Saturday, 23 April 2011

Copyright and the Selector

Copyright and the Selector
By Gwyneth Harold

April 23 is recognised by UNESCO as World Copyright Day and I paused today to reflect on what this means for me, the official "selector" of recordings of the spoken word for the Two Seasons Talking Trees Literary Fiesta. What a journey it has been! We want to have readings that touch on a range of genres and subjects and that will move listeners emotionally, but still maintain a fun, fiesta feel....and stay within laws that protect intellectual property rights.

The Commonwealth Foundation's Short Story Competition kindly granted permission to replay the audio tracks of winning entries from 2010. Also in my collection is work from Jamaican writers. I tried to find the work of recent poets, such as Dingo, but that is not so simple although I did check a few bookshops, maybe I was not thorough enough.

Fellow festival collaborator, Janet Barrett, has a lovely album of stories by Trinidadian storyteller, Paul Keens Douglas. I selected the shortest one on that album and it is seven minutes long! The Winston Churchill Foundation allows downloads and the piece I selected is his comments on the value of imagination to a nation. He delivered that speech during the war when he was Prime Minister of the UK.

Of course patois has to be featured and I went old school with recordings of The Honourable Louise Bennett Coverley, among others.

The playlist of talk needs space between the pieces, which means a little music.
I searched my personal music library and found things I forgot were there. A touch of bright trumpets from bullfighting music, samba samples from Brazil and Arturo Tappin's Java album will help us to deliver Latin in the fiesta atmosphere. Afro Caribbean rhythms from Rupert Bent's guitar-led album, Badly Bent, and the Taxi Gang's Latin interpretation of the theme from Mission Impossible are irresistible.

Much of Buju Banton’s work is storytelling, so although I wanted to keep music to instrumental, I had to include selections from Till Shilo.

I wanted to have an inspirational track or two and selected Noddy Virtue’s Just Believe from the album of the same name. I also used music from the Sound of Joy album, Sing de Bible, with lyrics taken from the most influential book in English, The Holy Bible.

Dr Christine Marrett, the festival coordinator, is exacting when it comes to respecting intellectual property, and ensuring that we do the right thing with regards to licenses and permits. We have prepared our playlist and will submit it to the relevant agency along with the fee so that composers and artists can benefit from the use of their work.

Locally based collection agencies, however, do not cover the spoken word, and these artists perhaps also have no less right to benefit from the replay of their work. The Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) advised us that every effort should be made to find the owner of the work and get permission for playback. The search for writers started in earnest and writers are giving permission for us to replay their work. This search also extends to gaining permission from sites that offer free downloads, as some of these sites do not own the work and downloads must be deleted from the computer and not shared or broadcast.

I got a call from a literary fan who insisted that the recorded talk needs to have American civil rights leader, Dr Martin Luther King; I needed a legal copy. Fortunately Apple iTunes University allows free downloads of material for educational purposes.

I also tried to buy mp3 copies of speeches, but neither Apple-iTunes nor Amazon allow these purchases to a PC in Jamaica. As a selector, these were interesting experiences and good information for anyone whose profession touches on intellectual property or the creative industries.

Jamaica is repeatedly cited as a country that still has a far way to go to protect intellectual property and on World Copyright Day 2011 I am reflecting that it is onerous, especially for free events, to do due diligence, but in the long run we must be able to say that we used the labour of someone else, legally.
April 23, 2011

Impressive Lineup of Jamaican Writers for Two Seasons Talking Trees Literary Fiesta


Impressive Lineup of Jamaican Writers at
Two Seasons Talking Trees Literary Fiesta.

April 23, 2011

The Two Seasons Talking Trees Literary Fiesta has released its programme, with an impressive lineup of established and new Jamaican writers reading their own work.

The 13 Jamaican writers cover the areas of short stories, novels, plays, poetry and journalism. The Fiesta’s international writer is A. Igoni Barrett, the award-winning Nigerian short story writer with Jamaican roots. A panel discussion, Writing it down, explores the pros and cons of self-publishing or working with a publisher, paper or electronic publishing.

Open to the public at no charge, the Fiesta’s first readings start at 10:00 a.m. with the segment Party Pizzazz, featuring novelist Garfield Ellis and journalist, Robert Lalah. Ellis recently launched his latest novel, Till I’m Laid to Rest. Lalah is popular for his columns, Roving with Lalah and the book of the same name.

