Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Black Music Month Finale: My Summer Job

Did you see the movie Cadillac Records? You know the story about Leonard Chess (and Phil Chess, but he is barely mentioned in the movie) and the blues musicians, such as Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, and Chuck Berry, he worked with at his Chess Records label. Well, my summer job as a research assistant will be covering a topic that includes the Chess Brothers. This summer, I will be researching on Jewish middlemen and the Black musicians they worked with. See, from about the 1920s to the 1960s, most of the middleman in the music industry (managers, record label owners, promoters, venue operators, etc.) were Jewish. The professor, I am working with, Robert Cherry, who studies economics of discrimination, says about 95% were. Over the years, these middlemen have been criticized for exploiting black musicians and not paying them what they deserved. The objective of this project is to see to what extent is that true, since there is always two sides to every story. Here is the official description of the job:

From about 1925-1965 black-inspired music (jazz, blues, and early rock ‘n’ roll) moved from the periphery to the mainstream of American popular culture. While it was dominantly performed by black artists, virtually all of the record company owners, business agents, and major venue operators were Jewish. This project looks at the role that these Jewish middlemen played and to what extent claims of exploitation are justified. The student will examine jazz archives in the New York City area, particularly music magazines articles and the black press to get a better understanding of how these middlemen were perceived during that time period. We will meet weekly to evaluate progress and decisions on what sources to utilize.

While I will officially start researching next week, at places like the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Studies and starting off with the Jazz era of the 1920s to the early 1940s, Professor Cherry has given me some of his research that he has found already. Here is a brief overview of that:

* Two groups of Jewish middlemen: those who were genuine Jazz fans, such as Milt Gabler (Commodore), Jerry Wexler (Atlantic) and Bobby Weinstock (Prestige), and those who had little interest in black music, but entrepreneurial skills led them to believe it would make them profits, such as Frank Schiffman (Apollo theatre and other Harlem venues), Herman Lubinksy (Savoy Records), Leonard Chess (Chess Records) and Syd Nathan (King Records).

*Relationships between Jewish middlemen and black musicians is a complicated one. Many of the black musicians would not have received much exposure without them because during those times white businessmen were not willing to work with black businessmen in general. Also, Jewish people were in a weird position because they were discriminated against (ex. with KKK) and did have high positions in a lot of social organizations (ex. NAACP), but their white skin allowed for them to maneuver easier in society. White businessmen were willing to work with Jewish people and many Jewish people own stores and other businesses in black areas like Harlem. Also, to many Christians, Jazz was considered to be base. So, black people had very little choice but to work with Jewish middlemen, even the bad ones.

*However, since many record labels were competing, successful artists could move among the record companies, such as with Little Esther Mae Jones.

* In the 1930s, many record labels were independents and had a high risk of failure, which made paying artists less easier to do since they wanted to make profits and they needed to make money off of successful artists to pay for the cost of failures (recording sessions, advances, unsold records).

* Distributors also made it extra hard for record companies to make a profit; many companies shutdown because they could not keep up with the costs.

*One of the most criticized record owners was Herman Lubinsky of Savoy Records. He started off selling electronics and later began selling records out of his store. The label recorded some of the first bebop Jazz albums, like ones for Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Dexter Gordon and later other artists like Varetta Dillard, Big Maybelle and Nappy Brown. He also included avant-garde Jazz and gospel in the following years. Lubinksy actually disdained black music and was unwilling to understand it at all in addition to being a cheap individual.

*Another interesting fact is that several of the first Jazz bands were led by Jewish musicians, most notably, Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw. Only until around 1940s did black bandleaders, like Duke Ellington and Count Basie come to the forefront more.

*Also, most of the songwriters were Jewish, which creates a problems when people criticize that black musicians did not get copyright royalties. Well, many, especially popular Jazz musicians, did not writer their own songs or did not write them completely by themselves.

* There were managers and record owners who did try to help black musicians in society outside of business. Count Basie's manager Norman Granz. Granz found the record label Verve in addition to starting many Jazz festivals and Jazz at the Philharmonic. He helped Ella Fitzgerald become more popular by introducing her to the Cole Porter Songbook. Oscar Peterson said that Granz stood up for many black musicians in the segregated South even when policemen were pointing guns at him. He also demanded equal pay and accommodation for black and white artists. Also, he promoted the first mixed raced concerts in the Deep South.

