FOR the second time, a Jamaican band has taken the Global Battle of the Bands title.
On Sunday night, Di Blue Print won the finals held at The Scala in London, beating 13 bands from various countries including England, Cyprus, Finland, Lebanon, Norway, The Bahamas, and Australia.
Speaking to the Jamaica Observer from London, local franchise holder, musician and trainer, Seretse Small was naturally excited about his second win in a row. Dubtonic Crew won last year.
“In my 30 years as a musician, this is the best band I’ve seen which has all the ingredients necessary to make it on the international market. However, what is most amazing is that they have developed this style and groove over a very short period. They have only been playing together for two years,” Small said.
He added that Di Blue Print was able to win over the judges for being the only band which played exactly what was required of them during the competition on Sunday.
“They are definitely one for the future. Everyone knew that Dubtonic is solid as a rock and were winners from the start, but this band was able to execute extremely well on the night. What they did was not merely play, but delivered a well-crafted set with real meaning composed of different musical elements.”
Each band is required to play eight minutes or less of original music. There is no computerisation or performance on tracks. The music had to be original, therefore no cover versions were accepted.
“The performance on Saturday was like a mini concert. The guys played two tracks which covered the reggae and dancehall genres with rock and R&B flavours mixed in. The music was also directed at the 18-to-35-year-old female demographic,” says Small.
Di Blue Print comprises drummer and band leader Kedron Kennedy, Vern Hill on keyboards, Alex Gallimore on bass and vocals, and Elton Brown on guitar and vocals.
Small explains that the road to the Global Battle of the Bands finals was not smooth for the quartet. In June, the original keyboard player Rameish Folkes died from Hepatitis complications. Then in October, the lead singer left the group. This was all compounded by delays and rescheduling of the competition.
Originally, the finals were scheduled for Romania in June. Financial upheavals in that country led to the event being pushed back. It was then decided that Romania was not in a position to host the finals and in September it was announced that it would take place in London.
Di Blue Print walked away with a cash prize and band development packages.