The panel discussion starts at 11:30 a.m. and features founder of Independent VoYces Literary Fair, Judith Fulloon Reid; publisher of the eZine, TALLAWAH, Tyrone Reid; and Chairman of Ian Randle Publishers, Ian Randle. The moderator of the discussion is composer and director of the music production collaborative, Sounds of Joy, Joy Simons Brown.

Best of the Fests starts at 12:30 p.m. featuring from Independent VoYces Literary Fair writers Sonia King (Jacket or Full Suit) and Veronica Blake Carnegie (The Tie that Came Back and Other Stories). Two writers from the Asante Adonai Literary Lyme will be invited to participate in this segment.

Open Mike will run from 1:10 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. and will be moderated by Joy Simons Brown. Writers are invited to read their best material in two minutes or less.

Sneak Peek starts at 2:00 p.m. and is a reading of Keiran King’s upcoming play “Last Call” – a musical set in 1949 at the Myrtle Bank Hotel, Kingston, Jamaica.

Our Talk starts at 2:30 p.m. with readings from foundation dub poet based in Florida, Malachi Smith; co-founder of the Jamaica Poetry Society and broadcaster, Tomlin Ellis; writer and UTech lecturer in Communication Studies and Creative Writing, Nova Gordon Bell; and Northern Virginia-based fiction writer, Pamela K Marshall.

Talking Drums at 3:30 p.m. – a performance by twin brothers of Treasure Beach, the Shane Drummers – ushers in the featured presenter, A. Igoni Barrett, in Roots and Branches at 4:00 p.m.

Based in Lagos, Barrett is the author of the short story collection, Caves of Rotten Teeth. The son of the noted Jamaican poet and essayist, Lindsay Barrett, who lives in Nigeria, A Igoni Barrett also organizes literary events in his home country. He was a writer in residence at the Chinua Achebe Center in Mombassa, Kenya last year and will be in residence at the Norman Mailer Center in Massachusetts in July, and in September, he will be at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in Italy. He has completed a second collection of short stories which is awaiting publication.

The Fiesta gates open at 9:00 a.m., when patrons will be treated to an hour of Recorded Talk, featuring recordings of speeches, recitations and literary work interspersed with musical selections. MC for the day is author of the novel, Bad Girls in School, and the adventure audio drama, Fly Guy, Gwyneth Harold Davidson.

The Two Seasons Talking Trees Literary Fiesta is the literary stage of the Treasure Beach Bread Basket Festival (TBBBF). Information on the Fiesta is at

The TBBBF will stage seven events from Friday May 27-Sunday, May 29. For more, visit .

Proprietor Two Seasons Guest House, Christine Marrett

Monday, 11 April 2011

Treasure Beach Bread Basket Festival Launched

Treasure Beach Bread Basket Festival Launched
Photos courtesy
Article by Dr Christine Marrett
Treasure Beach, April 8,  2011

Elizabeth Selzter - Calabash House
Organizers of the Treasure Beach Bread Basket Festival – a smorgasbord of cultural, culinary, music, literary and visual arts events at various locations in Treasure Beach to be held on May 27, 28, and 29, 2011 – received the welcome news that the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) had approved in full their application for grant funds. Mrs. Judy Schoenbein, Chairman of the South Coast Chapter of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), made the announcement at the media launch of the Festival, held at the Two Seasons Guest House in Treasure Beach on Friday, April 8.

Mrs. Schoenbein expressed gratitude to the TEF Board of Directors for recognizing the south coast as being an integral part of the tourism product. She described the south coast as “a very special place in Jamaica. We are off the beaten track, and we offer so different experiences from our north coast. Although we love our north coast, we are a part of the Jamaican product as well and we are very happy today to be able to announce to you that we have a new event for the calendar of events for the south coast. It’s called the Treasure Beach Bread Basket Festival.”

Judy Schoenbein - JHTA South Coast
In welcoming the press and other guests from the Treasure Beach community, including a representative of the police force, Mrs. Schoenbein told the gathering that the Festival is a team effort. “As you all know, the south coast is the home of community tourism and therefore we are launching yet again another community tourism event”, she said.

Mr. Jason Henzell, Chairman of Jake’s Resort, Breds Treasure Beach Foundation, and of the St. Elizabeth Parish Development Committee; President of Island Outpost, and Councillor of the JHTA South Coast Chapter, gave the background to the festival.

