Find a Bajan everywhere? Try Thailand, NYC and Italy or Fiji
In the years this Web-Magazine evolved we highlighted and tracked the careers of a number of musically-talented Barbadians whose quest for success have led them far from home…
But after a while, they appeared to drop off the radar – did they succeed beyond wildest expectations and lounge in a hammock awaiting a freshly peeled coconut with some pirate rum from a perkily breasted Nubian lass in a hula skirt? Or did plans go south and they traded their instruments for implements to better serve ‘The Man‘ whosoe’er that be?
Using the Internet, we pounded the pavements of the Information Super-Highway so to speak, knocked at numerous ‘doors‘ and eventually we hit some paydirt, some by design and others by accident…
Fitzroy was ‘found‘ by surfing through “myspace” when I was a member, exclusively facebook now – no Hi5 nor myspace either, and he was one of my earliest articles ever! This is what I said four years ago in another venue;-
His origin, he claims, goes in part like this… “Fitzroy is a frog from Barbados who can dance and sing; and so he does…
“At some point, [John Henry] was put under a curse by a local black magic woman (cue music) that trapped him in his human form.
“Many years later on the island of Barbados, his grandson, Fitzroy, learned of his legacy and of his superhuman abilities…
“With that, [Fitz] gathered up his cutlass and his rum and set forth for America to sing his song…
“For an unabridged copy of this story, pick up Fitzroy’s debut album, “Paradise Low” when it becomes available in the next month or so. It’s almost complete…”
Discovered his page on My Space by accident and have been impressed ever since – there is no one true way to describe his music nor his vocalising style! They both have hip-hop and reggae relations, but then you can also feel some soul, Tabasco and R&B as well!
“Her” is the free download song on his web-page, so please – no extraditions! Fitzroy has two other songs for listening but not downloading… “Badman” and “Slippin’” which showcase more of his very ready talent!
“Her” has one of Barbados most famous swear-words at its beginning, this curseword can identify a Bajan at five paces even if the middle of Afghanistan… This song deals with a girl who walks in a place and whose looks just unravel everyone’s minds including the singer’s!
“Badman” is both a social commentary on gang life here in Barbados and blends in how Bush seems to be the Anti-Christ. While “Slippin’” is a definite jazzy riff and smooth beat…
Of course this begs the popular question – WHERE IS HE NOW? Fitzy did guest with Garvey at some spoken word-fests when Bump N’Wine used to be Limelight Cafe, and he spent time in New Zealand during their Cocktail World Cup but there’s more;-
“…I don’t think my whereabouts are that interesting, but then again, what do I know. I can’t harness even an ounce of objectivity when it comes to my musical career. I tend to think of myself as the weird guy making weird music who most people (particularly in Barbados) can’t or don’t quite care to figure out. Doesn’t bother me, but I guess I’m just surprised that anyone would be interested in what I’m up to.
“I have a new blog going up soon with my photographer girlfriend who’s traveling with me about our experiences here. I’ll be sure to send you that link once it’s up, and I’m committed to making sure this one survives much longer than my first attempt, lol.
“I have decamped to Thailand. It’s a fertile place to creative rediscovery and general adventuring, as the landscape, food and people are fantastic, and it’s cheap as all hell. I’m living like a king and creating like a jester. I’ve have blown away all of my deadlines, both musically and journalistically, and as you can tell, I am even making up words.
“So, nothing to report on re: my alter ego, Fitzroy, other than he is having fun reinventing himself. Ever watch Doctor Who? Either old or new, doesn’t matter. The dude somehow manages to come back in a different body every few years to save the galaxy, over, and over, and over again. Me likey. It inspires.
“What say you, and how goes the island? I reckon I won’t be back until summer, and that is the one and only thing bout this escape that is a bummer. I abide, however…”
Another dude making a regular appearance when our URL was longer was David Pilgrim, this is what I said when I learned of his sounds from the now-defunct discussion-forum Zanz and made a story out of in 2005;-
The website’s premise is what would happen if Reggae originated in Brooklyn and Soul was created in Bridgetown, Barbados… The concept for David Pilgrim’s “Island Soul” on the Swingpin label – it was released in late 2004 and can be found at Amazon through his website waiting for you to check it all out and get your own copy!
If David’s name and looks seems familiar, you’re probably more accustomed to seeing and/or hearing his brother on either Trinidad’s Westwood Park, at the Headliners Calypso Tent or in his own gig on TV 8 – “Pilly Out Front” – controversial attorney/actor/emcee Andrew Pilgrim…
David is making his own scene via his music and says on his site that he “…was raised in an island paradise, came of age in a hard city; embodies both, but reflects an experience unlike either.”
His musical career, “…spans reggae, calypso and soul music. It is a living journal of his rich musical and personal experiences. It can be playful; it can be profound. It makes linkages and connections that challenge and envelop any listener. And he has a damn good time playing it.”
