Omi releases 'Fireworks' for Christmas
When Omar 'Omi' Pasley started penning the lyrics of what he refers to as 'poetry from the heart', little did he know that his missives would one day become musical hits to make him a star. One hopes that his writing skills never fade, as Omi would have a hard time if his follow-up singles to Cheerleader and All Threes were any less catchy or captivating than those tracks.
The reviews from musical critics are coming in hard and fast, many indicating that the music industry has longed to witness such 'freshness and youthful energy' from a Jamaica-born singer. Many believed that the progressively fashionable Omi was imported from 'international soil', only to be stunned to learn that the 20-something sensation hails from Clarendon, and once thought that Highway 2000 was the biggest avenue to his dreams.
In a matter of weeks, the industry has witnessed Omi's momentous journey, from his viral introduction online, to performances on mainstream television, and now interactions and collaborations with musical legends. His latest Fireworks single is a blend of ska, mento and pop. Produced by Omi's manager and image guru Clifton 'Specialist' Dillon, the track's rhythm is magical. Dillon said "When I heard the lyrics, I immediately felt like a marriage between the old and the new could create the 'rocket' effect, so we tried a couple things and the rest is history".
One that stays far from the conventional when it comes to music, Dillon explains that the industry has exhausted its options, but fails to take away the good things from Jamaica's musical history and marry them with the positive things of today. "I decided to be a game-changer, analogue meets digital and creates Fireworks," declares Dillon.
Fireworks features legendary Jamaican guitarist and composer Ernest 'Ernie' Ranglin, famed for his 'scratching' guitar play found in nearly all ska music. Ranglin plays strings on this track and is accompanied by stalwart reggae musician Sly Dunbar, and the youngest of the lot, Lamont 'Monty' Savory, known for his distinct 'electric strings'.
After months of preparation, Omi's newest single is set to hit the streets next week, just in time for Christmas. The video will be shot in coming weeks and released shortly after.
Deablo does European tour
After several years of trying to break ground in the mainstream dancehall market, Jag One Production (JOP) recording artiste Deablo is finally seeing the fruits of his hard labour.
Fresh from a stint in Barbados and scoring with the collaborative effort Run Road, featuring Aidonia, the emerging star departed the island for Europe last Wednesday. The deejay, whose given name is Romeo Nelson, along with his mentor Aidonia, will embark on 'The Run Road Tour' for three weeks. The tour is expected to make stops in Holland, Germany, Italy, France and Finland before culminating in Switzerland on December 15th.
In an effort to bolster the brand and broaden their fan base the JOP camp will also be marketing their new T-shirt line on the continent.
Deablo is expected to return to Jamaica on December 16, heading into several local events. He has followed up on his Run Road success with Road Runner on the Blackspyda Records imprint.
Jermaine Edwards and Friends for Christmas concert
Jermaine Edwards, one of gospel music's most noted musical ministers, will join forces with friends this Christmas to ignite a revival in gospel fans.
Edwards, who has a slew of successful singles including Nothing Else Matters, Never Lose My Faith (featuring DJ Nicholas) and It's Not Over (featuring Richie Stephens), will stage the Jermaine Edwards and Friends Concert at the Karram Speid Auditorium on Constant Spring Road, St Andrew, on Saturday, December 22.
The concert will feature fellow ministers DJ Nicholas, Kevin Downswell, Omari, Rondell Positive and Judith Gayle, among others, and is slated to begin at 6 p.m.
Edwards, who is the only gospel artiste signed to communications giant Digicel as an ambassador, says persons can come out expecting to hear their favourite gospel songs all night long. "In addition to that, it's going to be a lot of high-energy performances. The production is going to be one-of-a-kind, the lighting is going to be great so everyone can see, plus of course, a wide range of food. Persons can definitely expect to leave with a smile," Edwards said.
Edwards also pointed out that among his chief reasons for staging the concert is to raise funds for equipment which will aid in his travelling across the island and ministering to students. "We are going to do school-empowerment tours which will include talks, motivation, career decisions, testimonials of people who came out of the ghetto yet achieved their goals in spite of that. We will also be inviting those in corporate Jamaica and artistes who are good role models for our children to motivate, entertain and to inspire the greatness in everyone who will listen," says Edwards.
Admission to the Jermaine Edwards and Friends concert is $1,000 presold and $1,200 at the gate.
Washroom releases 'Dog Bite'
Washroom Entertainment has continued a successful year with their latest release, the Dog Bite riddim. Conroy Forte of Washroom describes the Dog Bite as a "straight dancehall-based production, and is possibly our most street-geared release to date other than the Poolside riddim".
Listeners can identify the Dog Bite by "its aggressive growling dog sample that was strategically placed in the instrumental", Forte added.
The Dog Bite features a plethora of dancehall veterans and newer voices, who each added their individuality to the project. Some of the artistes on the riddim so far are Sean Paul, Konshens, Tiana, Natel, T.O.K, Sanjay, Voicemail, Chino, Tifa and Spice.
