Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Black, but proud of what?

 I read this and was very inspired to share. Have a read! peace!

Written by Michael A. Dingwall


During this season of independence and emancipation celebrations, I am reminded that as a black man I should be proud. However, when I look at my race, I find it very difficult to boast about pride.

Perhaps the most obvious area where we as a race continue to lag is in the field of science and technology. There can be no doubt. The black man has been virtually absent where innovations in science and technology are concerned. Indeed, if it were not for the scientific and technological innovations of others, we would all die of starvation.

However, it is not only the scientific and technological innovations of others that our lives depend on. Whenever one thinks of famine or economic failure, the first place that comes to mind is black Africa. Somalia and other parts of east Africa are now in the midst of a terrible famine. Millions have died in wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and other states. Swaziland and Haiti are prime examples of how nations should never be governed.

All of these cases are examples of our failure to manage our affairs. How can any black man be proud when he was better off as a subject of a European empire than as a citizen of his own nation? There is not a single strong black nation today. South Africa was built by white apartheid; we blacks only provided the labour, so it doesn’t count.

We see where others have taken control of their destiny and are moving forward. We, on the other had, continue to live in the past. Our outdated need for reparations for slavery continues to sustain our victim mentality and our desire to have everybody else pity us. We still continue to think that the rest of the world owes us something. How can any black man be proud of this?

Great peoples think great things. We, on the other hand, continue to think small. That is why we continue to think that we are great when we produce record-breaking athletes, renowned musicians and other entertainers. We continue to see the building of strong and influential nations and great accomplishments in the sciences as feats others must do.

In other words, we continue to think like children. Until we are prepared to grow up, I, as a black man will never be proud!

Victims of the Nationwide Lock down experiment!!

Ok citizens we are officially Lab Rats of the system! The Prime Minister does not know what to do, so we are victims of the Nationwide Lock down experiment!! They are clueless??? And Does anyone else find it ironic that or at least sadly symbolic that the celebration of our INDEPENDENCE is now canceled for the first time in decades ?? We are now officially slaves of the system.. The revolution has begun.. It will not be televised. Peace!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Dayo Bejide Trio/Jazz Project present Music for World Peace! fundraiser

Dayo Bejide Trio/Jazz Project present Music for World Peace! fundraiser

played on Saturday, July 16  2011 at Studio 66 Art Space, Barataria, Trinidad 
thumbed by Nigel Campbell, the Blackberry Bro and embellished by Israel

On Saturday, July 16  2011, Dayo Bejide Trio and the Dayo Bejide Jazz Project provided Studio 66 Art Space on Barataria 6th Street with an ambience for a new vibe, which begs the question, “Is this the new kaiso?  If so, I am witnessing a revelation.”

Ask the leader, Modupe Folasade Onilu, and he would explain the organic concept something like this: “This is a new sound in the Trinidad Jazz sphere - percussion with a lighter touch and a focused rhythm that swings while staying in the groove of all that is Afro-Caribbean,carrying you to a place where you capture sounds and identify them with images…forcing you to reminisce.

The sounds elicited were a unique combination of ‘organic’ percussion – including home-made flute and percussion instruments – with vocals and a Jazz component borne by the saxophone, keyboards and bass, hence a combined Trio and Jazz Project.

What I heard were testaments that must be recorded and distributed using modern methods.  Trinis and the world need to validate this art, the likes of which were displayed at Studio 66 by Muhammed Muwakil doing ”New God City” poetry, Jah Mortel Emortel spitting lyrics with the Trio, Ras Kass and John John, not to mention Jesse Ryan and Kepha Yaseph.

Special mention of Jesse’s saxophone solo lead on “Da Truth”, an organic jazz original as only this island of polyglot cultures can produce and Kepha’s detuning of his guitar on unique compositions, is in order.  While Jesse presided over a warm Caribbean Jazz vibe, or a Saharan fantasy if you prefer, Kepha and his “nu-folk” tunings were damn impressive…like Eddie Vedder.
Great stuff tonight Modupe!!! Great vibe and the compositions were fantastic…” (Anthony Woodroffe)
This event, dubbed “Music for World Peace!” was in fact a fundraiser, the proceeds going towards recording this music to CD and the cost of designing the packaging.  Great!