* Many critics say that Jewish middlemen commercialized black music so much that it lost its authentic sound. For example, Irving Mills and Duke Ellington, and Joe Glaser and Louis Armstrong have been labeled with this criticism. Several critics also see it as part of the paternalistic relationship between owners and artists. This may be true, but that has always been the case with popular music in order to appeal to the masses, unfortunately.

More research is coming and I will give weekly update on what I find.... STAY TUNED!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Black Music Month #24: Afropunk!!!! Part 2!!!!

Here is my recap of Sunday's performances:

1) Galaxy of Tar: Oops, I came too late and missed their performance, but I bought theird CD for a $1 (great bargain), maybe I'll review it later.

Find more videos like this on AFRO-PUNK

2) Bad Rabbits: Did I mention I love these guys and I made it time to see them! Woohoo! Let me tell you that Dua can SANG, not sing, but SANG!!!!! Just as The 54, why aren't these guys more commercially successful; I could dance all day to them!

3) Martin Luther: This man is SEXY (sorry, I had to mention it) and he is the epitome of a rock star continuing in the line of Little Richard, Jimi Hendrix, Prince and Lenny Kravitz, as well as very conscious. Moreover, he has a band made up of mostly females (on drums, lead guitar and keyboard), how incredible is that!

4) J'Davey: I am still on the fence with this duo. I can bob my head to the beats, but Jack Davey's voice still irks me. Sometimes it works, as on the songs, "Slooow" and "Get Together," but then other times she sounds like a squeaky little girl. I guess it just takes getting use to, I will eventually.

5) 24-7 Spyz: Soul and Heavy Metal together sounds crazy, but for this group, who has been together over twenty years, it works! It worked so much that I bought their CD and DVD, resulting in a free T-shirt for me (did I mention that I love free stuff!)

Don't Break My Heart

6) Cubic Zirconia: Seeing the lead singer, Tiombe Lockhart, in lace and hearing songs like "Hoes Come Out At Night," she reminded me of a mix between Lil' Kim and Betty Davis and add in a African club dancer...take from that what you will...


7) K-OS: Think Will.I.Am mixed with the comments I made about P.O.S., and you got him!

Sunday Morning

8) The Cool Kids: What can I say, as their name implies they were cool, especially Mikey Rocks with his nerdy glasses. Plus Kid Cudi came out as a surprise guest....maybe I was waiting for this next guy...

I'm Mikey

9) MOS DEF!!! What a way to end a jam-packed good music festival! He had me in love with his skullcap, nerdy suspenders and red microphone; he just looked like a beautiful nerd! Like my friend said, "I feel as if I am in church." Yep, we were in the church of Mos Def and us his faithful followers. He had us dancing, swaying, laughing and much more! Just watch the awesomeness below:

Honorable Mention: Supernatural

He was not an official performer, but this rapper had my attention with his quick-witted freestyles from both days. Not only could he make up rhymes on the spot based on what people had in their hand (he even did one about a tampon), but he could also impersonate other rappers, like Biggie, Slick Rick and Busta Rhymes. Definitely check him out:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Black Music Month #23: Afro-punk!!!!!!

Last weekend, I attended Afropunk for the first time and all I have to say is .....DAMN!!!!!! Ok, I actually have more to say than that, but it was so amazing that this is my initial reaction. I regret forgetting to bring my camera, because there were so many camera worthy moments (oh well, there is youtube and other people who took pictures, haha). Besides the death-defying stunts of the skateboarders and bikers, here are some of the highlights of the weekend for me:


1) Belikos: I swear that Aaron Orr's style, one of the lead vocalists, reminded me of Larry Dodson from the Bar-Kays. Two things about this rock/hip-hop band that caught my attention: their rendintion of Jay-Z's "I Just Wanna Love You (Give It to Me)" and they were the only band to give out free CDs (hey, I like free stuff! haha)

2) God Forbid and Cipher: Generally, I do not like Hardcore/Thrash/Death metal as much as other rock genres, but for some reason, these two groups sounded so much better live. Also, finding out about the lead singer of Cipher's, Moe Mitchell, background (he graduated from Howard and was the president of Ubiquity) and meaning of his lyrics, I am much more interested now.

God Forbid

Find more videos like this on AFRO-PUNK

Privilege by Cipher

3) P.O.S. - What more can I say - He can rap and sing, he is both Hip-hop and Rock, he has lyrics that makes you think- I'm done!

