New­found­land, Caribbean col­lab on mu­sic fu­sion TV project

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT - En­ter­tain­ment@glean­

ACREW of three has been is­land-hop­ping across the Caribbean on a mis­sion to cap­ture the var­i­ous sounds and pre­sen­ta­tions of emerg­ing record­ing artistes, with the sup­port of the gov­ern­ments and film in­dus­try of New­found­land and Labrador. From The Ba­hamas, Bar­ba­dos, St Lu­cia, Trinidad and Tobago, and now, Ja­maica, Fabian James, Wes Holmes and Rick Hol­lett, have filmed 40 emerg­ing Caribbean record­ing artistes for the third sea­son of Club One New Releases.

By way of a so­cial me­dia com­pe­ti­tion, a panel of in­de­pen­dent judges con­sist­ing of Ibo Cooper, Mikey Ben­nett, Si­mone Har­ris, and Seretse Small nar­rowed the Ja­maican au­di­tion pool for the third sea­son of Club One New Releases to a fi­nal 10. They are, Feluke, Adahzeh, Ice­man, Ja­son War­ton, Alexan­dria Love, Jamila Falak, Sky­grass, Anna Miriah, The Sky Is Bro­ken, and In­die Allen.

“The fu­sion part of what we do, the broad­cast agree­ment al­lows us to move them around and take the artistes from coun­try to coun­try,” James said. Af­ter the film­ing of all acts across both ter­ri­to­ries is com­plete, a top six will be se­lected from Cana­dian acts and another six from the Caribbean acts. That to­tal of 12 will then travel to Trinidad to par­tic­i­pate in a per­for­mance work­shop, where an act from re­spec­tive ter­ri­to­ries will be mix-matched for style and asked to per­form the other’s orig­i­nal ma­te­rial, an ac­tiv­ity that will also be filmed.


For the project’s fi­nal arm of mu­si­cal fu­sion, all 12 acts will be car­ried to New­found­land, where, in their mis­matched pairs, they will be asked to com­bine their cre­ative pro­cesses to write and pro­duce mu­sic to­gether.

“It takes that pres­sure off the na­tional mu­sic as­so­ci­a­tions be­cause we have that fund­ing,” James said. “We started with FLOW, who was the big fi­nancier of the project, and with the gov­ern­ment of New­found­land. It’s a great work­ing re­la­tion­ship,” James told The Sun­day Gleaner. “It’s good for the mu­sic in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tions and it’s great for the artistes.”

In the early ’90s, James de­cided to con­clude his ca­reer as a tour­ing mu­si­cian.

“I was tour­ing for many years. I left the tour­ing side of it and stayed with the writ­ing side and the studio,” James told The Sun­day Gleaner. He be­came more fo­cused on the de­vel­op­ment of the Cana­dian mu­sic in­dus­try but on the Eastern side. For about 20 years, he did a lot of cor­po­rate work for the mu­sic in­dus­try in Canada and the United States.


He tells The Sun­day Gleaner that he was ap­proached by Bell Me­dia, a tele­vi­sion broad­caster in Canada, about four or five years ago as the en­tity was in search of new ideas for lo­calised pro­gram­ming and asked him if he would be in­ter­ested in pitch­ing the com­pany an idea. He then came up with the no­tion to un­cover and dis­play emerg­ing artistes. His pitch was ac­cepted, and James went on to pro­duce a re­al­ity se­ries called Club One New Releases.

Ac­cord­ing to James, there was another com­pany, based in the Caribbean, with Cana­dian links, that sought to in­tro­duce new pro­gram­ming them­selves. That en­tity was Flow TV (orig­i­nally based in Canada). Ac­cord­ing to James, FLOW TV was seek­ing out a project that could be­come col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the Amer­i­cas and the Caribbean. “So I pitched them the idea of do­ing a mu­sic fu­sion show.” The idea ex­tended from his venture with Bell Me­dia to fea­ture emerg­ing artistes in Canada to in­clud­ing emerg­ing artistes from the Caribbean and en­cour­ag­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive work.

“Through my years of do­ing con­sult­ing work on the in­dus­try side, I had al­ready made some mu­sic in­dus­try spe­cific con­tacts in Bar­ba­dos,” James said. They took about five artistes from Bar­ba­dos to New­found­land, and vice versa, to en­gage in an ex­change of mu­sic styles and writ­ing pro­cesses. Con­sid­er­ing Ibo Cooper Mu­si­cian Seretse Small the venture suc­cess­ful, Bell Me­dia and Flow TV have de­cided to sup­port the project for a sec­ond year, ex­tend­ing to two prov­inces in New­found­land and to the is­lands of Trinidad and Tobago.

Now for the third year, James finds him­self back in the Caribbean. This time, he and his two other crew-mates found them­selves in the halls of the Edna Man­ley Col­lege of the Vis­ual and Per­form­ing Arts in Kingston, the fi­nal stop of five through­out the Caribbean for the third sea­son of Club One New Releases. This year, James man­aged to wran­gle 10 acts from Bar­ba­dos, 10 from Trinidad and Tobago, 10 from Ja­maica, five from St Lu­cia, and five from The Ba­hamas.

“We op­er­ate a very small pro­duc­tion team. We’re not like a Hol­ly­wood crew,” James ex­plained. The team, con­sist­ing of James, who serves as pro­ducer and host of the show; Wes Holmes, the di­rec­tor of the show; and Rick Hol­lett, sound en­gi­neer, try to travel as com­pactly as pos­si­ble when they get into the field.

All 10 Ja­maican acts were filmed dur­ing per­for­mance and in­ter­views at the Vera Moody Hall on the Edna Man­ley Col­lege cam­pus.

The Club One New Releases is ex­pected to pre­miere on FLOW TV on Satur­day, De­cem­ber 17.

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