BY CECELIA CAMPBELL-LIVINGSTON Observer staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
ALTHOUGH she has not graced the Jamaican stage in some time, culture deejay Carol 'Sister Carol' East has flown the reggae flag high in other parts of the world.
She is celebrating 30 years in the music business with a Togetherness/Sister Carol and Friends album released recently on her Black Cinderella label.
Carol says the project gives her fans a chance to "fulljoy" the many combinations she has done. Among the artistes she has collaborated with are Brigadier Jerry, Bunny Wailer, Judy Mowatt, Johnny Osbourne, Buju Banton, Sugar Minott, Sister Nancy, and Shinehead.
Sister Carol says the secret to her longevity is "maintaining an apartment on Humble Street," while writing, recording, touring, mothering and just being inspired by life.
"My works are futuristic, thus it is always current, whether it be social, political or spiritual," the 53-year-old entertainer said in an email response to the Jamaica Observer.
Sister Carol says she has spent much of her life campaigning for women in the music business but is disappointed by the results.
"While it is nice to see more females now in the business, which was always one of my greatest desires, I would prefer the females to be more united and make music of real substance instead of trying to diss each other," she stated.
One female artiste Sister Carol is focusing on is her deejay daughter Nakeeba Amaniyea. Nakeeba accompanied her mother on Carol's recent tour of the United States.
"I think my daughter has what it takes to take the reggae torch and run with it. The fans were really into her music and performances," Carol said. "It really surprised me to see a new artiste coming out for the first time and receiving such overwhelming response."
Outside of music, Sister Carol has promoted her Black Cinderella clothing line for the past five years.
"The clothes are exclusively made in Jamaica and they are available wherever I perform and at selected stores in the US," she said.
Originally from Denham Town in West Kingston, Sister Carol says she was influenced by her father Howard East, who was a senior engineer at Radio Jamaica and also played an important role in the Studio One and Treasure Isle sound.
Howard East regularly participated in sessions at Studio One with legendary producer Clement 'Coxson' Dodd. Those early influences not only left an indelible mark on her personally but fostered her love for the music industry.
In 1973 when she was 14, her family immigrated to Brooklyn, New York. The thriving music scene there deepened that passion and during the 1980s, she became a regular on the New York City club circuit.
A decade later, Sister Carol recorded several well-received albums for Massachusetts independent company, Heartbeat Records, which raised her profile internationally.
Although she has not been on the local stage, Sister Carol says she has lived in St Mary for more than three years.
She has several other projects on the horizon including a reissue of her 10th album 1 Derful Words as well as three new albums which are slated for release next year.
A book about her career as an artiste, producer and actress is also in the works.