2 Gran' moves from audio into video, documents dances for a living
Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer
There are many points of view - or points to view from - in a dancehall setting. There is the centre of the dance, where the hip and hype hold sway; just outside that core where the onlookers gather; on the perimeter are the cool, laid-back folk; the serious drinkers tend to stick close to the bar and the reserved ones are on the periphery.
Wayne '2 Gran' Bartley, who operates the Dutty Fridaze dance that was a staple in Fletcher's Land and now 'invades' various communities based on promoter demand, sees dancehall from all angles, through the lens of the video camera which he uses to record sessions.
He has moved from audio to video, as 2 Gran' reminds The Gleaner that he was once known as Cassette 2000, dealing in dancehall audio tapes, then became CD 2000 as the format shifted. The video came from his involvement in Dutty Fridaze. Renowned dancehall videographer 'Scrappy' would do the recordings, an integral part of generating revenue from the street dance, but he says "Scrappy was travelling a lot at one point and couldn't be there. So I had to do it."
He credits Scrappy for all he knows and has long moved past doing only his session. 2 Gran' outlines a heavy weekly schedule, which includes Uptown Mondays, Weddy Weddy and Fresh Fridays, during which he goes out every night. However, he says that after about six months "I can take a break for a week. If I video the dance for six months straight it not likely that something will happen in a week that is so drastic."
He is a one-man outfit, as 2 Gran' says, "When I go to a dance I have a still camera around my neck, the video camera and a battery pack around my waist." He may travel with one person for company, but he is really a one-man, self-contained operation. And he follows the action where it goes. "If a man a dagger a girl and them gone round the corner I follow them," he said. Keeping the sound clear is crucial in this highly mobile operation and 2 Gran' points out that he does not rely on the audio from the camera.
"I have a mini-disc hook up to the sound system, so the audio is always clean," he said.
Being self-contained means that 2 Gran' also does his own editing. "That was one of the first thing Scrappy tell me. That you have to learn to edit. You have to keep it private," he said. And he also has his private library of dancehall footage, an entire room dedicated to archiving in a structured manner.
2 Gran' will sometimes take dancers to sessions and says that he is not interested in the boring events. Nor does he wait for someone to hire him, in order to ply his video trade.
"Is not like a man come pay me and say come video my dance. We create our own work, go to the session, video it and edit it," 2 Gran' said.