Today is Sunday, February 06, 2011, the late Bob Marley’s birthday, (the air waves are playing nothing but his music, fabulous), and I have just finished cooking Sunday dinner including a Jamaican fruit cake. I know it’s not Christmas but with the discovery of ‘Annilu’ this Christmas, baking Jamaican Fruit cakes has become a ‘breeze’.
I’m the first to tell you that baking is an art form, you either have it or you don’t. Unfortunately I don’t. So no need to tell you how stressed out I am every Christmas when it’s expected that you bake Christmas cake or pudding. Over the years luckily for me I have two great, gifted girl friends that bale me out each year by ensuing that I get Christmas cake for my house.
Well this year, I went to the supermarket one day and they were promoting a Jamaican Fruit cake mix, Annilu. My first thought was, ‘that can’t taste good’. Fruit cake and cake mix don’t go together. I was encouraged to sample and I must say I was impressed. I bought a box determined to prove that surely they must have added more for the sample that they made me test. Well, after baking that first box, I haven’t looked back. It really tastes like fruit cake. My husband could not believe that it came from a box.
Now, I’m a pro, It takes me ten (10) minutes to put it all together, the dry and wet mix, 3 eggs and 1/4lb of butter. I add a bit more fruits as I like to bite into them and the mix blends them out completely. I sometimes add chopped nuts for variation and if I don’t expect children I spice it up by adding more white rum. Another trick my friend shared was to add strawberry jam, which also spruces up the flavor. Then in the oven for 1 hour and you’re done.
So now I bake fruit cakes whenever I like. No more major production. Mark you, there is nothing like a start from scratch Jamaican fruit cake from someone who has the gift and can really bake, but for others like me, Annilu is a god sent.
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JUST TO GIVE YOU A LITTLE SNEAK PEAK; IEYE HAS 2 MAJOR DEALS ON THE TABLE RIGHT NOW, NOT ONLY THAT, SHE STARTS SHOOTING 2 BIG BUDGET MUSIC VIDEOS IN LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA EARLY SEPTEMBER. SHE ALSO DOING SOME WORK WITH "LEONCHALON", A TALENTED ARTIST FROM ARGENTINA..
CATCH "IEYE" ON HER SUMMER TOUR 2010.
29.07.10 BAGNOLS Sur CEZE (France) / Garance Reggae Festival.
30.07.10 RIPATRANSONE (Italy) / Summer Festival.
31.07.10 FOSSACESIA (Italy) / Onde Sonore Festival.
01.08.10 ROMA (Italy) / Villa Ada.
02.08.10 BESSUDE (Italy) / Sardinia Reggae Festival.
05.08.10 REUNION ISLAND (France) / Sakifo Festival.
07.08.10 UPPSALA (Sweden) / Uppsala Reggae Festival.
10.08.10 SOUSTONS (France) / Les Arenes.
12.08.10 SANGRES (Portugal) / Superbock Summer Festival.
13.08.10 GROSSETO (Italy) / FestAmbiente.
14.08.10 LECCE (Italy) / Festival Gusto Dopa Al Sole.
15.08.10 OUDENAARDE ( Belgium) / Feest In Het Park.
17.08.10 BRESCIA (Italy) / Festival Radio Onda d’Urto.
19.08.10 RIMINI (Italy) / Festa Unita.
20.08.10 SOTTO MARINA (Italy) / Arena Live Cayo Blanco.
22.08.10 CORSEPT (France) / Couvre Feu Festival.
24.08.10 BENICASSIM (Spain) / Rototom Festival.
26.08.10 LA TESTE de BUCH (France) / Parc des Expositions.
27.08.10 BRATISLAVA (Slovakia) / Uprising Reggae Festival.
28.08.10 WIESEN (Austria) / Wiesen Sunsplash.
29.08.10 UBERSEE (Germany) / Chiemsee Reggae Summer Festival.
“You Are Me”, the first single produced by Alaine’s 1Thirty1 record label, is already receiving rave reviews and garnering heavy rotation on both local and International airwaves. The song isn’t the typical kind of music that we have grown to expect from the artist, this song is deeply personal and touches listeners to their very core.
“I was inspired to write ‘You Are Me’ by the events that happened in West Kingston. I was really affected by the negative images from the media coverage and negative, fearful sentiments being expressed on the talk shows and the sounds of gunshots being fired all around while locked up in my house. I started crying for my country, for my brother and sisters, and I followed my tears to my piano. As soon as I sat down and started playing, the song came pouring out of my soul,” stated Alaine when asked how she decided to write this song.
