Trends in broadcasting, music distribution and sales, and the nature of the economy of this thing we call the music business in TT. Soca and Carnival, Calypso and Steelband.

Not so cool in the Great White North: Toronto and the Caribbean Jazz experience¹
brown-gig-thumb12 Apr 2013: Over the Carnival season recently ended, a couple Trini expat jazz musicians resident in the Great White North of Canada, Toronto to be exact, returned home for sustenance, vacation, and creative idyll. Anthony Pierre founder of Caribbean jazz outfit Kalabash and Brownman [Ali], multiple award winning and exalted trumpeter informally pressed the flesh with local musicians and fans, both outlining their plans for 2013.

How not to build a music industry in Trinidad & Tobago: A Machel Montano Primer
machel-youtube16 Dec 2012: Back on May 15, 2012, soca superstar Machel Montano gave a speech during the annual Caribbean Investment Forum (CIF) as part of the panel discussion on the creative industries and the adjunct entertainment industry. The discussion had as a specific emphasis, music and the visual arts as a growth industry in the region with the question being asked of the speakers: “How does the Caribbean make it to the world stage?”

Pan Jazz Picnic
panjazz-thumb18 Mar 2012: I was recently re-animated about the possibilities of programming 24 hours of steelpan jazz and its variants for online radio, when I had to do a little research into the output of this sub-genre of our Caribbean jazz fusion experiment. Some hard realities; we had a proliferation of CDs during the 1990s, both in Trinidad and Tobago and abroad, mainly North America.

De Riddim of Tings! A 2012 Overview
riddims10 Jan 2012: To say that riddim is king in soca 2012 would be partly true. All the breakout hits in the first week of parties and significantly on the radio have been riddim-based. But history has shown that the big winners of Carnival 2011 and before have been those unique soca compositions not shared with other artistes: Wotless (Kes The Band) and Advantage (Machel Montano), to name a couple.

Pan Hysteria? A Review of Innovation and Invention
pan-patent-thumb23 Mar 2011: I wrote the article cited below back in May 2002 when I was living abroad. It addressed the nervousness of some nationals in the diaspora to what was reported as the “conquest” of pan by foreigners. In light of my last post on the design of pan as a factor of optimizing dispersion, which generated heated debate on who did what and when for pan, I thought I would again “go backwards to go forward” with the conversation on pan by looking at existing patents and their utilization.

Pan gone backwards to go forward
epan-thumb10 Mar 2011: The steel pan still fascinates me as an industrial musical instrument that has the potential to be as commonplace as the electric guitar or portable electronic keyboard. Portability, short learning curve relative to traditional music learning experience, and ease of manufacture seem to be the factors that make the two aforementioned so popular.

Carnival is Money II, or The Commodification of Fun
ipmas-logo09 Mar 2011: Carnival done, or so it seems for the popular mas’ bands. And it’s not even midnight. Yet my black ass on a computer writing! Now that I am back from liming in Woodbrook and seeing the mas’ from the roadside, I am in awe at the level of organization necessary to pull off that moving party called ISLAND people mas, and for that matter any large modern Carnival band that is in effect an all-inclusive travelling fete, with costumes.

Carnival is Money, or The Canonization of William Munro, the ultimate Soca monarch
munro-as-saint06 Mar 2011: I like it. Carnival is war. A war of words and ideas. Fuck that shit about “Carnival is Colour.” There is finally a recognition that Carnival is MONEY. Big money, at that. In this global village where concepts like the earth is flat and wikinomics are fertile, Trinidad Carnival is making a space for itself. Streaming carnival shows online are now just mundane content delivery jobs, and opportunities to monetize everything Carnival are as pervasive as the branded bandana or tee-shirt.

The Emancipation of the Caucasian Mind, or What Trinidad Carnival Become!
machelvideo18 Feb 2011: The genesis of this note came from a reading of the blog post by Phillip Edward Alexander, “The Abuse of Culture… (Who Say Advantage?)” and its respondent commentary. His thesis was the degradation of our Carnival culture as exemplified by the “quality” of a recently leaked soca tune by Machel, “Advantage”. Phillip did not like it in the least, and lamented that this was a portent to the “dumbing down [of] our nation.”


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