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Seychelles represented at SXSW review

Posted by Sista Irie 
Seychelles represented at SXSW review
March 25, 2013 01:51AM
Ras Pyek, the Reggae Dub Poet from the Seychelles has without doubt laid the foundation for further international exposure and promotion of Seychellois music, culture and lifestyle. I am pleased to have been associated with the efforts to encourage and coordinate his participation in SXSW 2013. In April 2012, I met Ras Pyek while visiting Seychelles as a guest speaker at a music business workshop organized by UNESCO consultant Lloyd Stanbury. This workshop was presented as part of a mission to design an implementation strategy for music industry development in the Seychelles. The participation of Seychellois musicians in major international music conferences and festivals was one of the key recommendations made in the implementation strategy.


After an inspiring interview on KAZI radio, Austin, Texas, was eager to see the performance of Tony ‘Ras Pyek’ Joubert at the South by Southwest Festival and Music Conference. Even though dub poetry is a well-established form of literary art, born in the Caribbean and rooted in various parts of the world, never before has an artist from the Seychelles performed at this well respected musical event. As a result of the gracious sponsorship of the National Arts Council of Seychelles and other business sponsors, Ras Pyek arrived in Austin just in time to set up a series of rehearsals with backing band, The Droppers, leading up to his performance on Thursday, March 14th, at the Flamingo Cantina in downtown Austin.

The SXSW Music Conference brings over 2000 bands into Austin, and attracts in excess of 50,000 music enthusiasts and industry players annually. To enter and be selected to perform on one of the coveted showcases is a rising singer and/or band’s dream come true. During the day, workshops, lectures and professional networking takes place in the city’s downtown Convention Center along with a trade show and other music related exhibitions. The experience is a wealth of education for any person connected to the music industry. Ras Pyek attended seminars and workshops making many new connections for future professional interaction.

Ras Pyek connected with several international artists to share experiences at SXSW and to promote ongoing professional networking. Some of these artists include Ester Rada, whose music is a deep reflection of her Israeli born Ethiopian roots; Naia Kete, a beautiful dreadlocked singer whose art is described as neo-soul, jazzy pop with reggae infusion; and Windy City, a Korean based reggae band. Performing before Ras Pyek at Flamingo Cantina was a duet (singer and guitarist) known as Esprit de Corps, a Los Angeles-based music group infusing reggae/soul with an 80’s-poetic style. Ras Pyek also met with Jamaican recording artists, Don Carlos formerly of Black Uhuru, the legendary Skatalites, including founding members Lester Sterling and Doreen Schaefer and members of the band, New Kingston.

The Performance at Flamingo Cantina:

Ras Pyek and the Droppers played to an adoring crowd at Flamingo Cantina, enticing a number of dancing and cheering fans with potent lyrics and driving rhythms. Language held no barriers. Songs in Creole and English energized the room while Pyek’s interactive style and flying dreadlocks ignited an educational interactive segment. At a captivating moment, Pyek began jumping in the air driving home the acappella delivery of ‘Poetik.’ Music fever inspired fans jumping in synchronicity, experiencing authentic Creole vibes and demonstrating that intellectual senses can be a direct result of word sound and not solely on word translation. Ras Pyek tantalized the crowd asking over and over “What is my name?” a brilliant technique educating the fans on how to speak his name in Creole and to put into perspective alignment with Rastafari. The audience was made up of a unique blend of cultures extremely receptive to Ras Pyek’s entertaining and inspiring poetry. After leaving the stage, he and the band were surrounded by fans and industry members wanting to meet this handsome man from the Seychelles, asking where to hear more of his work and to learn more about the Seychelles and the islands’ culture.

“As Ras Pyek’s representative in Austin, I was extremely pleased with the reception and networking opportunities presented to him. His unique art form, dub poetry, should be recognized internationally and given the attention and respect it deserves. Ras Pyek is ready for other international showcases and can be a strong mentor in Seychelles, demonstrating to other rising artists that ambition and discipline can result in professional rewards. I enjoyed this wonderful opportunity to support Ras Pyek on his musical journey to SXSW. From the interview conducted on my radio show, Conscious Party, to coordinating his work with the back-up band, The Droppers, and acting as tour manager and publicist, the experience was heart-warming and productive.

Art is the reflection of humanity and conceptually becomes the voice of the people. It is used to educate and promote a social activism easily delivered to a receptive audience. My personal goal is to open the door for art to lead the people of the world towards more tolerance and appreciation for diversity. Ras Pyek is a prime example of an artist whose works can accomplish this goal.” Beverly “Sista Irie” Shaw

Re: Seychelles represented at SXSW review
March 25, 2013 07:34PM
Nice works Sis Irie. Will be looking out for this inspiring poet. Excellent photo as well. Give thanks!

Peace Love and Harmony
Re: Seychelles represented at SXSW review
March 26, 2013 02:26AM
Give thanks, if you would like to hear some tracks, email me at sisirie@prismnet.com and I will send some from the album. Bless.
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