4) Game Rebellion: Having their own personal performance at the Truth truck, these guys were the first band to actually a mash pit started as well as Netic's getting on top of the truck and short-circuiting a microphone, you can guess what kind of performance that was!

5) NinjaSonik: Sorry, no comment.....actually one: I found them irritating....(no videos will be found here of them)

6) The Bots: What the hell??!!! These boys are not even in high school yet (the younger brother on drums looks like he is ten), and are rocking way more than some people twice or three times their age. Another addition to my jealousy of child prodigies, LOL.

I Like Your Style

7) The 54: Besides the lead singer's cuteness (sorry I had to mention it and don't tell him I said that), this Atlanta band is on par with most of the commercial rock bands out there, so why are they not more famous? Just asking.

8) Bad Brains: These guys have been performing over 30 years and are still F***ing awesome! Even though H.R. had a rag over his head (probably because it was hot as hell), I felt the love. How can you go wrong with a band that mixes Reggae and Heavy metal!

Jah Love

From 1980 performance

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Black Music Month #22: Black Culture in Sri Lanka

From Vimeo:

Historians say that the Kaffirs (this is what they call themselves) of Sri Lanka started arriving from the eastern shores of Africa in the 1500s with the Portuguese, and later in more waves with the different colonizers of Sri Lanka.

'Kaffir culture' is a video portrait of one such community of Kaffirs and the struggle to keep their culture (especially the music and language) alive in the face of falling numbers.

kaffir culture from Kannan Arunasalam on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Black Music Month #21: "Listen Up!" Young Women's Voices in Hip-Hop

"Listen Up!" Young Women's Voices in Hip-Hop - A Summer Arts Program in DC



About "Listen Up!" The young woman's voice in Hip-Hop

This summer, we will create original hip-hop theatre driven by the interests of the young women and girls in the program. Our work will take place inside a supportive and nurturing environment that challenges them to become self-actualized. Participants will have the opportunity and produce all aspects of their own show while learning about the elements of hip-hop and West African drumming.

* Explore hip-hop's elements of Fashion, Breaking, Beatboxing, Rhyme/Rap and Knowledge of Culture & Self
* Investigate the roles of young women in hip-hop
* Learn performance techniques and ensemble creation
* Learn West African drumming, dancing and rhythms and how they have influenced hip-hop music and culture
* Create and perform an original play

Project location: Washington, DC

The Young Women’s Drumming Empowerment Project strives to create a safe space for young women to build community, and to fearlessly express their authentic selves through drumming, spoken word poetry, song, movement and performance.

About The Saartjie Project
The Saartjie Project (pronounced Sar-key) is a black women artist collective producing and developing theatre through collaborative processes. We are committed to working together consistently to develop a distinctive body of work and practices reflective of who we are.

    Black Music Month #20: Charles Mingus 1968

    Charles Mingus, Jr. was an American Jazz musician, composer, bandleader and social activist. Not only was he a virtuosic double bass player, he was a great pianist, cellist, and trombone player. His influence, besides Jazz, was Gospel music that he heard in church. In his early career, Mingus performed with Louis Armstrong, Kid Ory and Lionel Hampton, and later on, he collaborated with Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Art Tatum and Duke Ellington. In the 1950s, he formed his own pusblishing and recording companies as well as the "Jazz Workshop," for young composers to have their works performed in concert and on recordings. Throughout his career, he recorded over a hundred albums, recorded over three hundred scores and toured throughout Europe, Japan, Canada, South America and the United States. Charles was at the forefront of avant-garde Jazz, hard bop and other Jazz forms. Mingus received several honors in his later life, such as ballets that were choreographed to his music, including Alvin Ailey's "Mingus Dances," and grants from the National Endowment of the Arts that allowed him to be cataloged and put in the New York Public Library archives.

    This is a short film, directed by Thomas Reichman, about Mingus and his five-year old daughter awaiting eviction from their studio in New York City. It is a telling documentary on how America can even treat some of its best talents as crap on the bottom of their shoe. It is sad.

    Mingus: Charlie Mingus 1968 from Bartley Powers on Vimeo.

