Collision 2018: A Sit down with a Jillionaire

A half day spent on watching his YouTube videos didn’t prepare me for the completeness of Christopher Leacock better known as Jillionaire the Trinidadian celebrity DJ and music producer.

As I watched Chris approach the Collision Media Village he seemed out of sync with the cacophony that defined the Collision 2018 technical summit.  The intensity of expression and the innate quality of separate seemed an aura.  So, my desire to script the essence of how Jillionaire crafts his art suddenly felt daunting.   I wanted to know what influencers shaped his world creating the global phenom of Jillionaire. Five minutes into conversation the agent of cultural change awakened

I wanted to know what thoughts and ideas lie behind the warm brown eyes and musical drive.

Born April 3, 1978 in Trinidad, it was a time of political upheaval. A government struggling toward cultural reform was the environment molding Chris’ social economic beliefs. Considering the social unrest that defined the small country since 1971 I wanted his opinion on Trinidad’s new political leadership. On the 19th of March 2018, Paula-Mae Weekes became the first woman to hold the office of President of Trinidad-Tobago. His honesty on the subject both surprised and pleased.

Chris voiced ideologies that millions in his generation embrace. Do away with the politics of marginalization, the inclusion, exclusivities, and the disparities dictated by earlier generations for far too long.  I realized that I was staring into eyes mirroring thoughts of the remolding of societies by the most perfect ways. Through music and art Jillionaire and others are the cultural architects shaping our future. This new generation disavows our need for Tribalism and politicizing marginalization.

Jillionaire’s embrace of global music and its creators’ examples

There’s a stream of awakening that has become a commonality energizing global musical sounds no matter the genre or language.  Christopher Leacock realizes that thoughts shape our worlds and spaces and that meme is reflective in his art. It’s also exampled in his choices of collaborations and new projects. He freely shares future works on his YouTube and Soundcloud channels.

Marginalization – no matter how politically needful must end to create true autonomy.

Jillionaire’s craft preaches about the needful things necessary to evolvement and a better more equal time in space. He spoke forcefully of the need to dispel the “isms” of race, religion, and gender.

Until we ignore the overworked political meme of marginalization, and its consequential exploitation, cultural tribes will remain. Making strife induced inequity and political tribalism the norm for generations.

During Collision 2018, I took away from my sit down with Jillionaire a confirmation of the quiet cultural revolution.

 

The New Global Sounds of Music are from Our Roots

MusicCross-cultural music is becoming as commonplace as sharing fashion styles. With new technology comes a new music that embraces new instrumentation mimicking the ancient and soulful melodies that would even feel at home in Motown. Westerners have always espoused that music is universal. Yet in our western culture, we tend to take Bach into space instead of a Tuareg lullaby or the soul bending sounds of a Tamil love song.

Like the film noir of the ‘30′s and ‘40′s and black white images in jazz memes, the new music that splashes against many shores is alive with color from parts unknown, from little known cultures and artists that are new to the listener.

Like the German-Japanese sound magician Naoki Kenji – his supernatural keyboard artistry is home to the flavor of Japanese dissonance. Yet the harmonic drive of acoustic base and melody is at home anywhere. His influencers are Al Jarreau and Ivan Lins. His music has enjoyed celebrity status in Japan, Europe, and the US.

Artisan Praful is a German whose real name is Ulrich Schröeder. He began creating jazz as a small child. His acid jazz rhythm has stayed at the top of charts for a record-breaking 70 weeks. He lives near Amsterdam and is master to a host of instruments including the saxophone. His influencers are John Coltrane and Charlie Parker. He has a special affection for Pat Metheny’s earlier work, the syncopated beats of Brazil.

Susheela Raman is a Tamil born in a small town in northern India. She grew up in London and has the vocals of a Dionne Warwick. Chasing the soulful harmonics of Reggae in her traditional cultural songs has garnered her success as a movie sound track vocalist with a huge global following.

For thousands of years, a tall, elegant people roamed the ancient deserts of Northern African. They are the nomads and proud people of the Tuareg. Once called the blue people, or people of the blue veil, their tribe is home to gifted guitarist and singer Bombino. Now that his tribe has come under Islamic fundamentalist rule, Bombino risks his life to bring music to the world. He and his friends learned to play guitar by watching films of Jimi Hendrix and Mark Knopfler.

“The curious beauty of African music is that it uplifts even as it tells a sad tale. You may be poor, you may have only a ramshackle house, you may have lost your job, but that song gives you hope. African music is often about the aspirations of the African people, and it can ignite the political resolve of those who might otherwise be indifferent to politics.” -Nelson Mandela, 1st President of South Africa