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Archived: Shaft’s Master Plan for Artistes Will Blow You Away. Super Songwriter Prepares for Global Connects.

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He’s never too far. He’s a part of the carnival tapestry even when you hardly hear of his pursuits in a season. T&T’s carnival 2019 period has seen Jason ‘Shaft’ Bishop penetrate the airwaves with more than six carnival anthems. He’s the man behind Patrice Roberts’ killer tourism-jingle- like hit, ‘This is The Place,’ and Lyrikal’s monster chipper, ‘Passing Through.” Shaft’s always in the shadows, even when his name isn’t calling much.

Patrice Roberts on stage.
PHOTO : Jermaine Cruickshank.

For years, Jason’s been the songwriter of choice for many. From Destra Garcia who’s hit ‘Lucy’ was written by Bishop, to Machel Montano, Nikki Crosby’s ‘Granny’ persona- who he manages, and certainly Patrice Roberts, with whom he struck gold when they delivered, “Big Girl Now”. His artist repertoire across the islands, includes the likes of Peter Ram, Alison Hinds, King Bubba and Ricardo Drue. Jason ‘Shaft’ Bishop is most certainly the model songwriter in the Caribbean. “I’m an executive songwriter. I’m the only songwriter with such a significant number of songs tabulated since 1999,” he said to us during an exclusive EBUZZTT interview. Jason’s however got his eyes set on international territory these days, telling us that when Carnival is over, he’ll be heading out to Los Angeles where he’ll be treading deep waters outside of his calm Caribbean comfort zone.

Jason writes for each season, one year in advance. Explaining his process to EBUZZTT, he said he offers artistes full concepts based on his vision for the songs he pens. He also personally hand picks who receives which songs, based on character, topic and personality. Ahead of Barbados’ CropOver, he’s already prepared to distribute songs to the artistes who’ll sing them. “I’m heading to Barbados this evening,” he said when we spoke with him on Thursday. Jason’s been hard at work. His team, based in Barbados, has worked arduously behind the scenes, executing his vision of creating a full fledged songwriting business, that also features other elements that would aid all artistes in the execution of their goals. “I’m setting up offices of Shaft Vibes Entertainment in Barbados, Trinidad and New York,” he said, highlighting that artistes will be able to hire professional songwriters for all genres, videographers, marketing specialists and even dancers.

Jason Shaft Bishop sings the song he wrote for Patrice Roberts this season.

Songs Written By Shaft in 2019.

  • This is The Place – Patrice Roberts
  • Passing Through – Lyrikal
  • Cyah Study People – Destra Garcia
  • When Yuh Passin’ – Ricardo Drue
  • Trouble – Destra and Spice (Jamaica)
  • Portugal – Chuck Gordon
  • Till A Morning – Fadda Moses
  • Wiggle It – Granny
  • Crab in A Bucket – Turner
  • Tell Dem I Good- Kerlz
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Caribbean Buzz

“Something Had to Happen. Radio People Had to Stand Up.” – JAIGA.

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Say what you want about him, he lives for the Artform. His slogan, “Great is the Artform,” is a permanent reminder of Jaiga’s undying love for Soca music. He’s represented hard for that aspect of Trinidad and Tobago’s culture for many years and even now as a radio personality at 96.1WEFM, Jaiga makes no qualms about his devotion to Soca. 

Jaiga during performance.

Last year, the announcement by the country’s Prime Minister that there would be no carnival 2021, backed many artistes and entertainment stakeholders against a wall. Their livelihoods had been affected for most of 2020 and it seemed the same would take place in 2021. Others, like Jaiga felt pained at the thought of no cultural expression. In his mind, something had to happen. “My team – the Breakfast Party team decided that it was very important for us and I think every radio station practitioner, everybody who has a platform, to encourage not only Trinidadians but the wider diaspora to do their part to keep the art alive in order to ensure that all stakeholders have something to fall back on when that time reaches. We needed the essence of the Carnival in the air,” he said.

Speaking with Ebuzztt, Jaiga explained that even after hearing the government’s cultural arm, the NCC, announce that there would be no move to host a virtual carnival, he knew he had to do something. He would go on to call on his team at 96.1 WEFM, to produce the virtual Breakfast Party – a carnival show complete with artistes and costume wearing hosts Nikki Crosby and Ro’dey, and viewable on social media and  later uploaded to YouTube. 

Jaiga, a man who understands both the business and the creativity of the Carnival culture, went on to epress his view on the ongoing debate regarding the format of the present day cultural delivery. He hinted that selfish perspectives have led to some discord.

What about Post Carnival 2021?

Jaiga, like other forward thinkers in the industry, has already begun thinking about the future.

Outside of this virtual carnival, he says this may have proven that the time is ripe for produced cultural shows that can showcase the energy and vibrance of Trinidad and Tobago as the Mecca of carnival, to the world.

He further said International promoters and local bodies could now forge ties to the benefit of all involved.

The artiste and radio personality noted that the time has come to give the world something that is well packaged – something that Trinbagonians could be proud of.

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Kes the Band Takes Over Tonight!

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This is Carnival week in Trinidad and Tobago. The energy of a festival that annually delivers the most vibes that can be experienced anywhere in the world, would have culminated next week Tuesday. Covid-19 has however put a spoke in the wheel of true “Carnivalians,” but the spirit of the festival lives in their hearts.

Artistes have been answering the call. Last week, Nadia Batson delivered what was undeniably one of the best carnival related television productions seen over the years. Her team demonstrated an aptitude and perfect understanding of what viewers require of a televised soca experience.

Her show- Artform 3, was followed up by events hosted by Preedy, Lyrikal and Blaxx, all of which gave home audiences much to enjoy.

This week, Kes The Band takes over. Artist, Kees Dieffenthaller and his team will deliver a 5 night soca series dubbed ‘IZWE’. It starts tonight! According to a media release, the events being hosted live at The Sound Forge in Port-of-Spain, will see some 300 patrons in attendance, each night, with all covid-19 protocols put in place by government, being observed. The events all air live on CNC3 in Trinidad and Tobago and affiliate stations up the Caribbean. Fans outside of the region can livestream the concert via www.kestheband.com, by purchasing tickets for $10. The live stream is available at no cost within the Caribbean.

“This is a presentation of culture in all its different aspects,” said Kees. “We’ll be celebrating the essence of who we are. It all began with drums and fire and, out of the revolution of our ancestors, Carnival came to be the sweetest revolution. We are celebrating our light in these dark times,” he said.

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