutal Jammers band right into Carifesta and beyond. Though he would not put a timeframe on it, he says that eventually he will leave to start a solo career. For now, he is comfortable, satisfied and looking forward to rocking local shows in the way only he knows how.