    Friday, June 25, 2010

    Black Music Month #19 Part 2: King of Pop Tribute

    It has been a year since Michael Jackson left us and it still feels surreal. I still cannot believe he is gone and I still "can never say goodbye." Watching Michael Jackson: Our Icon on Centric and the number of other tributes going on today reminded that whatever personal problems Michael had as a human, he still showed love for humanity and even, in relation to Black Music Month, his blackness and African roots. So, my tribute to him today will reflect that:

    They Don't Really Care About Us

    Wanna Be Starting Something

    Do You Remember the Time

    Black or White

    You Can't Win (From the Wiz)

    We Still Miss You Michael!

    Black Music Month #19: Hip Hop Is More Than You Think It Is

    Via The Marriage of a Dead Blog SING!

    Me: To all the people who think Hip Hop is not a legitimate art form, not a part of history or treat Hip Hop like it is a monolithic entity (side-eyes Thomas Chatterton Williams), here is your response:

    A friend of mine, who is a fellow music junkie, occasionally gives me heads up on weird shit he finds he thinks I might like to sample. He told me about this track the other night and I’ve only just gotten around to checking it out now. It’s pretty fucking awesome, no?
    Anyway, whilst digging the fuck out of this track, I was browsing through the comments on Youtube, and came across one that enraged me.
    “rap comes from this song yeaaaag”
    Recently, when Banksy started pissing about in America, someone here linked to an article which quoted an unnamed art historian as saying graffiti was the greatest urban cultural movement “since Punk”.
    Let’s just get one thing straight right here. What we understand as Hip Hop today began in the early 70’s. It grew up at the same time, if not before, Punk. Graffiti existed as a movement before Hip Hop became a defined, integrated culture. In reality, Punk is the most influential movement since Graffiti.
    This is something that needs to stop. Just because White people didn’t hear about Hip Hop until the 80’s doesn’t mean it didn’t exist. White people need to stop looking down on Hip Hop. Just because it’s made by Black people doesn’t mean it’s anything less than mind blowingly innovative. I’m not joking here, or trying to get mad props by showing how”down with the black kids” I am, it is genuinely one of the most ground breaking genres of all time.
    I don’t mean it in a political sense, though that is most certainly true (seriously, go read Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop by Jeff Chang if you want to see how Hip Hop evolved as a responce to White Oppression). But right now, I want to simply talk about it as a musical form.
    Many people toyed with the idea of sampling before Hip Hop. The idea was first properly realised by Musique Concrete in the late 40’s. The bassline from the Doctor Who theme tune (universally acclaimed as one of the most influential pieces of electronic music ever) was made up of resampled recordings of an elastic band on a matchbox. Miles Davis made heavy use of looping and sampling for On The Corner. Steve Reich messed about with it for Come Out and It’s Gonna Rain.
    But Hip Hop was the first time that it was treated as a normal concept. There was no chin stroking over intellectualism involved, just a bunch of people sitting around and going “hey, these 10 seconds are the best part of this song, let’s make it the whole song”. They didn’t have a studio filled with complicated equipment, they didn’t have a fancy college education grounding them in the tennents of music. Let’s be honest, they probably knew fuck all about French Advent Garde musicians, British Childrens TV shows or New York Hipsters. They literally just had 2 turntables and an ear for a decent hook. That was it. They took the most basic piece of equipment you could find - your average home stereo - and turned it into an instrument, THEN THEY ELEVATED IT TO AN ART FORM!
    Seriously, I’m not entirely sure I can explain how ground breaking the concept of Hip Hop is to you. It’s just such a revolutionary idea it’s almost impossible to grasp. The entire history of human music was turned entirely on it’s head, just because a roomful of people in the Bronx wanted to dance.

    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    Black Music Month #18: : The Spark Episode: The Power Of Music

    Via Black Voices: Amanda Diva's show, "The Spark"

    Here are episodes 12 and 13, which are in tribute to Black music Month:

    The Power of Black Music to Unite for Different Issues

    Nneka Interview

    Alternative Black Music

    Jay Electronica

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    Black Music Month #17: YahZarah

    Via Soul Sessions at Centric TV

    If you thought you knew YahZarah (née Dana Williams), think again. The Foreign Exchange singer is out to introduce her true self to the world with the her newest album The Ballad of Purple St. James.

    The Ballad of Purple St. James available NOW

    Soul Sessions//YahZarah St. James from Centric TV on Vimeo.

