Happy to be headed back to Kingston this weekend to be a part of this —
Readers here are no doubt familiar with TED talks, those little video gems of infotopian brain candy. I’ve certainly enjoyed and admired a few. As you may know, TEDx events are independently organized and produced, but the most popping presentations are eligible to go up on the main TED site.
TED’s tagline is “ideas worth spreading,” and I can think of a number of ways this applies to Jamaican music (which, natch, will be my subject). Moreover, as you can see, the local organizers of TEDxIrie have appended the slogan with another resonant phrase for thinking about the extraordinary impact and resonance of reggae: “Small Island. Big Ideas.”
Accordingly, I’ll be trying to give a snappy, 18-minute overview of what are, to me, some of the biggest ideas that have come out of Jamaican studios and soundsystems and soundscapes over the last 50 years. More specifically, though I won’t give away too much here today, I’ll be discussing how Jamaican musical innovations have contributed to a collective reclamation and recognition of “Songs as Shared Things” (as I’ve put it before) in age of music’s technological reproducibility.
I’m thrilled to be speaking alongside some distinguished and promising panelists, including the ever contentious and controversial — and I mean that in a good way — Carolyn Cooper, not to mention brilliant young artist, Ebony Patterson, whose recent exhibit Gangstas, Disciplez plus the Doiley Boyz offers a striking and poignant portrayal of skin-bleaching and other transgressive, if commonplace, cultural practices in Jamaica.
Thanks to the people at Panmedia for putting this together. See you in town?