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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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“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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