Half a dozen young people, local artists and music producers have gotten together to create a peace song for Carnival 2014.
The song was played publicly for the first time Saturday morning on WSTA on “Talkin’ Solutions, Takin’ Responsibility” – a one-hour talk radio conversation that is part of the Rotary Practice Peace Initiative.
The Rotary initiative – spawned by Sunrise Rotary and supported by USVI Rotary North clubs – fostered the idea to reach into the musical talent of the Virgin Islands to spread the peace message in music and verse.
The calypso tune, “Together, Forever,” was a poignant afterthought of the project that started out to be a compilation of famous peace songs, covered and produced by local talent only, which will be released one by one over the next few months. The song can be heard here or at the link below.
The project was initially only going to include “cover songs” until Ian Turnbull of 340 pm had a frightening gun-related experience late last winter while showcasing some musical artists at a local nightspot.
Shots were fired in the parking lot over his and his friends’ heads, Turnbull said, and he later woke up in the middle of the night with renewed energy to create a song for Carnival that would get a lot of attention and with the right message.
“I wanted to call a calypso artist friend on St. Croix right then at four in the morning,” Turnbull said. “I was fired up.”
He said he ended up calling at a more reasonable hour and the beat began.
Derrick Moore, BasRocStudios’ owner, was working on the cover songs at the time Turnbull had his epiphany and joined the effort.
For those not familiar with what it takes to put together a project like this, it’s not easy.
And because Moore and Turnbull, along with Jamal Samuel sf2d entertainment, wanted to use as many V.I. artists as possible, it took a lot of time, collaboration and coordination.
The beat for “Together, Forever,” was created by an artist known as Swanks. Timothy and Theron, two internationally known songwriters formerly from St. Thomas, wrote the refrain. And then the call went out for additional verses.
Though the five-minute version of the song has been released, an additional extended version will be out and available soon.
Moore said that when the beat and beginning of “Together, Forever” got out into the community, more and more and more artists started sending their own additions.
“I have to use them all,” Moore said, because they are all so good. He said he hopes to have the extended version done for Carnival.
But the current five-minute version ends in a special way – a touch from Moore – with eight young children ranging in age from 4 to 14 calling for us to “stand together, forever.”
Some of the current verses include statements coming directly from the young people who most closely and frequently face the issues of violence:
“No more sorrows, I am tired of these stressful times … why can’t we just love each other … the only thing dividing us is water.”
“All dem men have guns. We’re losing our fathers. We’re losing our sons.”
“We must stand together, together live forever … We only spread love wherever we go.”
These are only a few of the verses to the song its creators hope will catch fire as it is played throughout the community in the weeks leading up to the Carnival parade. Many hope it will be this year’s Road March, the song most played during the parade, and clinch the notion that peace is what everyone wants, Moore said.
The following artists are on the first version of “Together, Forever”: Rock City, AJ, Adam O, Leo, Wally Kyat, Pumpa and Prya.
The children who lent their voices to the cry for unity include Dianysha Varfley, Jada Lettsome, Lazonique Phillip, Lorenzo Phillip, Lazon Phillip Jr., Tynasia Hart, Tsunadae Lavernier and Aaliyah Esprit.