Jamaica. Land of wood and water. A truly, truly, beautiful, awesome, magnificent, splendid and magical island. It nice man…fi real! 🙂 There is a magical quality to the island and its people that one needs to experience for oneself. You’ll hear the magic in the music. You’ll see the magic in the stunning, breathtaking views to be found all over this island. You’ll experience it when come here and spend time with the people. Jamaica is also the type of place, where you’ll have new and amazing experiences every time you visit. Each intriguing, insightful and fun in its own way.
Take my current trip for instance. For me its a much needed and deserved break. Part chill out, part connecting with family and friends. However, it has also been a time for making new connections.
For example, Kofi Allen and I went to have dinner with a lady called Carolyn Cooper. A world renowned author of several books on reggae. Her latest one is called Global Reggae. You can check it out on Amazon. She is also Professor of Literary & Cultural Studies at the University of the West Indies and incepted their Reggae Studies programme. Art Collecter extrodinaire. A sharp intellectual mind and integrity whilst maintaining a wicked sense of humour and youthful, fun-loving spirit. Watch her TED Talk and you’ll see a little of what I mean. She cooked us a selection of tasty traditional dishes with a twist, and a desert that I have never experienced before which was just divine. It was sort of baked banana and pineapple with some local fruits. It wasn’t to sweet nor too sharp. It was delicious…as was the rest of the meal. She played subtle havoc with our senses 🙂 Thanks Carolyn. We saw some amazing works of art at her home in the Kingston.Where she enjoys stunning views across Kingston and beyond. Many of the works came from Ghana or other parts of Africa where she regularly works and lectures. Some were from home grown artists. There was a particular sculptor Gene Pearson and she had many of his pieces. So how provident for us was it that the next week, by chance, when out with some family friends…we were taken to his home up in the Kingston Hills!! He graciously allowed us to amble around his home and workshop!! Nice serendipitous touch!!
Anyway…my main purpose for writing this post is to talk about a rising Jamaican Artist. Introducing D-Medz. Kofi had been commissioned by Joseph Moore at EppJam to take some shots of D-Medz. Lucky for me…I got to tag along. Kofi has taken some iconic shots of many great artists. You can see a selection if you visit his website. So we were all pretty hyped up about what the day might bring.
From my discussions with D-Medz, it definitely seems like he is a man on a mission, looking to take things to the next level. He sees himself as a conduit from a divine source. A vessel through which the music flows in order to pour a blessing on the voiceless and less fortunate. They can relate to his music, because they come from the same place he does. This place may not necessarily be his hometown of May Pen, the wider region of Jamaica or even the Carribean but has come from far afield. Places like Kenya, Ghana and Zimbabwe. He seemed visibly puzzled by this transatlantic appreciation but humbly grateful. Like he says in our interview…these days, he does not know where the inspiration comes from. The lyrics are seeming to write themselves with little effort on his part. Well, the man definately has talent…and humility. You can see his videos playing on the TV out in Jamaica…and as we went around the several locations where his shots were taken, several people approached him, to ask if it was he who they had seen on the TV. There was even a sweet little boy perhaps 4 or 5 years old, who kept calling his name; “D-Medz, D-Medz…a yu name D-Medz?” It was soooo sweet. Listening to Jamaican children speaking has got to be one of the best things ever 🙂
The whole photo shoot itself was very organic. Joe, D-Medz’s manager had a location in mind. However, we had a few stops to make before we would ultimately reach the grounds of University of The West Indies (UWI.) Kofi is not one to waste opportunities. He said, if he felt the vibe…he would probably take some shots as the spirit took him. The spirits were active, so first stop…Half Way Tree, Kingston, to pick up some bits and pieces. Kofi took the opportunity to take some shots of D-Medz around a bar area in an outdoor mall. Another thing about Kingston is that you will find lots of murals on the walls. Right near the bar was a mural, and Kofi took some nice shots there. We crossed the road, where Kofi took some shots of D-Medz by a bus stop. After that, we had one more stop to make, and Kofi spotted another mural. It had a lot of symbolism, so was really fitting for D-Medz…especially as he seems to be embarking on a very spiritual journey. D-Medz stands for Deep Meditation!
We finally got to our intended location within the grounds of the University of The West Indies. The security waved us through…no problem!
Within the ground are the ruins of an old viaduct. Kofi took some really inspirational shots. I even took a hand in playing 2nd AD, by holding some foil to reflect light 🙂 Turns out that the light reflection wasn’t entirely necessary as Kofi was able to get the shots he needed using the natural light and environment. I must say it was a real privilege to see this shoot take place. There was also some really cool ideas that came out for video treatments. So watch this space. I’m really excited to see how things develop.
Although my stint as 2nd Ad didn’t last…I did however get the opportunity to get an interview with D-Medz, and talk a little bit about his music, the photo shoot and his overall purpose. He is currently recording a new EP, which is entitled Empowerment. I wish him all the very best. He is a really talented yet humble brother, who is working hard to turn his visions into reality. One love D-Medz. See the interview I recorded with him.
Last but not least
So its roll call time…
Finally, I thought I’d leave you with a brief clip of Kofi Allen in the grounds of UWI talking about D-Medz shoot and some images I took on my phone. Peace out people…until next time.