Trinidad and Tobago Express
Sunday, February 26th 2006
Local artistes need much more solid home support in order to be successful on the world stage says veteran percussionist/song writer Ralph Mac Donald.
The America-born Grammy award winning performer, who has Trini roots, said without meaningful support from the local electronic media local acts were destined for failure on the world stage.
"You've got to value your creativity. People don't realise the value of what they really got and the truth is in order for artistes to make it on the world stage they got to have solid home support," Mac Donald during an interview at the 2006 Barbados Jazz Festival at Farley Hill, Barbados.
He applauded the initiatives taken by soca star Neil "Iwer" George and music producer Kenny Phillips, executive managers of the radio stations Bashment 91.9 fm and Wack fm respectively, for ensuring local music gets a fair play and called for the example to be adopted across the board.
"When I go to Trinidad I don't want to hear foreign music on the radio I want to hear calypso, soca and chutney," he said with a shake of the head.
"It's the only way people will get to know Trinidadian artistes. You've got to play your local acts much more and promote them. I think all radio stations in Trinidad should play at least 60 per cent local content daily," he said.
Mac Donald, most well-known for his composition "Just The Two Of Us" of which there have been several remakes the most popular being done by American rapper Will Smith, raised the anti several notches higher when he made a surprise appearance alongside Bajan champion saxophonist Arturo Tappin on the first evening of the two day out door Jazz concert at Farley Hill National Park.
Together they excited the large gathering of Jazz lovers that lay sprawled out on blankets on the hill slope with some innovative unrehearsed playing that raised the pores and moved the soul.
"That's the power of jazz music, it's a feelings music," he said.
He said he was working on an up-tempo brand of jazz music which he promises will blow the mind of the true jazz enthusiast.
"I'm doing a new album, a jazz album but it's up tempo you can always dance to my music," he said.
He said his music has always been influenced by what he hears coming out of T&T since he has a real interest and love for local genres.
"People might say it's not my place because I am a born American to talk about Trini music but what does it matter where I was born? I come there every carnival and my Trini roots makes it my business," he concluded with a smile.