Tue | Jan 23, 2018

Dreams, stones and boxes

Published:Sunday | March 6, 2016 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke
Prime Minister Andrew Holness shares the stage with entertainer Nesbeth who performed at the recent swearing-in ceremony.
Burning Spear
Admiral Bailey

Nesbeth’s My Dream has been very popular among dancehall fans and at political gatherings during the recently concluded 2016 general election campaign.
That has peaked in the greatest platform a performer could hope for in his country, the prime minister standing on stage with you at his inauguration, dancing and singing a line or two from your song.
While the chorus, “my dream is to live my dream”, has resonated with numerous persons, as evidenced by the response from audiences at events as diverse as the Digicel Redemption Live concert at Sabina Park in late February and last week’s gathering at King’s House, the adversity experienced by the dreamer is not to be missed in Nesbeth’s song. He deejays abut the naysayers who:
“Put me inna box like a rectangle
Oh, look at me now...
A me a tell yu my life
Whe dem used to go roun’ me
Go roun’ no one used to come roun’ me
My life was so lonely
Look at me..
Me a take plane like JUTC
When you see me
It’s on TV
Shows after shows after shows after shows
Tours after tours after tours after tours
When me name call is roars after roars...
Dem lock a one door
Me buss doors after doors after doors after doors ...”
While this may also apply to Nesbeth’s life outside of music, it certainly refers to his experiences in pursuing his art and is not an unfamiliar story of being constricted ­ or even rejected ­ in the pursuit of his dream.


Burning Spear also reflects on rejection via his stoic reaction in As It Is, the autobiographical opening song from his Calling Rastafari album.
And Admiral Bailey details the rejection of one particular set of people in his community, before getting the big break, then the dramatic change when he is obviously successful. Of course, those are the women.
Burning Spear uses biblical terminology in As It Is, describing the general music industry context and then his rock-like resilience:
“The music attention
Was in a different direction
Not a Burning direction
Spear been through his struggle
With a lot of patient and discipline
Never bow down
Did someone remember Burning Spear
Did someone remember?”
Then in another verse he sings:
“I am the stone that the builders refuse
They put me aside
They passed me by
Thinking I would cry
Stone don’t cry.”
Admiral Bailey’s outlining of how his success changed the reaction of women where he was living is in the late 1980s News Flash Time:
“When me was bway inna de community
None a de gal dem neva waan me
Tear up batty pants me ma put pon me
Days upon days white squall a kill me
Every gal come cut dem yeye pass me
Hear dem, gu whe dutty bway, no walk side a me
No waan yu make yu louse come ketch me pickney
Why yu no lie dung inna de road make a bus run ova yu
Yu tink nobody a go miss a dutty b.. like a yu?”
All that changes when he becomes a dancehall standout, but Bailey makes it clear, he is aware of the reason for the transformation:
“But now me come a dance as a celebrity
All a de girl dem a mad ova me
Girl from inna town, girl from country
But one ting make dem a rush mi jus’ true mi money
One ting make dem a rush mi a just’ true mi jewellery.”
Still, he does enjoy the benefits of the change, as in the introduction to News Flash Time Bailey proclaims “a nuff a dem me pass tru”.