>> Tuesday, September 8, 2009
August 31, 2009
Just got back from Boston this morning...and I feel wiped out. There's no good reason for my sudden lack of stamina, considering the fact that Boston will go down in history for me as one of the most restful carnival celebrations I've even taking part in. My weekend was all about chilling out and liming with friends. The rain didn't really put a damper on things...but it did cool down the temperature a tad.
This afternoon, I decided to drop in on one of the first contacts I ever made in this ya Caribbean music scene. He's a producer, artist, photographer, graphic artist, model cat by the name of The Great Zeee. Sure, that's a lot of titles to wear, but it's not me who baptized the man all those things. Zeee (Zowi Stapleton) is pretty darn good at anything artistic he puts his hand to.
We originally met in St. Vincent and the Grenadines more than 5 years ago when I was working temporarily with a newspaper down there called The Vincentian. At the time, he operated Hysyanz Recordings on a picturesque hill in Arnos Vale, overlooking the airport and the Caribbean Sea. He was working with artists like Skinny Fabulous, Icon, Skarpyon, Lanlord (then Sgt Bread) and others. He was also making a name for himself on the island as he farmed local talent at a series of talent competitions called "Shine". From that location, he and then producing partner Kubiyashi would begin to turn heads locally and internationally.
This afternoon, I caught the A train to Brownsville, Brooklyn to see what new recipes the Great Zeee might be cooking up for the 2K10 carnival seasons and beyond. I got a chance to hear a brand new production entitled "The Retro Riddim". One thing about Zeee's signature sound is that it doesn't shy away from a particular disco influenced soca rhythm that was popularized by St. Vincent's top party bands of the late 1970's to early 1990's, For those in the know, I'm talking about bands like X-A-Dus, Asteriks, and Touch.
Even though Zowi spent the first 5 years of his life living in England, and only one of his parents comes from St. Vincent (the other hails from Barbados), he holds a deep respect for the island's musical heritage, and specifically pays tribute to that vintage style in his brand new Retro Riddim.
His other claim to fame is the producers own contribution to St. Vincent's musical heritage. Zeee coined the phrase "Power Soca", a sound he carefully conceived circa 2004. Nowadays, most people who use the term just mean a soca chune above a certain bpm. However, Zeee's Original Power Soca refers to a particular blend of sounds first made public on the Flood Storm Riddim.
Flood Storm Riddim Mix - DJ Chrisis
As for the Retro Riddim (The new one!) it will feature the likes of Mista Vybe, Jamesy P, and Problem Child. So far, I've only had the fortune of listening to raw vocals by Skinny Fabulous...and he's definitely on to something. Even with just two of us in studio, there were enough vibes for Monday Evening Mas!
Love and Soca,