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Greetings all,

It’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog. It’s not like I have been lazy or anything like that. In fact, I have been busier than ever. Sometimes fate can take you down a path quite effortlessly, and that’s what I believe has happened to me. For me, everyday is for learning, for improving oneself, and gaining new knowledge.

I have been busy shooting several projects. I had shifted away from the Plug N Play series a few months before they took a break themselves, to doing more work for individual clients. Weddings, portraits, products and a sweet sixteen birthday party thrown in for good fun. whenever I take on a project, I normally have two objectives. First, obviously is to capture a set of images that pleases the client. The other is to use the shoot as a learning experience for myself. Each shoot has its own set of challenges – technical, logistical and otherwise. All of the challenges I face contribute to me honing my craft a little better.

I recently took on a project to shoot a set of packaged products. Close to forty individual pieces of products, which had to be shot both individually and in groups. The biggest challenge was dealing with the repetitive nature of the shoot. I sometimes loathe repetitive, mundane activity. It can be boring,  but it gave me a chance to develop a workflow that made the shoot flow almost seamlessly once I settled on my preferred set up. Shooting that many items can be strenuous on the eye. Peeping through the small viewfinder can be hard on the eye after several minutes. Even the 3″ LDC display on my Nikon D300s is really small to see the details of the images.

I found the perfect solution which really improved my workflow, gave my eyes a deserved break, and allowed me to get better shots. I decided to tether my camera to my 15″ laptop. I found an inexpensive but very worthwhile software called “CameraRC“. Its available for a wide range of Nikon DSLRs and they give you a free 30 day trial (which I’m using). It is one of the most practical pieces of utilities I have come across in a long while – apart from a cool app called Photo Tools for Android (more on that later).

CameraRC connects to the computer via USB and not only provides a larger display for previewing or reviewing your image (yes, it has live view), but it gives you acccess to all your camera controls right there on the laptop. This made it very convenient to review and adjust camera settings, review the composition and quality of the image without staring at a shrunken screen.

It has a very smooth learning curve. As long as you understand the features and controls of your camera, its a cinch to use. Within minutes of opening the software for the first time, I was navigating through the software like I’ve been using it for a long time. It has many features which I have not yet explored. I will be doing that in the next couple of day and weeks. The other great thing about it is the price. Standard license is $19.95 which gives you 1 year free updates. There is also the Lifetime version for $44.95 with a lifetime of free updates. You can install on two computers.

I’d encourage those of you who want to take a bit of stress out of shooting to check it out. There are other tethering software out there, including Nikon’s Camera Control Pro2. But that will set you back $180.  I’ll invest in that when I outgrow CameraRC.

peace until next time.

Let me clarify.. it was Judement Day: Music for the Rebels, Raging Fyah’s album launch at Wickie Wackie beach, Bull Bay.

By the time we got to Wickie Wackie, it was already dusk. The night was cool and clear, and the moment we stepped in the venue, we could feel the vibes. Gabre Selassie was dropping some heavy rockers. A glimpse at the stage told part of the story. Instruments all set up, with a big red Raging Fyah Lion logo as backdrop.

The formal part of the launch included endorsements for RF from industry stalwarts such as Robert Bryan (Grizzleys); Mikey Bennett (Grafton Studios); and Ibo Cooper (Teacher/Mentor). Once the big ups were out of the way, MC Simone Simpson introduced us to the stars of the night. A tight set which included popular songs like Irie Vibe, Far Away, Cyaan Cool, etc got the crowd energised.

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The beautiful thing about this launch was that it felt like a family gathering. Bucking up into brethrens and sistrens like Kurfew Crew, Uprising Band (raspect to Kush, Akinsanya and Pot A Rice, and not to leave out Mama G), Jah9, Kiddus-I  among others was a joy. For those who wanted their fix, you could get Raging Fyah memorabilia on spot (CD, T-shirt and lighter) or a touch of food and drinks to satisfy the body.

Also on board to show support on the stage were Duane Stephenson and Kurfew Crew, both of who gave energetic and well received performances. The whole night was about showcasing solid Jamaican Reggae music. We all loved it. Just like the big bonfire that was blazing backstage on the beach, we expect RF to be blazing bright and hot for a very long time.

There is a feeling that good, new reggae music is dead. If you listen to the typical radio programme you definitely will get that feeling. but if you are really following the local music scene, then you will get the feeling that reggae is alive, but it is kicking! Right now there is a growing movement. Uprising roots Band, Raging Fyah (more on  them later), Kurfew Band, Protoje, Jah9, Iba Mahr, Droop Lion, Asante Amen, Keera Rootz, are some of the newer names out there (although most of them will let you know they have been at this for years!).

But a couple sundays ago I got 2 CDs to listen to. Both artistes were familiar to me, having seen them grace a few stages. One of them I knew as a poet, the other as a serious hip-hop head. But I had the same reaction when I listened to both CDs. “This is serious reggae music, blended for 2011”. All the right elements were there… cutting lyrics; groovy melodies and basslines, and the one drop kick in a whole heap a variation!

Who am I talking about? none other than Kabaka Pyramid and Yuri “Ginegog” Stewart, two young, talented youths whose depths make you wonder if they found a time machine and went back to the 70s and 80’s when the sound was strong!

