Sunday, August 21, 2011



I went to the little town of Rochester. It is boasted as the "Historic town of Rochester". In this town you will find an air heavily laden with history brought to you by contemporary features. You will find that if you get there as early as I did pretty soon after 9 am you wont just hear your own footsteps against the cobbled streets.  My visit was in 2 parts: Thursday afternoon I breezed through the newness of the place with an unsuspecting eye to the fabric that had been unfurled before me. The 2nd oldest Cathedral in the UK was my first stop: the air was crisp, with a few visitors not too many it felt like walking in to another cathedral in Dunblane Scotland.

The golden pipes of the organ was fascinating - they were my highlight imagining what my songs would sound like with this massive golden display of pipes bubbling under a one drop niceness. According to the  brochure you were brought to more significant "must see" areas in the building. I decided I was to view what I wanted to and pretended to be in my very own tour guide. I guided by myself along.  

So this place swaggers so many facets of English history, from King James II to Charles Dickens to the Guildhall Museum,  an over 500 year old building, Abdication House and Restoration House many antique, charity, candy shops and places to eat that you would need on a day's visit to the Most Historic High street in southern England.












IN this first visit I stumbled upon a very sweet find, charity/second hand shops -which I absolutely love prowling around. Then! Baggins Book Bizarre Store !
There I stumbled on what I found to be the oldest book I've ever seen and touched in real life... When I couldn't believe it I decided to return to this special shop on the Rochester high street the next day to confirm what I discovered before my eyes.



SO friday I paid more attention the features of the streets and this you will see from the photographs I've shared with you... Needless to say how I could not resist where my feet brought me. The 2 hours I spent in Baggings books store looking at the endless maze of books piled high from the ground up and juxtaposed in every space that they could be wedged; I went back for my mystery book. While I was there I only near missed a chance to find a thin little inconspicuous item ( I tell you we lickle but we tallawah) - a book that was dedicated to Jamaican street sign art published in 1986: in this book everyone who had a business despite the profession was making sure  DEER BIZNIZ WUZ ADVOTISED: As I listened to my own songs through BB earphones I was thoroughly entertained by a bit of my history and culture as depicted through black and white photographs taken in the streets of Jamaica. I would say only in Jamaica you can find these:  

This trip to Rochester will not be my last and so I enjoyed the final 2 hours celebrating with a slice of Carrot cake and a mug of Latté from the Deaf Cat eat in cafe... Bidding the cobbled streets good bye and finally going across the famous Rochester bridge with my new treasures. 

Thanks for reading guys !!    

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A well needed trip out of London brought us to Pilgrimage in Haifa Israel

A recollection shared......

From the very first day- in hindsight I was still hung up on my feelings prior to leaving for Haifa. I was struggling with my emotions- digging hard to find that place of detachment of self from much of the misery I claim London had inflicted on me. I really wanted to be at one with the purpose behind Pilgrimage.
  Once again I found myself amongst a group of people that said "Hello" and greeted you -with an air of delight and sincerity that makes you begin to think "what kind of happy pills are they on?"- the same way, I had been greeted when I first visited the Bahá'í centre in Kingston. This time Allá'uábha was the point of interaction, God is Most Glorious.
  We were directed to "go and get registered, someone will come and get you!" We were taken to registration with "Aunty" Ann Melville. Then... I thought to myself -"life will never be the same again".  

   Visits to the Shrine of the Bab, Abdul Bahá, the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh in Bhaji, the Prison in Akko, the gardens, the buildings on the Arc especially the Archives building, the constant visits to the Shrines, the constant air and breath of reverence that was inhaled daily, the aroma of praise, of growth and knowledge of the Cause of God, the constant and daily reminder to serve and to affirm our position as believers.... The indulgence of the places where mankind's history was changed and would never compare to any other happenings; proclamations writings, tablets revealed, letters written, battles won, places where last earthly breaths taken, imprisonment, prayers mentioned....    All this encompassed with the love emanating from the mouths of all the believers present was oh so satisfying. Time spent with family and new friends, in a city where religion matters not, and everyone functioned and got on with daily living as one unit. I had a chance to sing my songs in the Holy Land and I never shied away from breathing in the breath of joy, peace and love, through this I felt in the presence. 

How could one ask for anything more, than to be at the "Home of the Bahá'í faith" as often and for as long as possible? I wanted to remain there, I wanted to submit my name for immediate service. I wanted to do something.... how we are charged to raising the call of "Yá Bahá'u'l-Abha" in cities, villages, mountains, deserts and oceans, to promote the divine teachings! 

........this emotion didn't find its way out until we came back to London.
  I enjoyed the ambiance of pilgrimage immensely. Now I'm reading God Passes By, and Ann has given me some more books to improve my future conversations and testimonies about this Great Cause.
  I had a great time and I had to recreate that space in our home so that I will never forget or dare loose my fervor and yearning. We are making extra effort to be amongst other Bahá'ís here in London. hosting Bahá'í feasts, firesides and BBQs at our place. Everyday I am happy to be a Bahá'í !

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Brina Cries

On Tuesday Night I cried. Do you want to know why ?

After throwing a small surprise Birthday party form my husband the week before he returned the favour in taking me on a "surprise date". Little did I know we were going to see Agélique Kidjo, Lizz Wright and Dianne Reeves perform live at Barbican. The show was called Sing the Truth -dedicated to the songs of their most admired musical heroines; this celebration embodies the spirits of Miriam Makeba, Abbey Lincoln, and Odetta, along with other great women of music from Billie Holiday to Lauryn Hill, as well as showcasing original songs by Kidjo, Reeves and Wright. The all-star Sing The Truth ensemble features Geri Allen on piano and keyboards, music director Terri Lyne Carrington on drums, James Genus on bass, and Romero Lubambo on guitars.