He explained, “When the Calabash Literary Festival was called off this year, obviously [members of] the community were very upset… because the [Calabash] festival grew into meaning a lot for a lot of people over the 10 year period.  So instead of crying about it, what we decided to do was to get together, put our minds together, see how we could create something different. This is not intended to compete with Calabash. The reality is that…we are hoping that the Calabash Literary Festival will actually come back starting next year and that this new brand called the Treasure Beach Bread Basket Festival would then move to another weekend.” In fact, the idea for such a festival had been mooted from as early as 2009.
Jason Henzell - Island Outpost

Commenting on the effort to host such an event, Mr. Henzell said, “Creating a brand and a festival takes a lot of work as we saw with Calabash. But it can also have tremendous effects.” He further added that, “We believe that in Treasure Beach, the events that you do, and the events that you choose not to do, help to frame the identity of the community.” He expressed delight at the way in which persons came together to plan for the Festival and said, “We are hoping that for next year and for years to come, other persons will join in and will add another aspect to this festival. In my mind this is really a true community effort”. He thanked both the Board of the TEF and the JHTA for believing in the Festival.
Standing between a cascade of flowers, fruit, vegetables, thyme, scallion, coconuts, fishnet, shells, and books – a creation of event planner in Treasure Beach, Denise Wedderburn – and a huge basket of fruit and vegetables prepared by the staff of Sunset Resort and Villas (both displays representing St. Elizabeth, which is known as the bread basket of Jamaica) each of the organizers gave a synopsis of their event.
Winnie Hylton - Taino Cove

Mrs. Winnie Hylton, owner of Taino Cove Guest House, which will be hosting Culture Night on Friday, May 27, beginning at 6 p.m, said that “the entire event will be a distinctive mark of our ‘Jamaicaness’, highlighting those aspects that continue to contribute to our positive international image and give us our reputation as a cultural mecca in the Caribbean.” Working in collaboration with the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) in mounting Culture Night, Taino Cove “is providing a unique opportunity for residents in Treasure Beach and its environs as well as other visitors to the Festival to celebrate, interact with, and learn from Jamaicans who are accomplished in their given fields, such as the local and international story teller, Amina Blackwood Meeks, and the dub poetry collective known as Royal African soldiers”, she said.

Dr. Christine Marrett, owner of Two Seasons Guest House, spoke of the Two Seasons Talking Trees Literary Fiesta, to be held on Saturday, May 28, starting at 9 a.m. going through to 5 p.m. She highlighted the collaborative effort with two other literary events - Independent VoYces, held in November last year, and the Asante Literary Lyme to be held earlier in May. She mentioned that in addition to a variety of new and established local writers, the Nigerian writer with Jamaican roots, Igoni Barrett, will be featured. He is the winner of the BBC 2005 best short story writer among other awards. For information on the Two Seasons Talking Trees Literary Fiesta, she encouraged persons to visit the website,, which has links to the programme and bios of all the readers. Dr. Marrett also acknowledged the assistance of Gwyneth Harold Davidson and Janet Barrett in organizing the Fiesta.
Christine Marrett - Two Seasons

Ms. Sharon Martini, an active member of Treasure Beach Women’s Group (TBWG), classically trained vocalist, actress, writer and illustrator, gave the audience a taste of the fare she will be serving up at the Evening of Song, a classical recital, to be held on Saturday, May 28, at 7 p.m. at the Frenchman’s Reef Restaurant and Bar. So impressed was the audience that they prevailed on her to sing another selection. At the Evening of Song, Ms. Martini will be accompanied by Mr. Denny Davis, music lecturer at Bethlehem Moravian College. As this event is a fund raiser for TBWG, donations will be accepted.

 Ms. Tamesha Dyght, personal assistant at Jake’s Resort, announced that Calabashment, the traditional stage show that was part of the Calabash festival, will be held at Jack Sprat at 9 p.m. on Saturday, May 28. Calabashment will feature Protégé, who is himself from St. Elizabeth and a product of Munro College. Also appearing will be Rootz Underground. Negotiations were ongoing with other top acts to perform at the event. 

