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Friday, January 19, 2007


The Many Flavours of Anthony Hamilton for Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues

When the 2007 Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival touches down in Montego Bay Monday, January 23 – Saturday, January 27, soulful singer Anthony Hamilton will make his second trip to Jamaica. His first time to the island, he came intent on soaking up the triple joys of sun, sand and sea. This time he comes to woo Jamaicans with his gritty, soulful and funky music.

A barber by trade, Anthony Hamilton is looking to cut away worry and expose patrons at the Jazz and Blues Festival to a great time. Soul is the space where the spiritual meets the secular and Hamilton captures that beautiful with a rich sound that speaks eloquently of spiritual hymns revealing his back ground in the church as well as fun-loving funky tracks like Sista Big Bones. Sista Big Bones, a tribute to women with curves is one of the most popular tracks on Hamilton’s current album Ain’t Nobody Worryin.

Hamilton points out that the track is a particular favourite of women with curves. “All the women are like, “ ‘We’re so glad that you made a song about us,’” he says. Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, Mr. Hamilton explains that he grew up with an appreciation for more than skin and bones. “I’m a southern boy,” he says, “and growing up I see those are the women who got it going on.” Revealing a sly sense of humour, Mr. Hamilton explains that the serving of “extra meat” often comes with a side order of “extra personality”.

Ain’t Nobody Worryin has many moods and methods. The album travels from the soaring heights to the murky depths of love with all the joy and pain that is involved. It includes I Know What Love is About that feels like a hymn while Everybody is a very “Reggae-fied” track that will definitely ease Mr. Hamilton’s welcome with Jamaican audiences.

“I understand the spirit behind [Reggae],” Mr. Hamilton says, explaining that Bob Marley and Prince Malachi are among his musical influences. So, he points out that he was attracted to Everybody because it had the feel of authentic Reggae music rather than a “watered down” version.

The spirituality that comes out in is music is by no means accidental or a hold over from another life. Spirituality, he says, is very important to him. “I wouldn’t even be Anthony not doing that,” he says. “I love it, and that’s what I stand for.” Mr. Hamilton points out that he is very interested in the spirit and spirituality that guides traditional black music.

“It’s not just about getting a couple dollars and being with a couple girls in a video,” he says. With a laugh, Mr. Hamilton reveals yet another reason. “My grandmother would whip my butt,” he says. “She’d get up out of the grave and whip me. That’s part of why I do it. I don’t want a whipping.”

His reference to his grandmother’s hand in raising him hints at Mr. Hamilton’s commitment to his family. A father to three sons, Mr. Hamilton speaks of the incomparable joy of having his sons tell him they love him. “My father wasn’t around all along, so I wanted to give them that,” he says.

An understanding of the value of love and family comes through easily with Ain’t Nobody Worryin and Mr. Hamilton admits that a part of what he loves about making music is producing works that mean something to other people. So, not surprisingly, a part of what he is looking forward to at the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival is to see which songs strike a responsive chord in the Jamaican audience.

Mr. Hamilton reveals that he knows how vocal Jamaican audiences can be and so expects them to tell him what they like and don’t like. He is also hoping to get a bite out of Jamaican culture. Explaining that in New York he has consumed much Jamaican food but he is looking forward to chomping into the real flavour on home ground. And while he does so, Jamaicans can get a chance to savour his flavour.

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