My understanding too is that the Dayo Bejide Jazz Project and the Dayo Bejide Trio have conceptualised a studio collaboration to promote world peace, passion and spirituality via the music of Kepha Yaseph of the Tri0 – a true Caribbean “folk” trio if ever there was one - and Onilu’s vision for healing the world with his gift of music.  They believe that now is the time to get the message out to the world!  This was, therefore, just one of many fund-raising events to come.

Dare I say, Modupe’s “drumcussion” rig anchors this Jazz Project to unique perfection.  And the 60′s Beat poets, well they have nothing on this original, native acoustic music.  As for merchandising as a fundraising tool?  That gets my support.
Rapso evolved!  Modupe, please record!
Dayo Bejide musicians:

Modupe Onilu – Multi Instrumentalist
Baba Onilu – Organic percussionist/Tribal Drummer
Kepha Yaseph – Vocalists/guitarist/woodwind
Nigel Supersad-Dseconds Pannist
Jesse Ryan – Saxophone
Mark Brewster – Keyboardist
Kevon La Fleur – Bass

BUSH ROCK (aka Kepha Yahseph)

BUSH ROCK (aka Kepha Yahseph) – Jazz & Fusion Tuesdays, August 09  2011
Jazz fused with the spoken word…

played on Tuesday, August 09 at La Casa de Ibiza Lounge, Trinidad 
thumbed by Nigel Campbell, the Blackberry Bro and embellished by Israel

Ask Bush Rock to describe his musical philosophy and he would go so far as to say he is “…not a soca or reggae artist.” Fine.

Ask him to categorise his art and his response would deepen:  ”I  delve into the “Ambience of Atmospheres.”  He explains. “[All] instruments used in my music produce a natural sound, a bass line of classic funk accompanied by an electric guitar of delicate rock that alternates.”  Get it?
Ask him if his art is limited to making music with instruments and he would add, “Poetry [is a] major part of my foundation… [It] has enriched my experience over the years and has ushered me unto stages graced by POETRY ICONS such as Mrs. Pearl Eintou-Springer, Dr. Leroy Clarke, Sir Earl Lovelace and Brother Resistance.
Ask me to break that code and I would surmise that the bamboo flute in the hands of Bush Rock aka Kepha Yaseph is a musical instrument making a musical statement.  This is not the Native American flute of ambient new age phoniness; it is more like Native American sonority giving way to North African symbolism and sound, a “bushrock” original.  Put it this way, Kepha is a World musician who could become accessible to a global audience if he has a well-produced product available to all.  He that good!
On August 09, Kepha was in the good company of Dayo Bejide’s Onilu brothers, Jahmortel…and violinist Harold Beckles at La Casa de Ibiza in Port of Spain.
Beckles stood out with his rather adventurous wandering through the audience with his wireless violin playing to Kepha’s Caribbean neo-folk and energizing the leader’s acoustic musings.  That was not simply brilliant; it proves he is an original.
For his part, Jahmortel’s insightful lyrics of nu-calypso lyricism and rap-so – with Alanis Morrisette and Tracy Chapman heard in nuance – to masterful musicianship before a kiss-me-ass handful of statues as an audience is a travesty!  Nah Trinidad, allyuh missing out big time.  Bush Rock is alive!  We need to hear more of this.
The cover of Seal’s “Kiss From A Rose” places in my mind the stylistic influences of this singer; Kepha is an original in Trinidad.  And he is a good, good songwriter, a good musician…and a good singer.
Supporting Kepha was the Dayo Bejide Jazz Project (Mark Brewster on keys, Kevon LaFleur on bass, Jesse Ryan on sax and Modupe Onilu on “drumcussion“).  They performed original music from their forthcoming CD, “Music For World Peace”.  These guys are modern, traditional and organic all at once.
Quartet on The Middle East” and “The Truth” are two compositions of Modupe.  Brewster and Ryan’s improvised jazz conversation juxtapose beautifully with the rhythmic constant of Modupe and LaFleur.  I dare say Modupe is a songwriter who has listened well.
Phrasing à la Alanis comes to the fore in this “quintology” devoted to love once more.  Then there is the Country blues, jazz, folk, bushrock.  Speaking of which, a little rock ‘n’ to get the point of his lyrics on the ups and downs of love is slipped into the set.  Love not easy!  Bushrock rules!
‎As the name implies, “Portal of Birth” is the sound of the womb with the rhythm of the heart – music organically derived and influenced by the global village of sound.  ”Portal” is a musical collage with ostinato guitar, percussion, flute and electric violin.
That spectrum of New World African music is heard all up in the compositions of Kepha Yaseph, a testament to the influence a Trinidad existence has on its musicians who are brave to walk this path with dignity and skill.  Bravura performance.
Man, the sooner Kepha records, the better for all of us as we will be richer in the options of musical choices.

