Fri | Sep 21, 2018

Stories by Mel Cooke

Published:Tuesday | April 14, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

Owen 'Blakka' Ellis and Dr Michael Abrahams literally drew a long bench for their extensive onstage conversation at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, into early afternoon on Sunday. For much of Fun and Joke Aside, the two were seated on...

Published:Sunday | April 12, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

Jamaica has a storied history of political activism - or at least commentary - in song, from Peter Tosh's determination to "fight, fight, fight 'gainst apartheid" through to Supercat's off-hand "we no 'fraid a Ronald Reagan who a run America" in...

Published:Sunday | April 12, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

As producer and sound system operator, Lloyd 'King Jammy' James dug into his memories at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus, on Thursday, April 2. He eventually - and inevitably - came to the Sleng Teng riddim.He spoke as part of a...

Published:Sunday | April 12, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

The decade before the Sleng Teng riddim was made, Bob Marley and The Wailers played concerts at the Lyceum in London that were recorded and released as the Live album. By 1985, Bob Marley had been dead for four years and a beat had come out of...

Published:Saturday | April 11, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

I attended two events over the past couple of weeks that have stirred thoughts about the structure of this business of Jamaican popular music. One was the State of the Music Symposium at...

Published:Friday | April 10, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

United States President Barack Obama was high - in the air, that is - when he put in a late request to visit the Bob Marley Museum at 56 Hope Road, St Andrew, on Wednesday night.Yesterday, it was revealed that it was only 10 minutes before Air Force...

Published:Tuesday | April 7, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

The tall figure leaning forward, listening intently to a question from an audience member and a hint of a smile playing at the corners of his mouth complementing a near beatific expression, was almost irreconcilable with the renowned fierce sound...

Published:Sunday | April 5, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

Sixteen years old is a landmark age in a young lady's development, very often marked by a special party. It is not surprising then that the age makes its way into popular songs, or that these tracks centre around a budding love life.Primary among...

Published:Sunday | April 5, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

Poet Ras Takura released his debut album, Food War, in New York last month during his trek of the United States (US) East Coast. In January, deejay Gavinchi Brown got the news that his EP, The Gavinchi Code, was on the Billboard Reggae Chart while...

Published:Saturday | April 4, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

'Simplicity we use to survive Many find it difficult because them ignorant and hype"- Sizzla. I am not sure if it was Ibo Cooper or Steve Golding I heard use the term 'simplexity' - a combination of simplicity and complexity, obviously - to sum up the...

Published:Sunday | March 29, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

In a short space of time, there have been a number of notable changes in the compact-sedan segment of Jamaica's new-car market. Nissan and Toyota have introduced the refreshed Versa and...

Published:Saturday | March 28, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

I read about the proposal to make Olympic Way an entertainment hip strip with a mixture of resignation and irritation - resignation because it may be the beginning of a pattern that I expected, but despite those expectations, I am still not pleased...

Published:Friday | March 27, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

All Saints Primary School in Kingston has a striking name and a reputation for having been the educational institution for several outstanding personalities from the area for several years. Tomorrow evening in the hall of the St Andrew Parish Church...

Published:Sunday | March 22, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

It is a happy coincidence that two of my all-time favourite Jamaican popular music performers, Capleton and Burning Spear, have songs with similar titles which use travelling by road to represent life struggles, through which they are assisted...

Published:Sunday | March 22, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

The title of Dr Erin MacLeod's recently launched book, Visions of Zion: Ethiopians...

Published:Saturday | March 21, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

Can we rebel against child murders now?I have always wondered what would happen to the prodigious output of weed songs if the green gold was legalised. As much as I thought the law against marijuana was silly and ineffective, I never thought there...

Published:Friday | March 20, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

For the third staging of the monthly poetry event, Outspoken, held at Nanook, 20 Burlington Avenue, St Andrew, Deline Campbell and Joan Webley came up with a 'Three The Hard Way' line-up.Oku Onuora, Samuel Gordon and Abbebe Payne are the poets who...

Published:Sunday | March 15, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

With smoke from the fire at Riverton dominating life in the capital and parts of St Catherine, as well as the brutality meted out to two pregnant 14 year-olds, it is a good time to revisit one of the standout songs about sparking a flame."A big man...

Published:Saturday | March 14, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

It is that time of year again when four students from a Jamaican high school huddle together, listen intently to a question, sometimes consult each other, and then fire an answer as rapidly as they can - if they can - all...

Published:Tuesday | March 10, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

One of the longstanding characters in the Twin of Twins Stir It Up music and comedy series is poet and broadcaster Mutabaruka, who utilises his distinctive voice in numerous poetry recordings and two radio programmes on IRIE FM. On Saturday evening,...

Published:Monday | March 9, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

The structure of Saturday night's Simply Myrna at the Courtleigh Auditorium, New Kingston, was as uncomplicated and effective as the sole backdrop to the performances, a rectangle of white with the event's name in cursive. Supported by a crack band,...

Published:Thursday | March 5, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

From an opening group reading by Owen 'Blakka' Ellis' former students to his closing delivery of the popular Gateman (which he promised would be the poem's final outing), Tuesday's launch of Ellis' Riddim and Riddles was chockful of emotions. Among...

Published:Monday | March 2, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

Equal weightings of poetry and prose, as well as gender, started off Kingston Book Festival 2015 yesterday, a substantial audience turning out at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, for Love Affair With Literature 4.The poets, Professor...

Published:Sunday | March 1, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

For Reggae Month 2015, The Sunday Gleaner revisited stories about songs by persons who have a strong connection to February. There were songs by Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, Wayne Smith and William 'Bunny Rugs' Clarke. However, the story of Sleng Teng...

Published:Saturday | February 28, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

As he hosts events during Reggae Month celebrations, as well as others outside of February, the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association's (JaRIA) Ibo Cooper never fails to give context to Jamaican popular music's importance. He does it in at least three...

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