Roatan Rapper Hosts Party in Miami; Another Big Bash Here on Saturday Night

Sickboy Sickest, a protege of Jhaytea who lives in Miami, is throwing a big bash this weekend at a Miami nightclub to spotlight Roatan talent.

And the next evening, (originally scheduled at the new Granny’s Kitchen in Flowers Bay but now moved to Las Palmas) on July 23rd, Jhaytea and DJ Sambula are throwing another huge “Roatanean” bash that will no doubt last all night.

As if that’s not enough Roatan music culture gettin’ spread around, Jhaytea also helped shore up a formidable lineup at a Brooklyn high school last weekend:

Also — and this could be big news — I met a concert promoter/local impresario who swears he’s getting George Jones to play a concert here in October. Rick Loomis also told me he’s trying to get reggae vets Third World and Steel Pulse down here as well. Fingers? Crossed.

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Jack is Back! This Thursday Night at Lands End!

Jack Lewis Returns to Rock Roatan

BY JEFF STRATTON

Remember this dude? Jack, who apparently owned no shirts? The guy who played cover songs and entertained crowds all over West End about 3.5 years ago?

Sure you do. How could you forget?

Jack Lewis, the raconteur who recklessly rocked Roatan all those summers ago, is back on the rock. He’s performing at at open mic at Lands End, his old haunt, tomorrow night (Thursday, May 12) at sunset. He’s only here for a week, so don’t miss your chance. I’m heading down there with a melodica and a drum machine. Don’t miss it, kids.

Jack and Harmony at Lands End

I’d recommend that anyone and everyone with a sense of fun and humor attend. Lands End, a wonderful if under-utilized spot, is trailblazing a Roatan renaissance. The place is jamming again. Lionfish is on the menu, there’s a cool dive-master/ bartender (Joe) with great music and stories, a ring and a string and a hook, and a spectacular view at sunset.

SOL International Foundation held a big fundraiser there last Sunday, Mark Flanagan is starting up a Tuesday Quiz Night, and the place just generally contains a solidly fun and entertaining vibe that shouldn’t stay a secret.

Part of that essence is found in Lands End’s incredible staff, including the adorably silly Eva and her uncle, the immensely talented Adi. Adi plays bass for Brion James and at least one other project, and has single-handedly led the fledgling Roatan New Times to a level of visual professionalism and sophistication that was previously unimaginable.

Oh yeah. The first edition of our new Roatan magazine, The Best of Roatan 2011, hits the street in about 10 days. We’ll be folding up this little blog and tucking it inside our new project, Roatan New Times, and we’ll be unveiling our second issue sometime in June. That will contain a feature story you may have heard about before…I’m sure I’ll take some shit for it in West End, but oh well. It’ll also have a full-color restaurant section, a ton of satire, a profile of Brion James himself, and it won’t be just me writing for it.

We’ve sent the pages to San Pedro Sula, where La Prensa is printing our first edition this week. Very soon, the Bay Islands Voice will no longer be the only game in town. Excited? So are we. Stay tuned, folks. This is happening.

Jhaytea shoots new video — right here!

Roatán’s reggae sensation records slew of songs, films fish-frying video

BY JEFF STRATTON

Jhaytea and unidentified singer

On 16 February, Justin Brooks, the Flowers Bay rapper/singer with a fledgling career in the States, stopped by modest and quite un-legendary local recording studio The Four-Track Fortress to lay down some demos for some songs he’s been kicking around.

Jhaytea, wodka, and an orange slice.

The results, including an impromptu jam on “Go Tell it On the Mountain” and a half-dozen freestyle versions built upon old roots reggae and industrial/dance tracks, will eventually appear on this blog.

The very next morning Jhaytea and his videographer stopped by the nearby yet only marginally-famous UpTop Lounge, “to capture the light,” as he called it, and also to make breakfast, i.e., fried fish and plantains.

Fried fish an' plantain! Yes mon!

Throughout several days of trying to match Jhaytea’s pace, it’s evident he runs on the fumes of a couple necessities, but never fails to keeps himself well-fed. Good food, good music. Wherever he goes, he’s looking to fix something to eat.

“Our thing is reggae music and island cook-up food, Roatánean island culture food,” he says. “Bread and jonny cake — That we! You see, there’s Roatán, and then there’s Roatáneans — people that keep Roatán culture alive. And that we,” he continues. We live it, breathe it, eat it. Roatánean. I always keep that word in my music. Fried fish, coconut bread, fish tea! Steam crab! FRIED HOG!”

If you haven’t already seen the videos for other Jhaytea tunes, filmed right here on the island, they’re a lot of fun.

But this one, “Superwoman,” is the only one shot right where this blog is written. It’s available on his CD, Talk The Truth, which was recorded two years ago in Brooklyn.

Keep it locked (right here!) for a lot more exclusive Jhaytea songs, pictures, videos, and news.

Here’s the video:

Honey, I’m Home

Local musician finds sweet gig on the side

BY JEFF STRATTON

Helping Roatán's flora and fauna, one bee at a time

Brion James, usually seen with a Stratocaster slung on a strap around his neck, has a new outfit: a white bee-keeper’s suit. What’s up with that?

Minding their own beeswax: Nicole and Brion

“I love honey,” he says. “About two years ago I started YouTubing, learning everything I possibly could.”

He bought the equipment he needed – but his first attempt, an extraction-removal-relocation, went horribly awry.

“I didn’t get the bees,” he sighs. “And I got stung. And worse – no honey. A complete disaster.”

He persevered, and now Brion James is known as the man to call when you’ve got a bee problem. Call 3388-6021 if you’ve got bees in or around your house, making you uncomfortable. Bee stings are no fun. And if you’re allergic to bee stings, it’s worse than no fun.

In the meantime, Brion and his beloved, Nicole, have put together a sweet little operation called BeeLoved, which gives folks access to honey made by hard-working local bees. The pair are also selling lip balm and beeswax candles.

"It bees the best honey on the island!"

Although hummingbirds do help, Roatán’s flowers and fruits depend greatly upon honeybees to pollinate them. When mango flowers bloom, bees are instrumental — they pollinate when they visit them looking for nectar.

Try to imagine Roatán without hibiscus blossoms or fruit trees and you start to understand why stories about colonies collapsing and bees dying out worldwide aren’t just Chicken Little tales. Honeybee populations everywhere in the world are declining.

We depend on the insects more than we realize, and life with no mangos would barely be worth living, eh?

More about Roatán bees in the next post, but it’s safe to say that Brion’s doing as much as anyone trying to save the bees of Roatan.

“I’ll come and remove them and relocate them in a brand new bee condo,” Brion says in a recent internet pitch. “Please do not kill or spray them! Bees are one of the reasons that this island is so beautiful with flora! “