This Is Me Jeanine S. Ruiz
Young Trinidadian keyboardist Jeanine Ruiz releases her first EP as a musical autobiography of a life recently begun, and a testament to her emotional journey thus far. Going through the song titles — “Ambitious”, “Overthinker“, “Impulsive”, “Temperamental”, and “Dreamer” — one can gauge how far she has come and how far she can go. Listening to the music, one can hear the subtle influences of style that have touched her compositions. World fusion has a new advocate. Admittedly influenced by Japanese jazz pianist Hiromi Uehara mainly, Ruiz has a sure handedness in her playing and a keen sense of timing and cinematic breadth in her arrangements that catch a number of genres without being confusing. This is more than jazz-influenced trio playing, this debut signals a potential to take on the rigours of inspiring a waning instrumental music listening audience, here and there, to stick around and continue to track Ruiz’s ongoing musical journey.
Bayo (Single) Michael Brun ft. Strong G, Baky & J. Perry
“Bayo” in Haitian Kweyol means “to give,” and with this new single from Haitian-born EDM DJ, Michael Brun, Haiti is giving the world a lesson in what the country is and what it represents today. A spoken phrase in the song’s music video translates to “Haiti is like a pulse for the rest of the world,” and that statement is one that this new wave of music talent from the first black republic has taken to heart. Brun, who has a Haitian father and Guyanese mother, along with fellow native MCs Strong G, Baky and J. Perry, also represent the multi-hued reality of the people of the island. Not that that matters much, but this celebratory dance music that has elements of indigenous rara and konpa which easily fuse with new dance music gives an updated look and sound to an island that has been at the centre of African diaspora culture from the beginning and recalibrates our concept of modern Haiti. “Bayo” is that beauty and potential “sonified.”
GEBE Wuk Up (Single) King Kembe
Sint Maarten Carnival will happen in May, and “neither hurricane, nor rain, nor heat, nor darkness” — with apologies to Herodotus — will stop the celebrations on the island nation in its post Hurricane Irma recovery. And a part of that celebration is the release of new soca songs that reflect the Windward Islands’ and Dutch Caribbean’s take on soca that is driven by a high beats-per-minute rhythm and urgent authentic vibe devoid of over-sampled electronic sounds. “GEBE Wuk Up” is a funny ditty about the unsure and unfortunate encounters of a couple dancing right through a seemingly familiar occurrence of electricity blackouts on the island — GEBE is the government owned electricity company. Nothing stops the “wuk up” in the dark! Reference to regular power cuts in this season of renewal on Sint Maarten when the company admits to “doing its best to restore some normality” is the wry prod that makes this song unforgettable.
Don’t Make Me Wait (Single) Sting & Shaggy
Sting, frontman for seminal 1980s band The Police, joins Mr. Boombastic himself, Shaggy for a collaboration that has super hit potential written all over it. This first single off the forthcoming new joint album 44/876 oozes with a sure-fire confidence and sonic familiarity that suggests these two stars are on the right path for crossover success on the reggae and pop charts. “Don’t Make Me Wait” has the feeling of Marley’s “Waiting in Vain” — resisting waiting must be a Jamaican preoccupation — but the song lyrics channel the feeling that love can’t be rushed, and when the time is ripe, good things will come. Sting’s voice has that timbre that whispers sexily and rises to pierce at the higher registers, while Shaggy’s swinging dancehall chatting has a commanding presence that makes you listen up and sing along. The result is a duet that responds positively to the modern empathetic understanding that all men have to #WaitForLove.
- These reviews appear in the May/June 2018 issue of Caribbean Beat magazine.
© 2018, Nigel A. Campbell. All Rights Reserved.