Jewels of Nature – The Organic Jazz Trio

Jewels of Nature – The Organic Jazz Trio @ Jazz & Fusion Tuesdays

played on Tuesday, August 02  2011 at La Casa de Ibiza Lounge, Trinidad 
thumbed by Nigel Campbell, the Blackberry Bro and embellished by Israel

Jajah Oga Onilu and his sons Modupe Folasade Onilu and Baba Ayinde Onilu have recreated on handmade instruments the sounds and music of origin in the tropical “forests” and living communities of the New World, Brazil, the Caribbean and Africa — Northern and sub-Saharan — the sonic influences made real by these Jewels of Nature.
Jewels Of Nature is a father and son trio that brings to life nature in her harmonious forms imitating her sounds like no other.
Jahjah’s instruments, the fiddle and guitar are made of original elements, bamboo, calabash gourd and tree branch.  The iconic drummer provided music for Astor Johnson Dance Company back in the day; today, the stasis of awe is evident.  Modupe is the ‘drumcussionist‘ whose forte is a commingling of percussion instruments and the modern drum kit.
It all came together for Jewels of Nature at La Casa de Ibiza’s Jazz & Fusion Tuesdays Emancipation Celebration where the trio presented a two-part programme: “Organic Awakening” and “Organic Jazz.”
In Part 1, the audience sits mesmerized into silence by the Jewel’s original creativity.
I remember Osibisa in the 1970s –still performing today by the way.  They have an “engine room” like Jewels of Nature, which makes me wonder if a collaboration with an electric sound would not move audiences to dance.  A possibility to engage a wider audience should not be seen as a sell-out.  The pity for Jewels of Nature is the musicians are viewed as museum pieces, not as troubadours providing danceable music for the spirit.
‎”Organic Jazz,” the 2nd set theme, sees supreme Songbird Patti Rogers singing “Nature Boy” sans chordal instruments. Sublime!
As for Jahjah, a sound reminiscent of the oud put him in the realm of Hamza El Din but with the Caribbean spirit alive.
As the programme progresses, it seems that some of these instrumental pieces could very well do with a voice or some sort of vocal haze.  Shorn of the power of voice, we are not given the full potential of this performance, in my opinion anyway.
I must have commented on the lack of voice a bit too soon.  Enter Dr. Shango Alamu.  His blues for the environment is entitled “Sad fo Mother Nature.”  All Jewels of Nature follow suit chanting and making the audience sing along…and play too!  Drums are thrown into the crowd for instant rhythm lessons!
In the meantime, Modupe’s percussion rig gets bigger.  A tenor pan is added to various idiophones and ‘membranophones‘ empowering Modupe to put down a “jazzy” cymbal ride and Jahjah to throb on a single string bass made with a gourd.  Patti Rogers’ scatting cannot be subdued…Organic Jazz indeed.
New Orleans trumpet be damned, Jahjah pulls out a long horn like he going to blow down Jericho wall.  Now it’s a bamboo saxophone…Modupe on a kerosene tin pan…and JahJah’s flute, which has all the nuanced “phrasings” to stand up on a jazz stage anywhere.
Jahjah is similarly phenomenal doing Spoken Word.  His makes a whole lot more sense that these neophytes sprouting words that they have not lived as yet!  That, plus he has a rhythm section making words into music.  To be clear, Jahjah the composer is a patriarch in this nation of music that men like Lancelot Layne, Brother Resistance and Karega Mandela worked with to develop rapso.  I say so!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Music with a Purpose: Modupe Onilu

Percussionist and multi-instrumentalist Modupe Onilu is only 25-years old, but having played his first gig at age eight he boasts 17 years of musical experience. The last nine of these have been professional. Today, April 17 at La Casa de Ibiza, Tragarete Road, Port of Spain, Onilu will showcase his many years of experience by headlining a benefit concert to raise funds towards his continuing education.

