Entertainment

PARADISE LOST? A look at dancehall dark side

BY SIMONE MORGAN Observer staff reporter morgans@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, February 10, 2013    

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JAMAICA-BORN Claudja Barry, a stalwart of Canada's entertainment scene, zooms in on dancehall's dark side with Losing Paradise and Music, a documentary which debuts on OMNI 1 TV in that country on February 17.

According to an article posted on the www.caribbeanemagazine.com website, it will be shown in February as part of Black History Month activities.

The 60-year-old Barry, who migrated to Canada at age seven, says the project is a far-reaching one.

"Losing Paradise and Music deals with the impact this genre of music is having on society. The images that are presented in this form of music are generally negative and I wanted to hear from a wide group their views," Barry said.

She admitted that there was a personal quest to know if there are any redeeming qualities about dancehall music which has been the dominant sound out of Jamaica for over 20 years.

"I wanted to find out if Bob Marley's message of love, respect and caring were prominent in the music of today which is dancehall, and if the current artistes are holding up the standards set by Marley and those of his era," she said.

Barry interviewed psychologists, family life specialists, doctors and musicians for the project.

While she is not for censorship, Barry stressed that society must realise that without exposure to other forms of music, some people limit themselves to a particular sound, which can be dangerous.

"I understand that there are a generation of listeners who have heard only dancehall reggae and obviously enjoy that form of music. I am not trying to change anyone's preference, but, there should be music appreciation in schools, so that from an early age all children would have knowledge of all types of music," she stated.

Barry studied acting at the world-famous Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York City, then studied voice in Berlin and Vienna. She has recorded several albums and appeared in the 1985 movie, Rappin'.

She was inducted into the Canadian Black Music Hall of Fame in 2003.

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