As we were ran to catch the early parts of the show when we entered the lobby of the venue I still could not believe what I was hearing. The sound of my musical influence?? Still I wasn't sure and then we bust through the door and yes I saw her, them -and my eyes ears and body came alive I sat on the last few inches of my chair the entire show close to falling off or jumping from the circle where we sat..... woiii I still couldn't believe it !! The experience was captivating- everything that I envision for my future shows around the world.

a friend of mine was explaining that she is not one to be star struck or not very typical when meeting stars ...I tried to explain to her in this way: " there are a few people on my list that I would like to meet in my lifetime and the list for a very long time is: Nelson Mandela, Miriam Makeba, Lucky Dube, Angélique kidjo and Stevie Wonder. Now the fact is 2 of the 5 are no longer with us in this world and getting this close to my musical Icon well, it doesn't get any better than that".

So you see!

The show went on for a good 2hrs and 15mins nicely packed with very soulful honest and heart warming performances to be met with standing ovations for the entire set. When all was nearing an end, the grand finale came and Angélique went through the audience on the lower platform, greeting and dancing with people…. I was determined to fly off from where I was standing to get a piece of the celebrative action going on below us. After the encore was sung, I was still on a high as I watched the crowd begin to disperse. All that was on my mind was the hope of not leaving until I could see her face to face.

I finally found what looked like stairs leading to backstage, and saw at least 10 people standing in front. I don't know what they were standing there for but somehow I knew they had the same intention that I did- however I was still convinced that no one else could have had the same motivation. I was prepared to wait till every single person had left the building, to even find the car park where the vehicles would be leaving from (in hindsight- I can only imagine the heights and depths that some die-hard fans go through when they are faced with the opportunity of meeting their favourite football player- for me the blood was pumping and the stomach churns were turned up high)

After 30 minutes of watching the tightly secured backstage door swinging open and close by people with “special passes” going in and out my heart’s desire grew stronger and stronger with the hope of catching a glimpse and maybe spontaneously shouting out Hi Angelique! Or say something like OMG – Screaammmmm !!!  Then the head of security came out and said he wasn’t sure if they will ever come out to see us the ‘desperate stragglers’ and if so, he wouldn’t be able to say when that would be. Luckily, the 10 or so persons who were standing in front of me, slowly turned and left the area. 

I stood there silently waiting for another chance of the door to swing open and another chance to spontaneously shout, Hi Angelique! Or say some kind of thing like OMG – Screaammmmm!! - it never happened.

To make this recount short so I don’t loose your attention and so that I create the climax of the experience, after 1hr and 30minutes of waiting, listening now to a new set of ladies who had decided to join the fete, who kept telling the disinterested security guy that they had a cousin inside, who they could not name, who was actually inside but was actually not related to any of the ladies, who later claimed that they travelled all the way from Zimbabwe to see the show, who luckily had managed to get the sympathy and attention of a few others going in and out of backstage, who later nominated me to be the spokesperson to try and get even further sympathy on “poor us” especially when I mentioned how nice it would be to see “Angélique” after all the wait and the possible chance of missing the last train just to get a glimpse, that when the door opened I didn’t even realize what was unfolding.
Brina and Dianne Reeves
Out came Dianne Reeves to say Hi, excitement began, for the ladies from Zimbabwe were waiting to see her. I was sort of subdued in the background because My Angélique had not come out. One of the really nice ladies that were standing with me then begged if they could get her to come out...
Angelique Kidjo embraces Brina
And she did:
Brina World Reggae singer from Jamaica was on the floor ….. you know the expression – “if only the ground could open up and take me in” well my feet gave way thanks to the wall that held me in place from falling backwards. Standing right next to me, I crouched down so fast she didn’t even see me. When she finally saw me here words: “what are you doing down there, get up “…. My words…”no” 
Can I tell you how I was in tears, I bawled as I was embraced by Angélique Kpasseloko Hinto Hounsinou Kandjo Manta Zogbin Kidjo ! widely know as Angélique Kidjo
For A simple girl like me, this was worth it, the tears and the lack of speech, especially when I came to, all I could say to her was “ you are so small!!”  She asked me why I was crying and the women who previously had heard half my enthusiasm of meeting her, answered for me: “ she listens to your music daily, she loves your songs and the way you perform and… she is a singer too …they went on and on. 

Agelique Kidjo and Brina

All the excitement around was simply not penetrating my moment, my few minutes of attention from an artiste that I hold with such high esteem and pride. I held her and she held me back and I was captivated by her kindness. I could not stop beaming even behind the tears. I could not believe that I was actually soaking Angélique Kidjo’s scarf with my tears and probably creating too much heat with this long embrace. All I know was that I was extremely overwhelmed and I was more than happy for the chance to be so close to her. I wished there was more time to talk and I wish I hold a serious conversation about her journey as a female singer in this rough tough industry…. I remember instead what happened was the tour manager came around to try and get them back inside the “sacred room” and out of no where I broke out singing ….”God is truly amazing, God is truly amazing ….God is truly amazing….I got to meet Angelique Kidjo, thank you for your kindness…..” This was me singing praises to God for the moment ... then I could hear the roar of everyone applauding and that was when I realized what was taking place, I begun to gather myself, wipe the tears away and straighten up my clothes. I began to think what a hot mess I must look like singing with tears running down my face- here we go again another crying vocal exercise from Brina.

I look forward to meeting this fine musician again in the realm of music and sharing the very same stage.

Anqelique Kidjo, Brina & Dianne Reeves.
Lizz Wright, Brina and some new friends!

Thank you for taking time out to read this.
There is more to come.
Peace and Love