Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ian Martin's tribute to Andy Williams

Can’t Get Used To Losing Andy Williams
by Ian Martin

The music world has lost another of its icon. Balladeer, crooner and pop artist Andy Williams lost his battle with cancer on September 25, 2012 approximately two months shy of his 85th birthday, and a year after he was diagnosed with the disease.

Born Howard Andrew Williams, like many other successful and noted American singers, Andy started his singing on the church circuit where he performed in a children’s choir. He and his brothers subsequently formed a quartet called the Williams Brothers. The quartet had some success appearing on radio shows in the Mid-western part of the United States. The quartet also appeared in musical films along the likes of Bing Crosby.

In the early 1950’s Andy embarked on a solo career. In less than no time his talent landed him a spot on the Steve Allen television show. He mined gold and platinum along his solo career path. Unfortunately time and space do me no justice just to even begin to tell the Andy Williams’ story, and understandably so because his colorful career spanned six decades.

However, I would be doing Andy grave injustice (no pun intended) if I failed to mention some of his works relative to his solo career. The Henry Mancini’s written “Moon River” which many considered to be Andy’s signature song is the first that comes to mind. Then there is “Where Do I Begin”, the theme song from the movie film “Love Story”. “Speak Softly Love”, the vocal version of “Love Theme From The Godfather”; “Almost There”; “Home Lovin’ Man”, “Can’t Get Used To Losing You”; and “Lonely Street” are among other of his notables. And how can we forget his version of “It’ The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year”? Watching him singing it on his Christmas television shows would make you want to believe that Christmas is certainly the most wonderful time of the year.

Andy was also active outside the music arena. He was an avid golfer and for over two decades he hosted the Professional Golfers Association tournament in San Diego, California.

He prided himself on being a life long Republican, yet, his loyalty and support was not confined to the Republican Party. He had been a big time supporter of Democrats John Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy in their bid for the White House. Andy also helped raised funds for other prominent Democrats by performing at benefit concerts. He openly knocked heads with the Nixon Administration in its effort to expel John Lennon from the United States.

Andy, as we your fans say goodbye, we will never forget how you permeated our homes and other places where you performed with good music and a good voice. In your own words we want you to know that we ‘can’t get use to losing you’. However, with the advent of technology, we will somewhat be comforted knowing that we are able to listen to the good voice and good music of you and others that have gone on before you and those who will follow after you.  Rest in peace, Andy. You have crossed the “Moon River” in fine style.

from Ian Martin in
Brooklyn, New York

He wasn't one of my favourites - but my Dad loved him too! - Jean Anita

Pictorial - 'I Shall Return' by Claude McKay

I Shall Return

by Claude McKay

I shall return again; I shall return
To laugh and love and watch with wonder-eyes

At golden noon the forest fires burn,
Wafting their blue-black smoke to sapphire skies.

I shall return to loiter by the streams
That bathe the brown blades of the bending grasses,
And realize once more my thousand dreams

Of waters rushing down the mountain passes.
I shall return to hear the fiddle and fife

Of village dances, dear delicious tunes
That stir the hidden depths of native life,
Stray melodies of dim remembered tunes.

I shall return, I shall return again,
To ease my mind of long, long years of pain. 

Born in Clarendon, Jamaica, Claude McKay (born Festus Claudius McKay) (September 15, 1889 – May 22, 1948) is one of Jamaica's greatest poets and novelists. He travelled widely and was a seminal figure in the Harlem Renaissance. McKay wrote three novels: Home to Harlem (1928), a best-seller which won the Harmon Gold Award for Literature, Banjo (1929), and the nostalgic Banana Bottom (1933). McKay also authored a collection of short stories, Gingertown (1932), and two autobiographical books, A Long Way from Home (1937) and Harlem: Negro Metropolis (1940). His book of poetry, Harlem Shadows (1922) was among the first books published during the Harlem Renaissance. His book of collected poems, Selected Poems (1953), was published posthumously. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Denis O'Brien receives Clinton Global Citizen Award

Former US President Bill Clinton, right, with Denis O'Brien, far left, Pepe Julian Onziema, Right Reverend Christopher Senyonjo, Luis A Moreno, Carlos Slim Helu, Katie Stagliano and Donna Karan in New York
By Edel Kennedy
Wednesday September 26 2012
Former US president Bill Clinton has given a prestigious award to businessman Denis O'Brien for corporate leadership and work in Haiti after the earthquake.
Mr O'Brien was one of six recipients at the sixth annual Clinton Global Citizen Awards in New York.
Mr Clinton's awards went to human rights activists, business and philanthropy leaders, and a 14-year old social entrepreneur for "outstanding contributions".
He said the work being done by the award recipients was "nothing short of extraordinary".
In the citation for the award, Mr O'Brien's role as chairman of the Digicel Group is detailed, including the company's growth since he founded it in 2001.
There is also recognition for his work in Haiti in the wake of its devastating earthquake.
"O'Brien is one of Ireland's leading entrepreneurs, with extensive investments across several sectors, including international telecoms, radio, media, property, aircraft leasing, golf, and other leisure interests," the citation said.
"In 2010, O'Brien was named goodwill ambassador for the city of Port-au-Prince in Haiti by the mayor in recognition of his efforts to rebuild Haiti and attract foreign direct investment in the aftermath of the earthquake that year. Digicel is the single largest private investor in Haiti."
Meanwhile, in Time magazine, Mr Clinton writes that Mr O'Brien's move to make cash transactions available for the world's poorest via mobile phones is world changing.
The Time cover story featuring Mr Clinton holding a globe is entitled "5 Ideas that are changing the World" and Mr O'Brien's idea is under the heading 'No 1 -- Technology'.
Mr Clinton wrote: "Denis O'Brien, worked with a Canadian bank, Scotiabank, to provide a service that lets Haitians withdraw cash and make deposits and person-to-person transfers using their mobile phones without a bank account. By the end of 2011, this service had processed over six million transactions."
The awards, at which designer Donna Karan spoke, recognises those who "demonstrate visionary leadership in addressing global challenges".
Other recipients included:
Carlos Slim Helu, founder of Fundacion Carlos Slim.
Luis A Moreno, of Inter-American Development Bank.
The Right Reverend Christopher Senyonjo, executive director of St Paul's Reconciliation and Equality Centre, Uganda.
Katie Stagliano, the 14-year-old founder and chief executive gardener of Katie's Krops, South Carolina.
- Edel Kennedy

Scenes at HWT Anti-Violence Rally

It was a moving experience to sing and pray with our Sisters and Brothers as we mourned the attacks on our children, our women, our elderly, all the members of our Jamaican family.  We had tears in our eyes and lumps in our throats.  We salute Mrs Faith Webster and her team at the Bureau of Women's Affairs, Woman Inc and Women's Media Watch for helping to organise the Rally.
To all our hurting sisters and brothers we say, keep heart, we will renew our energies to heal our country, to promote wholesome family life and to ensure that our vulnerable children are better protected.
This is a painful wake-up call - may we never sleep soundly again until we make our country a place of peace and justice.