Tifa and Spice collaborated for the first time as a show of unity. The video for their track, Why Yuh Mad, was directed by Dexter Pottinger and released to good viral reception. The video received over 15,000 views in less than a week across various YouTube channels.
'It's Time for Bunny Rugs' European promo tour
Starting yesterday up to December 17, Third World's lead singer Bunny Rugs takes his talents and a new solo album, Time, to Europe for a series of live shows, media appearances and meet-and-greet opportunities with friends and fans.
Time is distributed in Europe by VPAL, the associated label imprint for VP Records.
Coordinated by Sensiriti Sound, the European promo run starts with consecutive club dates in Portugal and The Netherlands. After a brief rest, The UK massive will then be invited to spend time with Rugs at the Caribbean Centre (Enfield) in London before his performances in London and Sheffield, both backed by a live band. Two performances with the T-Facta band in London and Sheffield will close out the European visit.
With 2012 coming to a close, Bunny Rugs' solo European tour can be seen in part as a celebration of Jamaica's 50 years of Independence by someone who has made significant contributions to the soundtrack of that experience.
Jazz Flamenco fusion nets $1.5 million
Students at the Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts will benefit from the $1.5 million dollars raised from the recently held Spanish concert Jazz Flamenco Fusion. All the proceeds went to the college's scholarship fund.
The night of cultural exchange and musical excellence was hosted by the Embassy of Spain in collaboration with The Arts Foundation of the Edna Manley College. The Spanish-Jamaican Foundation was also a key partner in the initiative.
The cheque was presented by Her Excellency Celsa Nuņo, Spanish ambassador, to Mrs Pat Ramsay, chair of the Arts Foundation at Tuesday's handover ceremony held on the college's campus.
The fund-raising event resulted from the Spanish Embassy's commitment to education in Jamaica and The Arts Foundation's drive to increase the college's scholarship fund.
Among those present were Dr Rebecca Tortello, general manager of the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation, Mrs Nicholeen DeGrasse-Johnson, Edna Manley's principal, as well as members of the board of The Arts Foundation.
UTech honours 50 years of J'can music
The University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) will honour the Jamaican music industry with a Chancellor's Medal tomorrow night at the Courtleigh Auditorium, New Kingston.
The red-carpet gala event will include a cocktail ceremony and viewing of an exhibition highlighting 50 years of Jamaican music, followed by a presentation ceremony featuring a citation on Jamaican music and the music industry. The presentation ceremony will incorporate the creative art forms of music, speech, dance and drama in a specially produced segment with Desi Jones as musical director and Junior Lincoln as producer. This segment will highlight the different genres of Jamaican popular music spanning the last 50 years - mento, niabinghi, ska, rock steady, dub, reggae and dancehall.
The Chancellor's Medal Ceremony is expected to be attended by guests drawn from the music industry, officials from the public and private sectors, academia and the diplomatic corps. The planning and execution of the event is being spearheaded by a planning committee led by the university's registrar, Dr Elaine Wallace, and a team comprising internal staff and music industry experts, including Dr Dennis Howard, Herbie Miller, Noel Dexter and former Minister of Youth, Sports, Entertainment and Culture, Ms Olivia 'Babsy' Grange.
Previous awardees of the UTech Chancellor's Medal are Stephen Francis, UTech and MVP Track and Field Club coach, and Olympian Asafa Powell, who has achieved more 100-metre sprints under 10 seconds than any other athlete.
Sponsors of the 2012 Chancellor's Medal include Victoria Mutual Building Society, Supreme Ventures Ltd, Supreme Ventures Foundation, CVM-TV, CPTC, Blackwell Rum, Wisynco, and Island Coffees.
Givens, Pitt combo a knockout for Tyson
Former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, revealed that he was furious when he walked in on Brad Pitt - a then unknown actor - and his model ex-wife Robin Givens having sex in her bed in the late 80s after their short-lived marriage had ended.
In an interview on US chat show 'In Depth With Graham Bensinger', he revealed: "I was mad as hell! I was going to ... you should have seen his face when he saw me."
Despite going through a messy split - which eventually cost Mike a US$10-million settlement and saw him accused of domestic abuse - Mike was still having relations with Givens, which was how he caught Pitt. "I was due a divorce, but every day I would go to her house to have sex with her. This particular day, someone beat me to the punch. I guess Brad got there earlier than I did." Tyson said.
Brad, 47, went on to marry Jennifer Aniston, but their union ended in October 2005, and Pitt is now engaged to Angelina Jolie. Mike is now married to his third wife, Lakiha Spicer.
After retiring from the sport, Mike, 46, reinvented himself as an actor and TV personality and landed a role in 2009 comedy film The Hangover opposite Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Justin Bartha.
When he accepted the role - which saw him threaten to harm the group of friends unless they returned his stolen tiger - Mike was using cocaine heavily and he credits the cast with helping him kick his habit and turn his life around.
"I was a mess. I was overweight. I was a pig. They had to know I was messed up. I couldn't talk. I had the cocaine talk. So those guys are just beautiful people. They had my back, and I appreciate that and stuff, then they asked me to come back (in The Hangover 2)," he said.