A video was also recently shot for the single at a beautiful location in St. Thomas late last month and directed by Ras Shac. It’s a performance video, that includes use of metaphorical imagery, and features Alaine interacting with a band, which mirrored the recording process, which actually took place in the studio.
The video also features a scene with Alaine playing an upright piano on the beach with surfers in the background, surfing over insurmountable waves, much like our seeming problems in Jamaica and our world. The video will be released in mid-July.
“A rainbow came out during the shoot, and it represents the promise of new beginnings after the rain,” added Alaine.
The multi-talented Alaine has recently returned from an amazing performance in The Abacos and has been busy in the studio working on projects including a recent recording ‘For yur eyez only’ with multi-platinum superstar Shaggy which was produced by platinum producer, Tony Kelly. She has also completed recording with ZJ Chrome on the Cardiac Bass Riddim called ‘Up’, Jeremy Harding, Esco, and Dermaco.
Alaine will also be going on month long tour to Europe with fellow RETV High School Tour veterans, Voicemail at the end of July. They are scheduled to perform in Germany, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, France and several other countries.
The audience was captivated, and excited when White announced the 2010 Digicel Reggae Sumfest theme, ‘The Next Generation’, its spokespersons Agent Sasco and I-Octane, and a partnership with mobile phone manufactuerers Motorola.
Cue smoke, and enter unconventionally dressed dancers and then performances by the two faces of The Next Generation Campaign and with that, the initiative was successfully launched. Looking at the ‘next generation’, its not difficult to see what Digicel’s mission is: to support the future... of everything.
On the music side, the rebranded and versatile dancehall act Agent Sasco and budding reggae star I-Octane stand tall. With technology, the company stands quietly testing 4G for an August launch and will very soon become the first in the region to offer the Motorola Milestone smartphone.
Jeffery Campbell isn’t your run-of-the-mill dancehall act. Always re-inventing himself, he offically became Agent Sasco in May 2009 after an illustrious run in the business as ‘Assassin’. Lyrically lethal, Agent Sasco’s music burns with a fire needed for dancehall music to strive in a challenging musical environment. His string of hits go way back from Nah Nuh Gyal, Eediat Ting Dat and Gully Sit’n to the more recent Same Ting Again, Hand To Mout and Hand Inna Di Air, and in an evironment currently under the unforgiving eye of a critical Jamaican audience, Agent Sasco is yet to fail at bowling us over and is positioned to continue taking dancehall music to higher heights.
I-Octane is a breath of fresh air in our music. With a powerful voice and a creative spirit, the young man – who hails from Clarendon – enchants ears and attracts fans all over the world. Born Byiome Muir, he has been climbing steadily up the musical ladder, scoring chart-topping hits and performing all over the world. His catalaugue of popular tunes start out with Stab Vampire and now include Different Page, Mama You Alone, Missing You, and Lose A Friend and he gives every indication that the future of reggae music is bright as he continues to rack up studio hours. Not to mention the 18-city European tour he he has lined up, a follow up to his 2009 European debut where he performed to a crowd of 35,000 persons in Holland – and yes, the crowd sang each song lyric for lyric.
Digicel is however going a step further, and including the future of technology in their bid to push ‘The Next Generation’, with their partners Motorola. Together, they will soon launch the first Motorola Milestone in the region, along with two other technologically advanced handesets from the phone company.
Remember those flashy outfits the dancers wore? Designed by the one and only Dexter ‘3D’ Pottinger, who is known in the fashion world for his edgy, barrier-breaking, eye-opening futurisitc designs and idea. The former model has worked with the likes of CeCile, Tifa, Tami Chynn, Macka Diamond, Mystic Davis and more. He’s also a full-blown creative powerhouse with video directing and photography.
Last week, Shelly-Ann Curran, Senior Sponsorship Manager at Digicel said that “Our line up of activities this year has led us to forge some fantastic partnerships that will ensure that our customers continue to benefit from superior value and amazing offers. We have also joined with Motorola, again to continue wowing our customers with the latest innovation in mobile technology and we will be announcing these details very soon. It’s going to be a great summer for Digicel and our customers and we’re looking forward to it”.
As the summer rolls on, the completeness of ‘The Next Generation’ is expected to slam Jamaicans with the ‘wow’, always expected of Digicel.
With an incredibly advanced proceessor, this phone brings meaning to the phrase ‘it’s like a computer’. Every Motorola Milestone is equipped with more than 100MB of internal storage, 256MB worth of RAM, and an 8GB SDmicro memory card, which you can replace with a similar memory card up to 32GB. The Motorola Milestone’s elegant 3.7 inch display slides to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard and 5-way navigation key hidden underneath a well designed and easy-to-use touch-screen. Even its audio output is awesome, coming straight from Motorola’s factories with full-blown stereo speakers.
