Best of the Best
Hi fans of Spotlight, it's Best of the Best again as far as the arts is concerned and we start with the literary arts. The only novel published on the Nature Island was 'Nobody owns a Rainbow'. Kristina Simelda is the choice of literary artiste for the year not just because of this wonderful publication which I also had the opportunity to read but because of her leadership role in the 'Waitukubuli Writers' of which she is a pioneer. Since the demise of the Dominica Writers Guild a couple decades now she has spearheaded efforts and has put together a team of writers who share work, organize promotions and local book sales.
Celia Sorhaindo was strongly considered for her powerful poetry shared on the Nature Island Literary Festival Facebook page which she keeps alive sharing the work of locals as well as informing on competitions, writing tips and general information on literary arts.
Papillote Press is the leading local publishers and through the work of Polly Pattullo has produced a few big novels some of which have been nominated for awards; they are Lennox Honychurch's "In the forest of Freedom" and two award winning young adult novels-"The art of white roses" and "Home Home" by Puerto Rican Prado Nunez and Trinidadian Lisa Allen- Agostini respectively.
It is clear that Cornel Phillip and Dada Lawrence share the spotlight as the biggest producers of music in Dominica although Peter Letang leads the way with Calypso production. Both Cornel and particularly Letang continue to do as much local productions as they do for regional artistes as far as Trinidad.
It is also obvious that Triple Kay is Dominica's leading band based on popularity, touring and releases. They had one of the biggest songs which really took route in 2018 "Still Standing"- their biggest composition for some time or perhaps for all time, both musically and lyrically. Well, this song was only beaten by Dominica's biggest composition of 2018 "Ani Bi Yo love" composed by Shelly and the Signal Band.
Benji remains undoubtedly Dominica's best front man, while Colton T is the country's best male artiste. Colton T is establishing a name for himself not just locally but where it matters most in the region-Jamaica. In fact many pundits agree that "Bomb in the City" is the number one Dancehall release this year. Meanwhile "Can't be friends" continue to get rave reviews and airplay regionally particularly on Barbados' Carib Vision.
Talking Reggae music, ironically the Bouyon Queen, Carlene XP, had the best Reggae song of the year - " Like Home" and to my mind the best composition- period; lyrics, vocals musicianship/ arrangement. If it was not for the popularity for the Bouyon genre it may have edged out Signal Band's "Ani bi yo love" as song of the year. Surely it is the best locally produced Reggae this year.
However, the best locally based and fastest rising artiste is Starsha –think you can handle it? So far she has but the leading local female is undoubtedly Mel C a talented song writer and singer who has been featured on recordings and shared stage with some big acts even as she continues to make waves in the French Antilles. Now its "No Money no love oh" and this Afro Caribbean groove is burning up the charts.
Keks Mafia is the most popular leading local act in the Bouyon genre but internationally the Bouyon Prince, Asa, still is Prince in 2018. Still "Thick Shabine" seems to be the new generation Bouyon composition that has captured many youths imagination and must be highlighted as one of the most popular local releases this year.
Shernel is undisputed Gospel act of the year, for his well-received regional and local performances up to the recently staged Sinach concert a few weeks ago.
Finally, the Smith Brothers are the emerging or best new musical outfit for the year and leader Maxian Smith for his guitar works and general musicianship on stage, on tour, is the musician of excellence of the year 2018.