“If Indeed” sounds like if he was Lord Kitchener’s outside son really stuck into word-jazz and couldn’t care less unless it rhymes with the next phrase or fits the note of the next rhythm.
Don’t just take my word for it –the disc itself can be found via http://tinyurl.com/ayzwn while you can check the following all-too-brief samples at Amazon via the following link http://tinyurl.com/9z5c8 and listen to why people feel so passionately about his music…
Chris Tait in Florida says, “This CD shows that David Pilgrim is ready for the world to hear his music. Each song has its own individual feel and message that displays David’s range as a musician. He recalls true stories of Love and Caribbean culture as a whole, exceptionally.”
Stephen Clarke in New York thinks that “…David’s rare combination of talents (Bassist/Singer/Poet/Songwriter) is well showcased on this album. A day in the life and mind of a true West Indian artist. Shadow meets Bootsy meets Jon Lucien!”
These were some of the many positive reviews for the album, I was surprised his earlier effort seems largely ignored – back in March 2000 he released “Under The Bushel” on The Orchard label here, and it’s a very appropriate title for the album – talent left hidden indeed, it needs to be explored, as this is a great chance for someone to do a local movie and have his songs punctuate it!
I am disappointed his website does not appear to be current nor with many bells and whistles – as his last public performance was listed in early May, and there are no photos nor downloads like wallpapers (see what Billy Kincaid does here, David, and you’ll see a lot can be done with a little!), so this needs to be redressed and fast!
That was then and this, uh, how? As in -how’s he been doing? This what The Bajan Reporter discovered;-
I’m still playing with the New York-based songwriting combo, The SoulFolk Experience, in fact 2010 will mark 3 years of us playing together. We expect to have a compilation album out by Xmas 2009, entitled “The Soulfolk Experience: Volume 1” (See enclosed pic). I’ll be featured on 2 of my songs on the compilation, “Belly” and “Never Go Home“, and playing bass on a few of the other selections. The LP will be a forum to have our songs available for mass consumption as well as licensing opportunities for movies, television and the like. It will be independently produced by the group members. Stay tuned for it!
Also, I will be releasing my own series of mini-LPs over the latter part of 2010 collectively entitled David Pilgrim: All Things Being Equal (See enclosed pic). It features my usual multi-genre dabbling with a Caribbean accent, and features music written and played mostly by myself with help from my friends in the Soulfolk Experience; Pop songwriters Maritri, Jeff Jeudy, Shelley Nicole and V. Jeffrey Smith. “Eyan” Alleyne will be on a track or two, and I’m trying to cajole a few other Bajan friends to come aboard as well!
The mini-album concept is a relatively new one, in the manner of recent steps taken by a few of the major labels, to supply immediate demand for road-tested songs and spread album expense out over time. The idea is to release songs as I create demand for them from the stage, or drop them from selection as the case may be. It should be fun, and more organic to how listeners listen and buy nowadays. No one listens to whole albums anymore, or buys much more than singles. We as the artists have no choice but to acknowledge that and roll with it. I’m looking forward to it, it should be fun!
Other than that, I’m here in Bim to celebrate family, and maybe jam with a few musicians here over independence weekend. I’m gonna swing back for Jazz in January as well, since these blinkin’ Jetblue fares are so cheap! Maybe I’ll even get to play then! Keep your fingers crossed!
Another son of Barbados far afield is George Gill alias “Italbaje,” who spreads the gospel of reggae in Fiji and Italy among other places…
“The Fiji line up will see “Ital” George Gill of Barbados, West Indies on lead vocals and lead guitar, James “Jemesa” Purmodh on percussion and his daughter Lisa Purmodh on drums, the Rapper George Thomas and Fiu on bass playing cool reggae tunes and showcasing their originals to the masses.”
He was even here briefly at Mojo’s and we found out after the fact, damn! Here’s what he’s been doing and will do, it took nearly three years but we finally heard from George in person!
“What’s new? ….Did some really nice gigs, in the past year & a half, and looking forward to do some interesting projects and collaborations in 2010. Highlights of the last 18 months (or so), have included performing at the New Year’s Eve Celebrations in Sydney, being the opening act for Luciano on his Tour date of Sydney, The Manly Jazz festival, The Good Cellars Wine festival held in Hyde Park, Downtown Sydney. Now the last two events, may seem a departure for a reggae singer, but hardly that much. With my own jazz outfit called Roots Rock Express (see: ) we have started to build a strong following in the Sydney Area, also because we DO incorporate jazz/reggae tunes with infusions of good ol’ fashion rock n’ roll solos, then come steaming through, hence the name of the group.
“Like a certain Xmas songs says, we seek to please ‘from ages one to ninety-two‘, and we seem to be succeeding. I am presently in Rome, Italy, working on those interesting projects, while the band continues to play up a storm, until our expected gathering in early ’10.
“Thanks for the check-in!”
So that’s where some Bajans afield are up to, we’ll keep updated when appropriate of course – but it’s good to see the old adage being true that you can’t go a place in the world without finding a Bajan!