In a searching sort of way the question can be asked whether the Kross Kolor duo of Adrian Dutchin and Jumo Primo has really set the standard in Guyanese music and manager Burchmore Simon would eagerly say yes, but whether the singers have or not a new kind of interest is certainly there.
“They have set it… the history and the record will show that they have set the standard because prior to the release of ‘Krazy’ Guyanese music was actually d-e-a-d. And I know I might be chastised for this but that is the truth,” Simon said at a pre-launch on Thursday for the group’s first studio album. Simon believes that the track, “Krazy” was the beginning of a beautiful revelation in local music.
The Bonny Alves and Eze Rockcliffes among others are well respected and recognized for the trail they blazed, but Simon is of the opinion that Jomo and Adrian revolutionized the way Guyanese music has connected to audiences here and abroad; that basically they have changed the game.
The frenzy that X2 (Jumo and Adrian) creates serves as the rationale for what Simon has said.
It has been five years, longer than it actually seems, since X2 first released the single “Krazy” and created an interest that previously was not there. Simon feels that they have “brought Kross Kolor and Guyana intense recognition” saying they now have a fan base in Europe. Incidentally, the duo will tour Europe next year following a request from a producer in Amsterdam who heard their sound and was fascinated. Simon disclosed on Thursday that the producer is spending some 35,000 euros on pre-tour promotional activities alone.
The success story that is X2 unfolds to a new chapter tonight when the album, ‘Kross Roads’ is officially launched at Duke Lodge. The album is the end of five years’ work beginning from the release of first single, offering a taste of a few songs previously recorded and 12 new tracks. It also includes a reggae remix of ‘Krazy’. Prior to the album launch X2 had released ten singles.
“Well you know this is who!” Jumo exclaimed on Thursday in his signature style before he went on to explain that the album embodies what they have represented over the years.
Adrian, the showman of X2, was quick to point out that the album is fresh saying that it also celebrates what is local. “The album is there for people to judge. Hopefully people will go out and buy it, listen to it, love it and spread the word,” Adrian added. He said the journey over the years “was not easy”, adding that people never get to see the struggles.
In breaking down the new album, Simon said the basic ingredient which makes it fresh “is how the guys sound”. He said the album also moves away from digitalizing the sound and more emphasis has been placed on indigenous sounds given that a few percussion instruments were used. He also said that the sound is more acoustic.
As for a favourite track, he said, there is something for everyone including R&B and reggae, but Simon feels a little more connected to the track titled, “They Don’t Know’. According to him, it is a slow ballad type song which brings out the struggles of X2, “this is the track that has the least going on in it but it tells the real story,” he said.
X2 was one of the first local groups to be signed by corporate Guyana when it entered into a contract with U-Mobile and today it continues a relationship with Digicel.
Donovan White, Marketing Director at Digicel commended the group for developing Guyanese music to the level where it is on the crest of “great opportunities”. He noted that the home-grown talent of Adrian and Jumo has reached other Caribbean territories through their exploits with two regional bands. Jumo has been performing with Bryon Lee and the Dragonnaries while Adrian linked up with Krosfyah.
“I dare you to go out and buy the album,” White urged yesterday. “Don’t pirate it. Don’t beg them. Don’t steal their work. This is their blood, sweat and tears. They have done it because of you to put Guyana on the map.”
Simon, who is the Executive Producer on the album, explained that he has travelled and heard the music of X2 being played on New York streets. He said too that the Amsterdam producer who is linking up with the group next year actually heard the X2 sound coming from a café and investigated. The producer emailed Simon repeatedly, but the mails were ignored because they were in Dutch. The producer later visited Suriname and met another producer who knows Simon.
X2 album launch has been touted as the biggest to hit the country and the first in High Definition television. It gets underway tonight at around 10 o’clock. (firstname.lastname@example.org)