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Archived: Soca Stars Gather, Delivering Beautiful Tribute to Devon Matthews

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It’s been two days since the harsh reality that radio personality and Soca artiste, Devon Matthews would no longer walk among the living. His passing has left an emptiness in the hearts of many. Daily, tributes pour in for the young man many have described as a gentle giant. His former boss and former Mayor of Port of Spain, Louis Lee Sing described him as one of the most creative young men he has ever had the opportunity to work with. That creativity may have been one of the things that made it so very easy for anyone to gravitate to Matthews. On Monday night, in his hometown of Santa Rosa, Arima, Devon’s close friends and many he loved in music, gathered in tribute and boy oh boy did creativity reign.

Devon was a part of Bunji Garlin and Fay Ann Lyons’ Ground Empire Family.

“Devon Way Yuh Gone Boy….” a refrain that came from the lips of Matthews’ friend and Asylum Vikings compatriot, Bunji Garlin on Monday night, has since been making its way across social media. The singing at the ‘wake’  Fay Ann Lyons- Bunji’s wife and music partner, before Nadia Batson joined in. They were followed by the Viking himself who was later joined by Preedy. Together, they freestyled- an amazing set of verses that spoke of Preedy’s desire to have the opportunity to freestyle with Bunji among other things. Throughout it all though, ‘Devon way yuh gone boy,’ was the question asked…

Autopsy results have revealed that Matthews passed away on Sunday morning as a result of a heart attack suffered. He had been in the process of filming his video for ‘De Journey’ , a track he collaborated on with Ella Andall, which saw him take third place in the International Soca Monarch competition and the Young Kings competition in Trinidad. Recently, news emerged that Matthews had even released new music for Grenada’s Spice Mas with plans to delve deeper into his creative spirit ahead of Carnival 2018 in Trinidad and Tobago.

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Caribbean Menswear Designer, Ecliff Elie Pushes Past Covid-19 with Big Lessons Learnt.

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When the Covid-19 pandemic reared its head in the aftermath of Trinidad and Tobago’s carnival this past March, Caribbean menswear designer Ecliff Elie had only five months prior, opened his new design house at C3 Centre in San Fernando, South Trinidad. His atelier location in Woodbrook, Port-of-Spain maintained its market position, posturing the designer’s imminent rise to regionwide gratification, by all markers. He never expected what eventually came; a pandemic that would bring great uncertainty, but with it, even greater lessons. 

The Caribbean menswear aesthetic continues to blossom into something of its own niche character, Elie believes, and because of this, he has had unwavering hope for the industry despite the pandemic. “There have been wonderful lessons learnt by the Ecliff Elie team in the past nine months,” he says, explaining that business equates to risk and one must be strong, enduring and fearless to combat the effects of such risk. “This period, while extremely daunting for many, opened my eyes as a business owner to many things, and I’ve weathered the storm very well. I have been able to keep all of my employees over the past nine months and that came with the implementation of more effective business strategies,” he explained. 

Ecliff Elie says he has learnt some very helpful lessons during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Restrictions imposed as a direct result of Covid-19, in Trinidad and Tobago and across the Caribbean has certainly affected sales to some degree, however Elie says he remains steadfast and resolute in his belief that this storm of sorts, will soon pass. “Weathering the storm requires a lot of patience but it also demands resilience. What we’ve done during this period proved effective for the long-term business strategy. Virtual consultations, available at www.ecliffelie.co may have been overlooked prior to the pandemic, and it’s actually an effective method of reaching clients around the world,” said Elie. In fact, he explains, he’s seen increased regional sales during Covid-19. 

The male client, Elie’s target demographic, continues to be acutely marketed to, particularly during the present Christmas season. “While we understand that for many, these are some tough financial times, we also feel that men require emotional support during this time,” said Elie. “Because men are often required to be strong in the face of hardship, the man’s emotional pain can be overlooked. In the same way a woman feels good when she purchases a new pair of shoes or a new dress, we believe men should feel comfortable releasing their stress with a little shopping from time to time,” said the designer. 

Ecliff Elie’s Southern branch offers off-the-rack suits that can be altered for fit on spot. “While dinner parties and New Year’s Eve events may be very limited this year, we’d like to encourage our Caribbean men to boost their spirit and feel good despite the effects of this pandemic. It’s been a tough year, but we must have the right attitude heading into 2021, which will ultimately determine our altitude. For some reason, stepping into Ecliff Elie has a way of changing attitudes,” he said. 

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Two Years After Prison Release, Buju Banton Takes Home Best Reggae Act Award.

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Buju Banton stays grounded in his truths. The Grammy award winning artist who has been nominated for yet another Grammy in 2020, has taken home the MOBO award for Best Reggae Act, coming out of the release of his latest album, “Upside Down 2020.”

The album was released in June this year.

I thank the MOBO Awards committee, but most of all I thank everyone who has supported me and continues to support me. Let’s continue to allow music to do its job as the great healer, teacher, comforter and, above all, the restorative force that propels human beings to higher heights,” said the artist after learning of his win.

The UK MOBO Awards is the biggest celebration of black music and culture. This track, “Helping Hand,” off the new album is one of our favourites.


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