Sharon Martini - Evening of Song, Frenchman's Reef
Mr. Kory South, Owner of Sunset Resort and Villas and a Councillor of the JHTA South Coast Chapter, enthusiastically spoke of the wide variety of dishes that will be available at the Bread Basket Brunch, being served up at Sunset Resort and Villas on Sunday, May 29, beginning at 9 a.m. Indicating that the brunch will have as wide a variety of dishes as there were  items in the basket on display that was packed with foodstuff from the parish, he promised that “we’re really going to go all out for this brunch”, and invited everyone to “come out and try it”.

 Ms. Elizabeth Eyre Seltzer, owner of Calabash House with its Mermaid Art Gallery, will host a fine arts exhibit on Sunday, May 29 at 12 noon. She highlighted that there will be “a lot of local painters, including Jason’s mother… Sally Henzell, Sciola, Virginia Burke… and we are going to be doing a fashion show. I am a fibre artist in what they call ‘art wearables’. I will be doing my line and Jackie Cohen of Mutamba will also be opening her new line, Masii, and we are hoping to have a DJ.”

Mrs. Schoenbein told the gathering that each person attending the Treasure Beach Bread Basket Festival will be given a little basket to be filled with “your memories, with your experience and with our produce from the south coast… we look forward to everyone out there coming and filling their basket and filling their weekend with great memories, great experiences of the south coast. It is May 27 to the 29. Save the date and come.”

In response to a question about the objective of the Festival, the Chairman of the JHTA South Coast Chapter stated that without it there would be a huge fall out for properties from Westmoreland to Manchester. By staging the Treasure Beach Bread Basket Festival, she said, “what we are in effect doing is reserving the slot [that had been carved out by the Calabash Literary Festival], maintaining a … presence in the market place and also filling the rooms with good occupancy”, in addition to the spin off to the craft vendors, restaurants and attractions. 
Kory South - Sunset Resort and Villas

In addition to the TEF, sponsors of the Treasure Beach Bread Basket Festival include Power 106 and FM99, St. Bess Radio, and Newtalk 93 FM.

Other upcoming calendar events in Treasure Beach are the Jake’s off-road triathlon, on April 16; and the Treasure Beach Jazz Escape hosted jointly by Two Seasons Guest House and TBWG. 

The web-site for the Festival is being hosted free of charge on

The Treasure Beach Bread Basket Festival, happening on the last weekend in May, promises to feed your mind, body and spirit in the welcoming, laid back atmosphere of the community that is Treasure Beach.

For further information, contact Christine Marrett,, or telephone 571-0818.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Sing De Bible - Singing the bible Jamaican style

Sing De Bible in Church to Jamaican Rhythms  

By Gwyneth Harold

Musical composer, Joy Simons Brown, was sitting in Church one Sunday and noted for the first time that the birth dates of the songwriters in the hymn book were from the 18th and 19th century. That was enough to set her on her newest musical project, a Jamaican musical score of bible verses for congregations to sing in Church. She went further. The score was recorded and both book and manuscript for 13 songs are called Sing de Bible. Verses were selected from the New Revised Standard Version and the King James bibles.
Click photo for video clip 

Simons Brown also formed the choral group CANTANDO, 12 singers invited from other singing groups including Sound of Joy vocalists, the former Mutual Life and Scotia Bank chorales, the Guardian Life Singers and Bethel Baptist church choirs. They performed all vocals on the album.

At the launch on April 9 at her Church, Bethel Baptist in Half-Way-Tree, Simons Brown expressed her surprise at the lack of currency in manuscripts for musicians to play for congregations: "My intention was to write a number of songs that had the lyrics from the Bible. I looked at the some of the words and got some rhythms from the words and then composed all of these songs....The intention is to add to the repertoire that we already have. For the last century or so people have been making songs for Church but they are not written anywhere and a lot of them are not recorded. I have done the whole thing; harmonized them, wrote them down and, thanks to CANTANDO, recorded them. This is to hope others will do the same."

Former Musical Director and soprano of the University Singers, Lilieth Nelson, officially launched the album and book giving an overview of the 13 selections. Nelson noted that the themes of the songs included assurance, love, reflection and recognition of God.  She bought her cultural forte forward to note that Sing de Bible sounded very close to Single Bible, the aloe vera plant noted for semper virens - living always.
She urged the group to perform at Churches as their performance of the songs in Sing de Bible "is an inspiration beyond measure".