    Tuesday, June 22, 2010

    Black Music Month #16: Betty Davis

    And no I am not talking about the actress...This Betty Davis preceded acts like Prince, Grace Jones, Madonna, Erykah Badu, Kelis, Rhianna, and Lady Gaga, but few know about her. Influenced by Jimi Hendrix and Sly and the Family Stone, this funk, rock and soul singer was definitely ahead of her time because of her open sexual attitude, so much so, that the music industry did not know what to do with her (let's face it, they still wouldn't know what to do with her). The former model, who was once married to Miles Davis (she was originally Betty Mabry), this spitfire (she is a leo like me) released three albums, Betty Davis, They Say I'm Different and Nasty Gal, in the 1970s and a fourth album, Is It Love or Desire, was released in 2009. She even had an influence on Miles and his album, Bitches Brew, starting the era of Jazz Fusion. Although, her career only lasted from 1970 to 1980, she had little commercial successes and she declared that she would never perform again (yes, she was that disgusted by the music industry), her style has remained with many. Now living a private life in Pittsburgh, I am wishing she would make a comeback.

    Betty Davis-If I'm In Luck I Might Get Picked Up

    Nasty Gal

    They Say I'm Different

    Anti-Love Song


    Don't Call Her No Tramp

    Podcast Interview from The Sound of Young America (First Interview in 30 Years)

    The Sound of Young America

    Article on Betty Davis:

    Monday, June 21, 2010

    Black Music Month #15: RIP Garry Shider

    On June 16, 2010, we lost another great musician. Garry Shider, the guitarist for the band, Parliament Funkadelic, passed away at the age of 56 from cancer. Besides his guitar skills, Shider was know for his outrageous outfits, such as wearing a diaper on stage ("The Diaper Man" was his nickname). Shider was sick for a while, suffering from both lung cancer and brain cancer, and just last week succumbed to them. His vocals and guitar were major contributions to such songs as "One Nation Under a Groove" and "Cosmic Slop." ALso, he co-wrote many of the group's most notable songs. You will be missed, Garry, Rest in Funk.

    One Nation Under a Groove

    Cosmic Slop

    Sexy Ways

    Getting to Know You


    Sunday, June 20, 2010

    Black Music Month #14: Click-It Concert -The Organic Soul Part 3

    Continued from yesterday's post:

    Public Enemy-Don't Believe The Hype

    Eric B. & Rakim - Don't Sweat The Technique

    Tupac - All Eyez On Me

    Funkadelic - Lunchmeataphobia (Think! It Ain't Illegal Yet!)

    Public Enemy-Miuzi Weighs A Ton

    Jerry Butler & Brenda Lee Eager - Ain't Understanding Mellow

    Cee Lo Green - I Am Selling Soul

    Talib Kweli & Hi Tek - Love Language

    Pete Rock & C. L. Smooth - They Reminisce Over You

    A Tribe Called Quest - Check the Rhime

    Outkast - Return of the G

    Ray Charles - Compared To What


    Erykah Badu - Apple Tree

    Jay-Z - Moment of Clarity

    Parliament Funkadelic-(Not Just) Knee Deep

    Soul II Soul - Get A Life

    Grace Jones - Slave To The Rhythm

    Talib Kweli- Beautiful Struggle

    Prince - Pop Life

    Hope you enjoyed the 3 day Click-It Concert!

    Saturday, June 19, 2010

    Black Music Month #13: Click-It Concert -The Organic Soul Part 2

    Continued from yesterday's post:

    Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

    Maze and Frankie Beverly - We Are One

    Musiq Soulchild - Teach Me

    Ed O.G. & Da Bulldogs - Be A Father To Your Child

    Bobby Womack - Across 110th Street

    Eric B & Rakim- Paid In Full

    Anthony Hamilton - The Truth

    Common - Love Is


    Parliament Funkadelic - Aqua Boogie

    Oleta Adams - Rhythm Of Life

    The Impressions- Keep on Pushing

    Teddy Pendergras You Can't Hide From Yourself

    Maze and Frankie Beverly - Joy and Pain

    Sly The Family Stone - Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself Again

    Friday, June 18, 2010

    Black Music Month #12: Click-It Concert -My Organic Soul Part 1

    Two days ago, I was reading Jacqueline Rhinehart's "My Organic Soul," which is a compilation of quotations, lyrics, poems and other words of wisdom from a wide range of people all over the world. Jacqueline Rhinehart is the CEO of Organic Soul Marketing, a marketing consulting company started in 1999 that works with large companies on multicultural niche markets. She has also worked for over two decades in the music industry, creating marketing campaigns for such artists and labels, as Nelly, Erykah Badu, LaFace Records, and Bad boy Records. The company also works on a magazine, My People Magazine, and an Organic Soul Concert Series.

