A friend in Washington pointed me this week to an article in the online version of D.C.’s “Express”, a paper produced by the Washington Post targeted to commuters. Fresh off a hectic D.C. Carnival season, the piece features an interview with Trinidad and Tobago son, Bunji Garlin.
The writer introduces us to Bunji, talking about his new album on the VP Records label, home of artists Sean Paul, Elephant Man, Tony Matterhorn, Beenie Man and Beres Hammond. Of the man Ian Alvarez, the author writes:
...it's only in conversation that you really get a sense of Garlin's conviction, strength and intelligence. He's a fiercely independent man who has carved his way through the small but potentially treacherous Trinidad and Tobago music scene with his artistry and dignity intact.In the interview, Bunji talks about Carnival, the music scene in Trinidad and Tobago, and the plight of the local artist trying to earn a living from his craft - perform or starve.
Asked pointedly about Chinese Laundry, outspoken as ever, he takes a turn in the tail of the "Soca Mafia", saluting colleagues who have managed to remain independent, and expressing real confidence in the new generation's ability to rebel against what he calls "mafioso behaviour". Says Bunji:
[They] are coming into this business now with a certain strength behind them, because they're coming from the streets and the ghettos, and they already have it in their minds that they're going to find a way to make it in this business. Nobody is going to stop them.Grounded as ever, Bunji makes sure to recognise those who paved the way for all his peers, including the Mighty Sparrow and his father-in-law, Superblue.
The article at http://www.readexpress.com/read_freeride/2007/06/soca_warrior_bunji_garlin.php is a must-read.
Bunji's album "Global" is on sale now at the VP Record's site and in Apple's iTunes Music Store.