The touch screen is brilliant and intuitive, creating the right forumla for user-friendly, well-rounded interaction with its haptic display, pinch-to-zoom features. The screen is also ‘location-aware’, meaning that when you take a Motorola Milestone out of your pocket, case, bag or wherever, the phone will sense where it is and adjust its settings ¬– such as display brightness ¬– accordingly. Yeah, these are just some of the things that make the Milestone’s touch-screen the most advanced in the industry.
Running on the latest version of Google’s famous operating system for mobile phones, Android, the Motorola Milestone seemlessly connects you to the world. Emails, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube – the internet on a whole has never been this good on a phone. Browse the internet on what has been called the “most advanced Google browser” – HTML5 armed, and ready for multi-window browsing. And that Google association has an added benefit when you’re ready to search. The phone’s operating system seemlessy sychronises with Google so when you search, you’re not just searching the plain ol’ web... you’re also searching your phonebook, stored content and just about every other place imaginable to get better, more accurate results.
When you’re done on that ride on the Internet, take a photo with the stunning 5MP camera. If you have shaky hands, fret not as this phone comes with image stabilisation features, in addition to flash and auto-focus. Then, use the DVD-quality recorder feature and capture a moment with a video – which you can then upload straight to YouTube. You can even use the viewfinder, thanks to the power of Google and Google Maps, to identify buildings on the street, hotels, restaurants, shops and more.
Its sturdy metal-cased body weighs 6oz, and even more impressive is that the phone is the slimmest sliding smartphone to date. The Motorola Milestone also allows users access to the fast-expanding Android Market. The Android Market offers tens-of-thousands of applications for use on the Motorola Milestone, making the second largest mobile appplication marketplace, topping the BlackBerry AppWorld and challenging the iTunes iPhone application library.
When made available in the coming weeks by Digicel, the Motorola Milestone is sure to bring users of smartphones across the island, into The Next Generation.
Reggae Sumfest's prestige has traditionally pushed the artistes to take special care in their appearance and performance. The Festival is known for artistes donning flashy new wardrobes, and backing that up with dazzling performances.
The confirmed artistes for this year's show have been hard at work in rehearsals, toning their vocals and writing lyrics to ensure this year they are at optimum performance. Expectedly, the bulk of them do not wish to reveal much and prefer to drop the surprise on the night of the show. However, the rehearsals have been going on in earnest, the new tunes have been written, the choreography of their performances have been documented, and the artistes are practicing repeatedly to ensure their performances live up to the high Reggae Sumfest standard.
The confirmed list includes Chris Brown, Shaggy Beenie Man Taurus Riley, Queen Ifrika, Tony Rebel, Jah Cure, Etana, Bounty Killer, Mavada, Elephant Man, I-Octane, Voice mail, D'Angel, Stacious, DeMarco, Chino, Konshens, Tifa, Cecile, and Ding Dong among others.
Traditional acts like Beenie Man have never been known to disappoint, always sizzling and dropping new hits while on the stage. Shaggy is also known crowd pleaser as well who soothes as easily as he seduces while on stage, while Elephant Man will electrify as intensely as he will entertain. One group that will be specially observed on the Sumfest stage is Voicemail, which is planning an extra-ordinary performance as a tribute to their fallen member Oneil Edwards. Group member Craig is not revealing much, preferring to deliver the surprise to the audience that night. However, he explained that it will be no ordinary performance.
"We're going to make it a very special one, definitely a good Voicemail performance," he stated. "We have started putting things together already, for a lot of people who had not been to the funeral…there is a song we wrote called praise his name and that is one of the songs we looking forward to performing."
The anticipation for exceptional performances is not only upon established acts but on first time Sumfest performers as well. One such act is Tifa, the self-styled dancehall Diva. This will be her first Reggae Sumfest, but she is also planning to please. "You know we can't reveal too much before the show," she joked. "But definitely people can expect a high energy set, something different than normal. It's my first Reggae Sumfest, so definitely it will be special," she noted.
With a similar buzz surrounding all the other entertainment camps, there is no doubt the performances will live up to the expected mark. Reggae Sumfest will have another memorable set of performances to appropriately celebrate its 18th year.
Reggae Sumfest is the most celebrated and supported Reggae Festival in Jamaica, and attracts the world's leading musicians and performers. In its near 20 year history, the show has boasted a superb entertainment package, loaded with the best performances, food, music, and culture. This year's Festival runs from July 17-24 at Catherine Hall, St James.