    This Click-It Concert Series will cover some of songs that Rhinehart referred to in the book for the next three days. Enjoy!

    Eric B and Rakim - Ghetto

    Talib Kweli- Holy Moly

    The Roots - Don't Feel Right

    Stevie Wonder- Don't You Worry About A Thing

    Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell - Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing

    Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five - The Message

    Kanye West - Everything I Am

    Parliament Funkadelic - Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow

    Tupac - Changes

    The Beatles - Fool on the Hill

    Geto Boys - My Mind's Playing Tricks On Me

    Damian Marley - Welcome to Jam Rock

    Jay-z - Hard-Knock Life

    The Wu-Tang Clan - CREAM

    Sister Sledge - We are Family

    Earth Wind and Fire- Shining Star

    Jay-Z - American Dreaming

    Whodini - Freaks come out at Night

    Bobby Womack - Simple Man

    Charles Wright Watts and the Watts 103rd Street Band - Express Yourself

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    Black Music Month #11: The Island of Barbados

    Today, when many people think of music artists from Barbados, only one person comes to mind: Rihanna. Well, I am not extremely fond of her and since my mom is from Barbados, I feel slightly irritated that she is the representative for the island. So, I would like to present some other Bajan artists who, I believe, are a hundred times better than her. (P.S. I have a crush on these next two guys, hehe)

    Via Black Voices

    Hal Linton:

    Hailing from the sunny shores of Barbados, singer-songwriter Hal Linton is definitely a new artist to be in the lookout for with his brew of R&B soul music.

    Winning the Barbados Music Award was just a prelude to the success this smooth crooner is poised for.

    Signed to Universal Motown Records, R&B's newest star has music industry titan Sylvia Rhone in his corner and a debut opus, 'Return From The Future,' due out later this year.

    In celebration of Black Music Month, presents an exclusive performance of Hal Linton performing tracks from the eagerly anticipated project.


    Mind Control

    Dances In the Mirror

    Hey Love

    Southern Hospitality

    Lock My Heart Down

    Philip 7:

    Philip Scantlebury and his band, Masala, gives Barbados a different sound with his alternative rock edge. Starting off with a R&B group named Suave, and an acoustic blues and soul band named Acoustic Blue, his interest in rock music grew out of the latter band. Later, Acoustic Blue changed their name to Le Groove and had a couple of hits with "Without You" and "Where Were You."

    After leaving the band, he worked on the Toni Norville Project, formed a band with Kirk Browne called The Strategy, and finally in 2005 formed his current band, Masala. The 7-piece band is comprised of some of Barbados' best musicians who play a wide range of music styles. Local producer, Gary Serrao of Gee Wiz Studios was so impressed by Philip that he introduced him to Canadian music producer, Derek Brin, kicking Philip's career into overdrive. Barbados was also impressed and gave him the “Best Rock/Alternative Artist” award at the 3rd annual Barbados Music Awards

    Looking For

    Beautiful Surprise

    Open Mic

    Album Launch


    Danah is a Barbados-based duo, comprised of Dana Ward and David Thomas. Debuting with the album, Out of Darkness, the alternative pop duo have appeared at the Barbados Jazz Festival, and opened for several Gospel acts. They received seven Flame Gospel Awards and two Martin Awards. Recently, they signed to ACM Records in NYC after winning an internet music competition at

    One of Us

    I Never Knew


    Shontelle is a singer-songwriter who is signed to SRC Records and is the niece of one of Barbados' most popular artists, Kim Derrick. Another interesting fact, she was in the Cadets and actually was a drill sergeant over RHIANNA!!! Shontelle also wanted to be lawyer and attended the University of the West Indies for Entertainment Law. She even had an international hit with the girl-power anthem, "Roll It," which was later covered by fellow Bajan, Alison Hinds. Her first album is "Shontelligence" and is out now, while her second album, No Gravity, will be released later this year.



    Battle Cry

    Roll It

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