Current Affairs

Current Affairs




Artistes sing for peace

Tanya Batson, Staff Reporter
Jamaica Gleaner
Monday, September 23, 2002


From left are: George Nooks, Howard Hamilton, H. Monty Bryant and Errol Miller at the launch of the CD and video of the song 'Together We All' at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, last Thursday. -RUDOLPH BROWN, Staff Photographer

IN THE hope of promoting a peaceful election, the song Together We All has been released. The single, along with a video, was released last Thursday at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. Although rains from Isidore continued to pour outside, the room was quite full.

The song was written by H. Monty Bryant and features several of Jamaica's prominent artistes and musicians lending their voices and talent to the cause.

The launch event was hosted by Norma Brown-Bell, who started the theme of peace by reading from the poem Peace Time. The first few lines of the poem set the tone for what the song hopes to stop. They read:

Through the rubble of my dreams

I've read too many people blown to bits

The poem, which ends with an echoing call for peace, aptly set the mood for the event. Howard Hamilton, QC, who was in charge of the product's development, was next at the microphone. He noted that the world is presently at a cross-roads and is in dire need of peace. Mr. Hamilton argued that regardless of whatever differences there are among the countries of the world, they all share crime, poverty, and unemployment. He said: "The only thing that can solve all the common problems is peace."

Mr. Hamilton also noted that the need for international peace is at a critical juncture, because the possibility of a world war looms ahead. "The spectre of a world war rears its ugly head," he said. Of course, anyone listening to the numerous speeches being made by United States President George Bush about the intentions against Iraq, understood to what he was referring.

Mr. Hamilton noted, however, that the song is also intended to have local significance. It is particularly significant to the Jamaican situation because of the upcoming elections. Mr. Hamilton argued that at present a peaceful election is the fervent prayer of every Jamaican.

Mr. Hamilton maintained that the message behind the music is strong enough to reach its national and international objectives. "Ideas of peace are universal enough to be extended far beyond elections and Jamaica," Howard Hamilton further explained.

Gary Barrow, the president of Cable and Wireless Jamaica, who are the sponsors of the project, urged that the song's message of peace and unity should be a 'driving force' behind the actions of all Jamaicans. He pointed out that everyone should put out a "special effort to make Jamaica once again a place where we can live in peace and comfort".

The song is a non-commercial venture and boasts an impressive production and artistic team. Together We All was written and produced by Mikey Bennett of Grafton Studios. Its writer also took on the role as the executive producer. Kevin Lee produced, directed and edited the music video, while Damian 'Moose' East was the track's recording engineer and Steven Stanley the mixing engineer.

The musicians of the stellar cast of performers, dubbed 'Voices for Peace', include Dean Fraser, Junior 'Chico' Chin and Ronald 'Nambo' Robinson on horns. Richard Brownie came in on bass, while Robbie Lyn controlled the keyboards and Wayne Armond played the guitar. Desi Jones played the drums.

The artistes on the single hail from various sectors of the music business. It combines singers, deejays, and rappers and also mixes secular with the non-secular artistes. Chevelle Franklin lifts her voice for the gospel artistes. She is accompanied by several stalwarts of the secular music fraternity, such as Nadine Sutherland, Half Pint, Wayne Armond and Tony Rebel. Rebel's presence on the venture continues in the vein of his previous voluntary work. Ghost also helps to strenghten the presence of the dancehall voices on the track.

The other artistes featured on Together We All are Abijah, George Nooks, Lukie D, Nickki B, Tessanne Chin, Calibe Thompson, I'ngel Chanta, Elroy Daron and Roselyn Williams.

In his address, Bryant affirmed his commitment to the message in his song. He ended his speech by saying that though he may believe in the power of love to promote peace, he harbours no fairy tale delusions. "If you have love, it won't stop you from being killed," he said, "but it will stop you from being a killer."