Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter
Despite two wins from two entries over the past three years in the Global Battle of the Bands, Seretse Small, the man who hosts Jamaica's leg of the competition, says there is still some uncertainty surrounding the island's staging.
However, if the competition is held, he says Di Blueprint's win in December will be a source of motivation for other bands.
"Di Blueprint is four young guys who have been together for about a year. They lost a member (Rameich) weeks before the competition. This opens new possibilities for musicians," he said.
Very hopeful that the preliminary competition will be held in Jamaica sometime in October or November, Small says he hopes to "cut down on the high cost of production and move it into a TV format so that I can focus more on getting the winning band to the finals in Thailand in December".
He says he has also been in talks with persons from the private and public sector.
More talks, still no money
"Though the financial support has not increased, the amount of discussions I am having with stakeholders has increased," he said.
According to Small, Jamaica's back-to-back wins are not just strokes of luck, but testament to the country's superior quality of music, said the Griot Music CEO.
In 2010, Dubtonic Kru secured the top spot in the competition and two years later Di Blueprint Band has done the same. In December, the band bested Wandlust from Cyprus, Xinfu District from Norway, Heston Drop from Australia, Stinkin Ways from The Bahamas and Manfellows from Romania to win the international title.
Small, who is also the band's manager, says Jamaica has been successful on the last two occasions they entered the competition because of the standard of music they presented.
"The difference with our two last showings is that our bands entered to win and our bands are more exposed to commercial productions and commercial standards of music. The last two bands did not go with any musical bias. It was obvious that they were music bands," he told The Sunday Gleaner, noting that most of the other bands in the competition were European or rock bands.
"We are doing it to make the people move, whereas the other bands are saying look at us, we are a great rock band. We know that there is a way to be successful globally. There is also that connection with the audience."
While admitting some bias towards Jamaica, Small says he expects the country to do well in all areas.
"I think that our people are the top anywhere. Our accomplishments are never-ending," he said, adding that he believes Jamaica has the ability to claim the title for another year.
Also pleased with Jamaica's showing in the competition is Di Blueprint's band leader and drummer, Kedron Kennedy. He credits the variety offered by the Jamaican bands as the reason for their success.
"I would say the variety we went with and the unique sound. Reggae music is groovy, and the lyrical content added to that makes a strong musical package. When we went, it was really a vibe. The music was unique. The mere fact that we have two lead singers who play instruments. We worked the harmonies," he said.
Speaking on behalf of the other group members Vern Hill, Alex Gallimore and Elton Brown, Kennedy said they were quite pleased with the win.
"We are elated. We are very happy that we were able to make an impactful input in the year of Jamaica 50 after the Olympians went in the summer. We really made the country proud," he told The Sunday Gleaner.
Being that they are all final-year students at Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, Kennedy said the school is "still basking in our achievement".
He said there might also be a formal acknowledgement of the band when school reopens later this month. He also thanked his lecturer, Ibo Cooper, who he says has been an inspiration and role model to them.