She highlighted the (Nyabingi) arrangement of the funde and repeater drums in Psalm 1 (Blessed is the Man). The prophesy of the coming of Christ noted in Isaiah 9 (For Unto Us), is true to the reggae genre. The traditional Jamaican call and response working song is the foundation for John 14 (I am the Way) Roger Shaw sings lead. Popular rhythms rock steady and ska lift verses from Matthew 7 (Ask - and it shall be given) and Romans 8 (I am Sure)  Ska is delivered in Matthew 5 (You Are The Salt).

Deacon and longstanding choir member at Bethel Baptist, Maurice Anderson, leads the soulful My Command from Deuteronomy 6, the only selection from the Pentateuch. The other solo from the Old Testament was Annette Tennant singing Psalm 91 (The Secret Place). Keisha Miles delivered the solo performance on the Latin American/ dancehall-inspired, Love Chant, from Corinthians 13 (Love is).

CANTANDO is: Jennifer Anderson, Maurice Anderson; Trevor Dixon; Tracy Graham; Keisha Miles; Trena Morris; Ricardo Simpson; Roger Shaw; Aisha Smith; Kerry-Ann Suckrajh; Annette Tennant; Ruth Watt.

Musicians on Sing de Bible include: keyboard, Andrew Young and Joy Simons Brown; drums, Cliff Bond; percussion, Chris Downer; bass guitar, Delroy "Pele" Hamilton.

As a tribute to hymns that have remained Church favourites, saxophonist, Warren Reid, who does not appear on the album, interpreted Praise To The Lord, The Almighty to Jamaican rhythms. That song is an interpretation of Psalm 106 by German lyricist, Joachim Neander, and first published in 1665 - the English version in popular use was translated nearly 200 years later.

A contribution from the sale of the album will go towards Operation Haiti. 

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Two Seasons Talking Trees Literary Fiesta

It is exciting being a part of the team that is planning the Two Seasons Talking Trees Literary Fiesta for May 28 in Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth. I respect so much and have worked closely with the two ladies who are anchoring the preparations: Dr Christine Marrett and Mrs Janet Barrett. Fidelitas.

The programme shows that it is shaping up to be a day spent listening to good writing and the panel discussion should get ideas going. We also want to create an atmosphere where creative writers can meet and have conversations with each other. As the MC I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the participants and am looking forward to meeting others in a cherished day among creative minds. 

I was entrusted with the responsibility to put together the segment Recorded Talk that starts the morning. I had great visions of digging into public and private archives for audio of treasured writing, but that turned out to be a task greater than the efforts that I can devote at this time. Fortunately, we have a lovely cache of recorded talk here already in Jamaica and my play list includes poetry in dialect, inspirational work, the humourous side of life in Jamaica and the Caribbean and yes, some Shakespeare from an online resource.

I was very happy when we booked Jamaican novelist, Garfield Ellis. Aside from his great writing skill, he tells you richly detailed perspectives on contemporary Jamaican life that is is threaded with truth from beginning to end, but that does not leave you in despair.

Our published short story writers include educator, Veronica Carnegie, and Nigerian writer, A. Igoni Barrett. Barrett will be travelling direct from Nigeria for the festival before preparing for his fellowship at the Norman Mailer Center later this year.

Popular columnist and entertainment editor, Robert Lalah will read from his work which has delighted Jamaicans at home and all over the diaspora. Sonia King whose unique perspective as the former head of the paternity testing lab at the University Hospital will continue to astound listeners.

Online eZine publisher of TALLAWAH, Tyrone Reid; producer of the Independent VoYces Literary Fair Judith Falloon Reid and musical arranger and writer, Joy Simons Brown, will be on stage for the panel discussion "E-book or paper, self published or publisher".

Our poets so far are co founder of the Jamaica Poetry Society and Manager of Kool FM, Tomlin Ellis and foundation dub poet, Malachi Smith. Upcoming playwright, Keiran King will have a reading of his new play at Talking Trees. Published works of the writers will be available on site through the fiesta's book vendor, Bookophilia of Kingston.

There is no cover charge for the event but families and children are welcome as a separate programme is being planned for them. There will also be round trip transportation through Jamaica Cultural Enterprises available to get you back to Mo Bay, M'Ville or Kingston at a comfortable hour.

The fiesta is a part of the Treasure Beach Bread Basket Festival which will have live entertainment, fashion and food. A movement of which the fiesta is so proud to be a part.