2019's best of the best
Ian Jackson looks at the best in arts and entertainment in 2019
So, an eventful year is ending, one in which we had the most contentious elections but we can say it's the year that finally Bouyon music got its greatest regional recognition and a year when we had the best staging of the World Creole Music Festival (WCMF).
The Producer-of-the year then is no surprise and this is no other than 'Dada' Lawrence with his mega regional hit 'Famalay', the 2019 Road March of TNT and unofficially for many other Caribbean countries. Still it is not just for producing this hit song. Lawrence has successfully produced and worked with a number of regional and local acts such as Janet 'Angel' Shillingford among others.
Colton T is credited to having the Best Album of the Year. A year when he lost his mother, he made the impossible possible with his release and best work to date 'I'mposible'. Additionally, after his concert 'Bomb in the city 1' he recently staged chapter 2, just on the heels of a wonderful premier where he opened with a moving performance in this year's WCMF.
Mel C who is dubbed the Rihanna of the French world, is Female Artiste of the Year. Her hit song 'No money, no love Oh' has certainly made waves. Her nasal expression is slowly captivating through her vocal collaborations and music videos. Mel, as she is fondly referred to, was also a special feature at this year's Jazz and Creole and part of the Zuke All Stars at this year's WCMF. Michele and Ophelia were rather subdued this year and though Tasha, Sasha and Marie Pascale were considered alongside second choice Carlene XP, Mel C comfortably got the nod of approval.
To select the literary artist/ author for the year was not difficult as just about six publications came from the Nature Island. While most were either documented lives or events the only notable novel produced was by Kristine Simelda' "Back to the River". If the title suggest that there had already been a part one, then you would be right as Kristine has proven over a handful of publications to be Dominica's most prolific writer, even more than Dr. Irvin Andre or Dr. Lennox Honychurch. Kristine is also the coordinator of the two-year-old Waitukubuli Writers
Acer Bantan is Dominica's Artiste of the Year having won two regional awards in the Soca genre one of which was best performer. To just be considered and even out do Marshal, Bunji, Farmar, Destra and other Soca giants from TNT is massive. But it's not only from his high energy or stage artistry that is fascinating, additionally he is the leading ambassador for Bouyon music literally in all four corners of the globe. Acer is the 'Yellow man' of Dominica's music as he produces more songs than any other within a short span and composes on a variety of social issues.
The Smith Brothers is my choice of Band of the year finally edging out Tripple Kay after some three years and this is based on their exploits at the Jazz and Creole, the musical quality of their new releases and their successful exploits in the French Antilles. Well, if Mel has the song of the year by an artiste then the Smith Brothers "So fine" is the song of the year with Mel C's "No money" coming a close second. In fact this group is fast becoming a sensation with young teenager Micah up front and music leader, one of Dominica's best guitarist Maxian
'Max'Smith executing solos much to the delight of fans. Sure their music is customized to concert-like performances as opposed to festivals which are more common-place. However when one examines their artistry there is no doubt Dominica's Smith Brothers could remind one of the formative years of the Beatles or the Jacksons should they be exposed to such an environment.
"In the spotlight" with Ferdina Frampton edged out "Local View on Q" as the best on radio more so for content than listenership. Every Monday night Ferdina goes in- depth with some interesting guests unearthing information about lives and careers in her unique conversational style. If I were not the writer of this article and host of 'Rhythm and Rhyme' I would have listened to some who suggested that the later programme on Vibes Radio could be considered, but I am satisfied with my choice of "In the Spotlight" on Q95. I am also satisfied that 'Hot-seat' hosted by Matt Peltier followed by 'Sports Rap' by Ossie, Sebo , Mano and company respectively, are the most popular radio talk shows on island.
As I close I must ensure that new generation Bouyon acts like Reo is given the accolade as the Best New Bouyon Artiste of the Year.