The daily tabloid has started the STAR MC search, a hunt to find the person talented enough, eloquent enough, and charismatic enough to win hearts and minds to begin a career in the business of professional hosting/presenting. The audition will take place on Friday July 09 at 9 am, inside the Sports Club of the Gleaner Company on North Street in Kingston.
There is no denying the power of the MC at live events. A talented MC makes or breaks the show. He or she guides the tempo and tone of the event and makes sure that patrons are having the best possible time. They are the ringmasters so to speak, delicately balancing between keeping the audience excited, and not stealing the thunder from the main performers.
THE STAR is offering one person that chance to become a professional MC. The search is open to anyone between 21 and 40 years old who thinks they can manage this task. The winner of this audition will get a contract valued at $100,000, will receive training and guaranteed bookings.
The organizers are therefore looking for strictly amateurs, who have not yet been established in the business. They will examine contestants for vocal clarity, public speaking ability, charisma, confidence, style, and versatility with both English and Patois.
As such, the people who will judge these contestants are from experienced backgrounds in the entertainment world. They are Mrs. Paula-Anne Porter Jones, Martin Lewis, and a representative of the sponsors.
Mrs. Paula-Anne Porter Jones has over 15 years of experience in the field of Communication. She conducts workshops in Voice and Speech, Business Communication, Public Speaking, Media Relations, Radio Broadcasting, Television and related areas.
Martin Lewis of Team Solutions is a highly respected production manager with decades of experience with large scale international events such as Reggae Sumfest, Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, Welcome to Jamrock: The Concert and Beres Hammond: A Moment In Time.
Contestants are reminded to bring valid forms of identification, and come dressed as if they're going to host a live entertainment event.
I have been going to the market for as long as I can remember, every saturday morning I would go with my mother (and when I was younger my two brothers) to the market. Since my more youthful days even though I have grown more experienced if there is one place that still manages to continually surprise me, its the market. The environment is one which certainly takes some time to get used to, the noise, the excitement, the smells... If you haven't grown used to it, it would not be smart to simply think you can enter the market and walk around without being consumed by all the sensations that you would instantly feel. It certainly is an environment that takes a bit of getting used to.
The first issue is the noise. Imagine walking into a room where there are 50 people who are all trying to get your attention at the same time and who are also trying to draw your attention to different objects. That is the simplest way in which one can try to describe what happens in the Jamaican market. As you enter the first thing you are likely to hear is "HUNDRED A POUND!", or "HUNDRED A DOZEN" bellowed at the top of either woman or man's voice. Your next step will then be to find out what exactly it is that is being sold. However that will not be the only source of your noise, you also have to contend with the noise of the handcarts being pushed through the market streets, the people riding bicycles through the market, the jokes being given as these friends meet up after not seeing each other since the last market days the week before.
If you manage to get used to the sounds, you will then have to deal with the smells, and being a market of fresh produce and numerous other items this can confuse your nose as well. Oranges, Banana's, Melons, Coconut, Ground Provisions, and Spices are some of the items that are bound to fill your nostrils with their wild fragrances. However these are only the good smells which waft through the air. The bad smells can sometimes be quite overpowering, the smells range from the rotting fruit and vegetables, to the sweat dripping off the bodies of the numerous sellers who have had to sit in the overwhelming heat for the entire day, fish and meat are other smells which you may happen to come across as well, because you can literally get everything you can think of in the market.
An artist looking for inspiration will find that there is much to see in the market, however he can only hope that his pallette has all the colours which he/she will need to properly fulfill the requirements of a market scene. The variety of fruits can certainly number in the hundreds as even things which I originally thought could not be grown in Jamaica (such as strawberries, and grapes), somehow make their way into the market in a local variety.
I've always had a love hate relationship with the market. I love it because I always admire the comraderie with which everybody treats each other in the market setting. Even people who seem like the worst enemies in one week can be seen the next week exchanging pleasantries as if they grew up together. On numerous occasions I have seen people leave their bags filled with fruits and come back to find them, and even seen sellers leave their goods behind and another person sell it for them with no charge for that service. I however hate it at the same time because the smells and the noise can get frustrating, even to a veteran like myself... and to a lesser extent because I'm always walking around with my mother's findings for the day (a service that I guarantee you is not easy).
In the end there are so many things that happen in our markets that I can in no way fully justify it all with one single post. I however hope that you all take the time to go visit a market though, just for the experience.
Macka aka, The Money Goddess, is on tour, and interestingly enough, it has nothing to do with her on stage performances. The Real Gangster’s Wife, Macka’s latest literal effort, launched earlier this year to great fanfare locally, has generated even more interest beyond Jamaica’s shores, so much that Pageturner Publishing House and Macka have literally taken the show on the road, doing what could be considered, Dancehall’s first book tour of sorts.
