Monday, March 11, 2013

A musical mirage

Do we really know our partners before we make a lifelong commitment? How many of us take our partners at face value? We look at the exterior, a beautiful body, a great family, fancy cars, big houses, lavish lifestyles and popular circles. Do we ever look beyond, into the soul, into the darkest and deepest corners of another’s persona?

Photo courtesy Stealth Productions/Photographer: Sunil Persaud

Donald Andrews and Neil Anthony Bacchus of Stealth Productions, wrapped their creative minds around a very taboo subject in our Caribbean Community. In today’s “feel good” society we often tend to sweep heavy topics and unpopular dialogue out by the grass corner. In music, artists are encouraged to write and produce more of similar material that the public divulge in droves. How many more ways can one thing be said? Or is it, that we are too busy suffocating our own emotions, that we could care less for anything else?

Who are we in this world, if we cannot care for the perils of our fellow human kind? Our time and energies are taken up focusing only on what we see on the surface. Whatever we don’t see or comes to our doorstep is not our concern. But what happens when that concern is on our doorstep. What do we do? Do we turn away and sweep it out to the grass and hope someone else will take out the trash? Or do we open our eyes and deal with the issues?

I had the honor of talking for a few minutes with Donald Andrews, who wrote, sang, and performed this song. Here is an excerpt from our conversation:

Eric: What was your inspiration for writing this song?
Donald: This song was written two years ago with the intention of entering the Trinidad Chutney Soca Monach Competitions, in collaboration with Big Rich and the Pungalunks Factory. But the promoters decided that the subject was not ready for prime time. I felt that there had to be a more constructive way of approaching the issue.
Eric: Why did you choose to showcase this issue in the manner you did?
Donald: This is a very gender neutral issue. It can happen to anyone. However, given the scores of women issues that get suffocated, I felt that this was my way of bringing light to the subject.
Eric: You’ve been in the business a while, why tackle this issue now?
Donald: When I started out a long time ago, being the front man for Gemini Band, we tore up the New York music scene. We brought it everytime to clubs and shows. As time went on, I gravitated to gospel music and my fate. Now in a subtle nudge I think our community needs to pay attention to some of these social issues that affect us.
Eric: What do you hope to achieve with this song and video?
Donald: I am in no way an activist. Neither do I intend to take a hard stance on the topic. But I wish for our community to recognize that there are two sides to every story and sometimes the untold is the truth. What we hide in our bedrooms and closets are more damaging than what we face everyday. I think we can do better as a society.

Go Download the song for FREE on Donald Andrews SoundCloud HERE.

In dialogue with Tony about his direction for this video, I came to realize the artistic and responsive talent of a young man that is rare in the music industry. Many people would take the negative angle of depicting this issue for it’s big, bold, knock over the head sensationalism. However, Tony was determined to not showcase a derogatory side but let the audience read between the lines. The stage-set for this video is very simple but purposeful. If you look very closely there are subtle signs that tells the story. There is nothing in the scenes that are happenstance, every item and movement carries a line in the narrative. Notice the three candles? What do they mean? How about the artist rendering? Why? Visualize the camera angles that tell a story through smoke scenes.

Photo courtesy Stealth Productions/Photographer: Sunil Persaud

Like most of Stealth Productions projects, this also holds true to carrying a positive meaningful message to our Caribbean Community. As is said in their website Welcome message,  “We take pride in our work and we intend to uphold our reputation on the scruples that the company was built on, integrity.” Those are difficult words to live by in this world of insatiable desire for regurgitating music. The current trend in West Indian music is this butchering of classical music, remixing 5 songs to make one, overlaying words on music that is timeless, singing pieces of Indian music that translates to nothing in particular and blending it all into one. This practice has it’s place if done tactfully and respectfully. Stealth Productions seeks some form of originality, modern, cutting edge music that carries an impactful stamp.

Photo courtesy Stealth Productions/Photographer: Sunil Persaud

Who is the “She” in She’s Ah Drinka video? Former New York catalog model Rachel Persaud signed on to showcase the hush side. An excerpt from our conversation:

Eric: Why did you choose to participate in this project?
Rachel: The subject matter was very attractive. I wanted to be a part of showing how my younger generation is taking the perils of older generations to a more liberal level.
Eric: Why do you think that the younger generation is more liberal?
Rachel: We grow up with more open socializing, hanging out, clubbing, and other activities. This encourages us to indulge in questionable behavior at a young age. While most of this behavior is accepted in males, females are the same participants. But females are never assigned any responsibility.
Eric: Are you taking a hard stance against this issue?
Rachel: I am hoping to raise awareness that there are two sides to this issue and encouraging others to take a look at themselves.
Eric: Why choose to appear in a music video over catalog modeling?
Rachel: The video content is very appealing. I feel that this video carries a message that needs to resonate with my generation.

Often in our Caribbean Community we tend to shy away from social issues even though they consume our daily lives. The people who take on these challenges are brave and sometimes shunned. When we take a stand, whether hard or soft, we are marginalized. Yet there are outcries when major disaster strikes on our doorstep. Are we ever going to stop and think? Are we ever going to take a stand? Are we ever going to acknowledge and recognize the signs? Are we ever going to reach out and extend a hand to our fellow mankind? Tony, Donald, and Rachel did? Are you going to follow? 

Go Check out and Share the Stealth Productions YouTube video for She’s Ah Drinka HERE.

Grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.                        
--Reinhold Niebuhr