Dingo's back in the game

BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, May 25, 2014

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POET and musician Dingo has been off the radar for some time. Known for his entertaining and thought-provoking writing, he has been spending his time off completing his yet-to-be-named book of poetry.

"I am about four poems short of what I require, so my days are filled with writing," Dingo told the Sunday Observer. "I have an offer from a publisher, not saying who just yet, so once I'm finished we'll see how that goes," he continued.

Dingo (given name Richard Dingwall) first burst on the scene more than a decade ago and had favourable media exposure thanks to insightful pieces including 54 Burbank Street, Blouse and Skirt Vibes, The Movie and High Time.

His work was considered a breath of fresh air, providing the perfect middle ground between "high brow" academics, and hard-hitting social commentary.

"I got a lot of media rotation as the public reported that my work was easy to listen to. This was a concerted effort on my part," said Dingo. "Although I wanted to pull people up and elevate the standard of the work, I still wanted to strike that middle ground. In Jamaica, very few poets are able to reach that," he added. "In order to achieve this, I add humour to the piece while maintaining the depth of what I'm trying to say."

Despite performing on shows including Reggae Sunsplash, Reggae Sumfest and the World Alive Literary Festival in St Lucia, he does not classify himself as a poet.

"I just talk about life. It's about re-telling a story after observing life... it's just art," said the former lab assistant, who spent nine years working at a bauxite company. He found that mundane and switched to music.

"Growing up, I was always surrounded by music. My father had juke boxes and so we would listen to all types of music. In addition, father always insisted on reading, so music and writing were always a part of me."

Dingo delved into music as well as poetry, both as producer and artiste. He describes his music as eclectic but finds the local music industry disappointing.

"The division of labour is missing from our music industry. We are yet to reach a stage where writers write and artistes perform, everyone wants to do everything," he said. "So, some great writers struggle with less than up-to-par performance skills, and the great performers make you cringe as their writing lacks substance."

Dingo however, maintains focused on completing his book.

"I want to put out a book I can be proud of. I would love for it to make its way into the classroom, the same way classics like those written by Claude McKay have done in the past... that would be nice," he said.




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