“The reception has been fabulous,” declares Macka, when asked about the book tour so far. “Just wonderful,” she continues. “We are in New York now for about seven book signings, we already did one in Manhattan which was just awesome, and we have the Bronx next, then Mount Vernon, Brooklyn, and few more places, then we shoot over to Bridgeport in Connecticut and we also have New Jersey coming up”.
“This entire book tour thing is not only new, but very interesting,” states Macka, “because for the first time I am actually getting to meet my fans in a more personal and sociable way and it’s been extremely interesting,” she states with a chuckle. “I mean, we were in Antigua the other day, and did a few signings and I am in New York getting calls from fans over there telling me how much they enjoyed the book and how much they are looking forward to part two.”
So what can fans expect; is there a part two of The Real Gangster’s Wife in the works? “Well yes, most definitely, its actually already done, it just needs to be edited, but fans have been asking me for Bun Him part two, so I am also working on that right now.”
So far Macka’s book tour has touched parts of Canada, Florida, Antigua and Guyana, and is presently in New York City, with plans for California and Atlanta waiting in the wings.
I hate Jamaican politics. Ok maybe that was a little harsh, but to be honest its the truth. I hate Jamaican politics not because I think its slow, or backward or old. I hate Jamaican politics because it seems to be a political system that does not focus on the populace, but instead focuses on the politicians, and their friends. No really take a step back and think about it. How many times since this year have you heard a politician make a statement, or done something that is genuinely aimed to make life better for the people of Jamaica. As a matter of fact I challenge you to look back on the past 10 years and count how many policies were implemented that made you smile and have faith that the world isn't out to get you? Off the top of my head I can only think of around 3, only 1 of which had very little negative effects on Jamaica. The 3 are, Free Health care, Free education up to high school level and the move by Tufton to remove foreign products from our local market. All in all our politicians pretty much suck.
I could go into all the problems caused by our politicians to Jamaica but it would really just be a case of me repeating myself as alot of the articles I've written have been me ranting on about all the rubbish they have done over the years. However the fact remains we as Jamaicans, have definitely dealt with alot of crap, but we persevere, and I would suggest that maybe its time that we change the status quo and change politics in Jamaica. I have made the suggestion on numerous occasions that what we really need to do is to break apart the two party system of politics that has existed since independence, and start anew. I still believe that we should take this step, but after some thought, and a very funny drawing in the local newspaper, I realize that maybe I have been getting ahead of myself. The real first step that we need to take would be to get rid of the "old guard" that is currently in charge of our parties and our government, and start with a fresh new face to our government.
**Taken from Jamaica observer
The two party system can stay, because it isn't exactly the root cause of the problem, the only problem is the people within these two parties. It should be obvious by now that something is wrong when the majority of the politicians on either side of the party boat are all old fogeys, who were born and raised in this corrupt political system. Of course these old fogeys do serve a purpose and that is the reason why it is important to have some of them. Only SOME. The rest of them aren't doing anything but taking up space in parliament and continuing to play the same tune that my father, and my grandfather will have known. Nobody is attempting to change the tune a little bit for the benefit of breaking us from the boredom. Well that is... nobody old.
Alot of the politicians from the current government that keep presenting radical ideas are in fact people less than 50 years of age. Andrew Holness (Education), Christopher Tufton (Agriculture), James Robertson (Mining) are all pretty young guys and whether you would like to believe it or not, these are the guys who are currently the most active people and who are currently trying to change things as much as possible. Just look at the work that they have been doing since they have been put in power, it is surely something to be proud of and that really inspires us as Jamaicans that maybe we do have a political future. The other interesting thing is that the majority of these young politicians are people who are actually qualified in these posts that they take up. Unlike many of the old guard who are really only there because the parties leadership saw it fit that they be placed there.
I know this because in a chat with a politician friend of mine the other day I asked him if elected what ministry would he take up. He could provide me with no answer and instead said that the party was yet to decide where he would be most useful, however being a brilliant business minded person, I would assume he would take a role in an industry such as tourism. But alas maybe I'm being too logical.
In the end however there is one thing that is really holding us back as a country and that is the fact that the people who we want to lead us, are the same people that have been leading us since the 70's... that is the period where we ended up screwing ourselves over in the first place. This cannot be a logical way to solve our problems can it? The old guys have all had their chance and now its time for them to take themselves away. After all how can we expect to be doing the same thing over and over again, but somehow expect that the result will change?