Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ian Martin reflects on Barack and Byron

Email from my friend in New York Ian Martin

Originally mailed on November 5

Ms. Chin: Good morning! In anticipation of the victory, I took the day off from work today. Ms. Chin, you cannot even begin to imagine how I feel about this piece of history. If somebody had told me a year or so ago that I would live to see this day, I would probably tell him/her that there is a pill on the market for such utterances.

The victory has been a tear evoking one for me. Yet, my delight has no bounds. I am so glad to be a part of the history. Despite the name calling, the labels and slurs hurled at Barack Obama, he did not reply in like kind. He simply kept focused by sticking to the issues.

In governing, like King Solomon of old, hopefully president elect Obama will ask God for wisdom to lead. I also hope that the media will display a great degree of decency as it relates to Obama's two daughters. There can be no denying that Obama and his wife at their own choosing have embarked upon territory that provides fodder for the media. However, their children are innocent.

Once again, I am proud to be a part of this history.


On the death of the Honourable Byron Lee, one can’t help but concluding that the last month or so has been somewhat unkind (for the want of a better word or lack thereof) to the music entertainment world. Within the past thirty days, we have lost Alton Ellis, Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops, Dee Dee Warwick, Dionne's younger sister, and now Byron Lee.

Byron has certainly been a legend and a pioneer in the Jamaican music culture. The longevity of his band speaks volume. The longevity of his band does not only speak of Byron's steadfastness; it serves to remind those of us who have been around from the sixties of the other bands that played a part in shaping the Jamaican music culture.

There were bands like, the Skatalites, Count Ossie and the Mystic Revelations, Carlos Malcolm and the Afro Rhythm, Lyn Tait and the Jets, Babba Brooks and the Band, Prince Buster All-stars, Beverly's All-star, Ingrid Chin and the Carnations, Granville Williams Orchestra, Kes Chin an His Band, Bongo Herman and the Legendary Sonny Bradshaw Orchestra, to name a few.

Based on the style of the music played by the more contemporary bands like Inner Circles, Tomorrow's Children and Zapow and Third World, Byron Lee's Dragonaires must have had some influence on those bands.

Then there's the talent that Byron brought to the forefront in some of the lead singers who had made there navigation through his band. There was Keith Lyn singing "Empty Chair"; Ken Lazarus singing the Lyrics to the Dragonaires hit song "Jamaica Ska", Vic Taylor crooning "Think Twice My Love" and "My Way". Among others that sang with the Dragonaires include, Barry Biggs and Lloyd Williams. And off course, one cannot forget Byron teaming up with the birdman, Mighty Sparrow, in composing the album titled "Sparrow meet the Dragon".

Byron has played an excellent and a captain's inning, an inning filled with class and shots. May his legacy live on and his soul rest in peace. Deepest sympathy to his family friends and relatives.

That's all for now Ms. Chin.

Staying tuned,


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