House O' Jam: Come for a Dream[CD]
'Clearly, this has been a marvel of great taste, an expanding soul of ideas, hard wuk, and a remarkable enduring 'addiction' not only to being musical but meaningful.' writes music observer Alfred Aguiton. 1. BE TRUE - a perfect, easy rockin' start to any album. Dominic Herbert hails from Sangre Grande in eastern Trinidad and has a remarkable knack for easy flowing lyrics. 2. WHO DO I LOVE? - especially attractive for prompting and supporting meditation, says Aguiton. Martin 'Lee' Merrique and Brent Matthew deliver a special R&B groove painted with pathos and humour. 3. WAR - a respectable response to Marley. Jasari Kalangi lives in Petit Valley in the West and never had the opportunity to return to the studio to add his harmonies. There was just too much gunfire and gang warfare in Laventille - he feared for his life. What a coincidence he chose this topic for a reggae vibe! 4. HOOKWINE - very intriguing, musically and otherwise. The 'otherwise' betrays a sauciness Vanessa Grant at 27 years renders in this soca fusion. She wanted her song to have some international flavour which Augustus, Robley and Flemming easily achieve. Following the death of three brothers to gang warfare, she guardedly nurtures her sons Zion and Llano (among other siblings) who are musical geniuses in their own right. 5. COOL FAITH SONG - our Brazilian cousins will be delighted! Augustus captures a wonderful blend of kaiso melody with a samba drive adding exquisite jazzy jewels along the way - a spiritual whose lyrics Horace Raymond describes as a 'post card' but which the composer abandoned here in favour of whistling to 'let the melody convey the coolness of the song.' 6. ISLAND FEVER - a fine, gentle introduction to pan musicality. Sasha O'Neil King, currently known by his sobriquet Son of King, formerly S O K, is a special artist whose vocal acrobatics create signature sonic landscapes. The island vibe in the production comes from Augustus ably assisted by Lawrence Taylor, former graduee of the engineering course. 7. NOBODY - a rap that makes good sense and sounds. Emortel (Marlon Murray) - the gifted poet's rhymes and reasoning deliver immediate impacts to your heart and mind with the weapons of truth, wit, common sense and youthful wisdom. 8. COME FOR A DREAM - what a neat and pleasant borrow from the Master Antonio Carlos Jobim. (Aguiton) Augustus plays the maestro's number with a gentleness not characteristic of the harsh realities of Laventille but calling out for peace for this beleaguered community to match the hopes and dreams of young artists coming to the studio. This bossa nova gives you that pleasurable itch that must be scratched! 9. HOUSE O' JAM - superb contemporary material - message, beat and music quite enjoyable. Brazilian chant, textured and coloured chords, old calypso doop doop, Jamaican dub, rap and a few Latin ingredients create a fluid backdrop for the inspirational lyrics cast in realism. A perfect anecdote for hyper-critics of the studio. 10.WE MUST DANCE - tastefully, palatably, differently and infectiously outstanding! At the behest of Lebanese-Canadian producer and dancer Annie Tazbaz whose exploits to Trinidad Carnival are bound for Hollywood frontiers, this track from the previous album was remixed. Jazz guitarist Michael Boothman, producer Leston Paul and calypsonian Tony Barclay advised Andre what to change in the remix. 11.SONG FOR GAMAL - strangely feels a little 'unfinished', but pleasantly so. 'Unfinished' was the life of basketball star and fireman Gamal Patrick who took his life at the tender age of 24 due to mental illness. So the medium is the message. His father Glen was a staple at the studio and both he and Augustus vascilated on the jazz-calypso idiom for this ode to Gamal. Somehow the two were half-convinced that this arrangement would have more thematic appeal. Dawud Orr is stupendously adept on flutes and sax. 15-year old Llano Grant plays lead tenor pan as therapy a few months after being shot in the legs. 12.PORT-OF-SPAIN PRESSURE - as the name signals, this is very appealing reality music, Rudder mixed with Baron. Oliver Chapman began the song, Augustus developed it musically while Horace Raymond was inspired to create a new chorus. Boothman lends his astute guitary touch again in what he describes as 'calypso blues.' 13.ADDICTED - unusual enough to be interesting and indeed challenging. Terry Bannister was released from jail when he was referred by a Youth Development Officer. He comes from the east - Cumana, is familiar with Lavenitlle and sang this song in studio with a less than attractive voice. But for Augustus his ideas are quite sound and worthy of development. Stephen Singh improves on the singer's craft. Admittedly, there is room for improvement but oh my - what a groovy rhythm. 14.LOVE BUNCH BEAT - your versatile best. Of course...this can't be beat! That's Alfred's exuberant love of parang bursting through in that comment. The Love Bunch Serenaders were invited to record this track by Audio Engineering student Curvin Jones, also leader of the band. It was a class project for Curvin, the song dislplaying the island's Spanish heritage, Venezuelan influence with Afro-Laventillian spice - a must for our compilation. Summary House o' Jam: Come for a Dream is a must-have for Trinis in the diaspora and all who will lay claim to the adopted country from whatever corner of the globe!
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