To be honest, I expected to hear some straight, hardcore hip hop spits from Kabaka, but from the opening beat of  the first track “The Sound” from the album Rebel Music, my eyes popped open! Kabaka and the Bebble Rock crew laid down some solid tracks, and Kabaka’s easy toasting style had the true kind of grit and clarity that made me listen seriously to what he had to say. This music is not about gimmicks or tricks or pretty hooks. but the hooks held me. Kabaka, you Ready fi the Road, my yute!  All 10 tracks are solid and this one will be on rotation on my iTunes player. Of course, Kabaka made sure to lay some of that gritty hip-hop tihs on us with a version of “Prophecy” as the final track.

 

Most of us probably associate the word ginegog with Shabba (the original punanny-ginegog, he boasted). But this Ginegog is a different creature from the great Ranking. (Although you get a flash of the same Shabba bragadociousness on tracks like “Girl Dem Bawlin”).  The Head Cornerstone – Where Poetry meets Reggae Music, is and varied mix of sounds.. a touch of autotune on the first track “Here I Am” to the haunting poetry of Tragedy. My favourite track is Garbage Man. Humorous but deep message of pride. Ginegog is a talented wordsmith and has taken his poetry to a new level that will connect with the now generation.

 

Both are good efforts from young artistes, and I look forward to hearing some more solid sounds coming from these brothers.

Check out their works. Kabaka Pyramid – www.facebook.com/kabakapyramid & Ginegog – www.facebook.com/Ginegog

I know a bunch of people who are born in August. They never let you forget the fact. Just like the heat. August brought us Emancipation and independence. But this post is not about the politics or social implications of either. It’s about the musikal emancipation we felt on August 1, 2011 at the Legend Cafe, Bob Marley Museum, 56 Hope Road, Kingston.

 Musikologie was Danielle McNish’s wonderful gift of August to all of us who were not born in this wretchedly hot month. It was the kind of party that would not attract everyone. But it was the type of party for those of us who can enjoy grooves unheard of on radio or the dancehall or the club floor.

With the aid of jello shots, brownies that made you smile, wine from Georgie up in the hills and a barage of sweet, soulful, waistline moving, mentally stimulating musik from DJs Kuda Kwashe, Afifa So((u))L and Iset Sankofa, all souls present were lifted one way or the other.

This was a real all inclusive party. No, not all the food or drink you want for the price of entry… I’m talking about all inclusive musik… when was the last time you grooved to the sounds of Jazz, Funk (Gangsta lean!), Reggae, Afro-pop, Juju, and every other sound out there all in one party?

So, the down side? not enough jello, for one. Work the next morning for 2. Not hearing Sawandi for 3. But there will be a next time… right promoter?

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Best Band in the World - Dubtonic Kru

Friday, March 11, 2011. The night belonged to the greatest band in the world – The Dubtonic Kru. After mashing up the local competition in December last year, the band went on to claim the crown in Malaysia in February.  Like every other party, friends, well wishers, and supporters were on hand to celebrate with Jubba, Stone, Kamau, Jahlonzo and Luke. Energetic performances by Macka 4, Clancy Eccles Jr., Gibby’s Dubmetal, Bryan Art and Pentateuch, among others, and special Guest Dean Fraser who jammed with the Kru kept the celebrations alive.  MC for the evening was RJR 94’s Heather “Brown Sugar” Grant.

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March 4, 2011 show: Featuring Kiprich

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Fi Wi Sinting, an annual afro-centric day of festivities and  display of African culture, has been in existence for 21 years now. Staged by Sister P, the event this year was held at Sommerset Falls in Portland.

A new feature of the festival this year was the presence of the Rastafari Business and Professional Association cluster of booths. Booths with craft, food and fashion were on display, as were jonkanoo dancers, nyabinghi drumming, storytelling, children’s corner, live performances with Royal Afrikan Soldiers and others. The sounds of African music from Mutabaruka completed the vibes.

See more from Fi Wi Sinting at Colin Porter Photography

Fred Locks

Fred Locks

Once again, Plug N Play at the Jonkanoo Lounge demonstrated that quality, full energy reggae music lives! Main acts for the night were Gibby’s Dubmetal and Fred Locks.

Gibby was first to take the stage and immediately the energy meter shot to the limit. The crowd was treated to classic rock songs (“Jimi Hendrix is the greatest guitarist” said Gibby as he went into Purple Haze), Reggae songs done is hard rock style (Beres Hammond’s Tempted To Touch) as well a slew of original songs, closing with “Rockstone and boot heel”.

We should have known that Fredlocks was ready for business when he stepped inside Jonkanoo Lounge in his Akademiks track suit. The devout 12 Tribes veteran singer opened the set with True Rasaman – reminding us that “So Jah say… Rasta don’t work for no CIA..”

Prophesy closed the night.

Who says all stools need to be the same? round or rectangle upholstered seat, 4 legs, 3 legs, one leg.

The bicycle stool is an attempt to break away from a traditional look. The triangular frame reminds one of an actual bicycle, sans the wheels. The addition of the seat completes the look. At first glance, one may think this stool cannot be comfortable, but amazingly it is.  The seat height can be adjusted up and down. The seat can also be tilted to give the most comfortable fit for the user.

Well, it came and it went…. the anticipation of seeing Toots on stage at Plug N Play, that is.  I was a bit disappointed that one of Reggae’s first legend’s only blessed us with 2 songs – 54-46 and Bam Bam.  I suppose that he couldn’t have given us much, seeing that he was billed as a headliner at Rebel Salute the following night.  The two songs were enough to energize and satisfy the packed club though.

If Toots got away with only 2 songs, then feature band Dub Tonic would have no such luck. A full set including favourites Born Jamaican and Sunshine girl kept the vibes floating high.  We also had performances from Masia One from Canada and Nikki Davis from Portland, Oregon.

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