This will be the first fund-raising event hosted by Onilu with his band, Dayo Bejide Jazz Project. Dayo Bejide is merely 16 months old, but has gained popularity through local performances at Satchmo’s Jazz Restaurant, Trinidad Theatre Workshop and other private events.

Proceeds from the show will go towards Onilu’s participation in summer programmes at the esteemed Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Other vibrant local talents to be featured in the show include the violin group, Alternative Quartet, pan soloist, Mikhail Salcedo, the Vaughnette Bigford Acoustic Quartet, comedian and dramatist Darryl “Doza” Mendoza and a special guest artiste.

The experience Onilu boasts is by no means average; he has worked with such greats as David Rudder, Etienne Charles, Len “Boogsie” Sharpe and Machel Montano to name only a few. Being the son of master percussionist, Jajah Oga Onilu, and possessing a surname that means drummer, music was sure to be a part of Onilu’s destiny.
A self-proclaimed cultural activist, Onilu’s music is vital to this work – work making music that has a purpose. “My focus right now is music for world peace,” says Onilu. “When I perform I also try to talk to the audience about culture, life and give them a different voice.”
Onilu’s work as a musician-activist does not end with enlightening audiences. He also teaches percussion to students at the Russell Latapy Secondary School in Laventille, where he was raised and still resides. “My real reason for teaching at the school is to help that generation of Laventille youths to have some kind of hope and to know that it’s not only guns and drugs in Laventille”
Onilu says although teaching is challenging, it is also a fun learning experience and he is committed to giving back to his community. He plans to have a concert in the neighbourhood but figuring out how to navigate popular culture and simultaneously make jazz appeal to a broad demographic is proving difficult. “The wider audience in Laventille is more exposed to violent dancehall music. It can be negative, if you want to call it that” Onilu says apprehensively. “But at the end of the day its music. It's influential and I’m working on it.”
For his own education, Onilu plans to rely on friends, family and other members of the public willing to help. Rather than source money from government scholarship, which he sees as a complicated task, Onilu prefers to raise funds through private sponsors and old-fashioned fund-raisers. “It doesn’t make sense for me to go to the government for funding because they are part of the problem I’m trying to fix.”
Keeping in line with his activism, Onilu will also showcase an original composition entitled “Quartet on the Middle East”. The composition will be accompanied by a slideshow of photos and is dedicated to the end of wars in that region.

Onilu plans to use the summer programme primarily to enhance his skills and further his education, but recognises that the possibilities are endless at Berklee “A lot of students I know didn’t even finish at Berklee because someone saw them, pulled them on a tour and they never went back.” For Onilu, however, this summer programme will be the first of many and he is working towards one of the Trinidadian musician’s ultimate goals. “For a lot of musicians in Trinidad it’s a dream to study at the Berklee.”
For more information about the show, Modupe Onilu or Dayo Bejide Jazz Project, contact Onilu via email at or check out his fan pages on Facebook by searching: Modupe Folasade Onilu,Jewels of Nature or Dayo Bejide Jazz Project.

By Zahra Gordon-Trinidad Express Newspaper

Dayo Bejide Trio/Jazz Project present Music for World Peace! (Fundraiser)

Dayo Bejide *Happiness has come in the rainy season*

A new sound in the Trinidad jazz sphere. Percussion with a lighter touch and a focused rhythm that swings while staying in the groove of all that is Afro-Caribbean,carrying u to a place where u capture sounds and identify them with images ..... forcing you to reminisce.

...Music for World Peace!

The Dayo Bejide Jazz Project together with the Dayo Bejide Trio will be collaborating for a very exciting studio project promoting world peace and spirituality. With music from Kepha Yaseph of the Trio, and Modupe Onilu's vision for world peace and passion for healing the world with his gift of music, now is the time to get the message out to the world!!! This is just 1 of many fund raising events,look out for more.

Musicians of Dayo Bejide

Modupe Onilu- Multi Instrumentalist
Baba Onilu- Organic percussionist/Tribal Drummer
Kepha Yaseph - Vocalists/guitarist/woodwind
Jesse Ryan- saxophone
Nigel Supersad-Dseconds pans
Kevon La Fleur-bass

Special Guests-

John John
Jah Mortel Emortel

Contribution- $60

This fund raiser to assist with payment of the production of the CD both studio and packaging.