Open letter to Prime Minister Skerrit and fellow music practitioners of Dominica

Henderson is a legend in the Cadence genre

Mr. Prime Minister and colleagues,

I wish to make it known that my open letter formula carries absolutely no animosity as is customary in such correspondence but rather, a method of bringing continuity to an open discussion hosted by you Mr. Prime Minister on your widely commented Anou Palay TV show on the subject of entertainment.

Talk of a possible entertainment industry in Dominica is a matter that is of extreme personal importance. It should be noted that two members of the three-man panel included the spokesperson and leader of the longest running Dominican band the Swinging Stars, a band which I once produced and released on my record label SAULTONE, and another the manager of T-K, a band which did its first ever recording at my studio as Triple-K.

I was not at all surprised when the question of what could government do in terms of policy regarding the development of entertainment, to which with all due respect to the panelists, nothing substantial was answered, simply because being an actor in the business does not necessarily mean being capable of launching an industry. Their competences are largely and duly recognized in other areas.

Mr. Prime Minister, surely with good intentions you suggested that a new meeting will be convened, and some organization should be created to represent the music practitioners. Respectfully, Sir, this approach will highly likely be as fruitless as the many previous others. Before saying why, please allow me to briefly introduce myself within the context which I humbly think allows me the legitimacy of speaking with a modicum of authority.

I am a Dominican citizen who left Dominica long before the Internet age at a time when almost throughout the Caribbean performing artists were looked down upon as uneducated social pariahs unable to do anything else. I had many other options. I, however, despite all odds, left Dominica alone with an objective. In little time I was able to invite fellow musicians from Dominica to:

1) Create in the Diaspora the band Exile One which in turn created also in the Diaspora a genre called Cadence-Lypso.

2) Cadence-Lypso revolutionized the music of the region and beyond and attracted hundreds of young Dominicans to build careers. Among them are the late Jeff Joseph, Ophelia, the Midnight Groovers and many more…

3) I created a “real record company” with offices, staff, industry infrastructure engaged in research and development, production, marketing, promotion and distribution with a catalogue of artists from Guyana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion Island and from Dominica:

Ophelia, Swinging Stars, Julie Mourillon and Fitzroy Williams all with varying levels of success around the world. The music is to this day, in some cases, still distributed around the world.

4) The artists were all introduced to the most lucrative aspect of the MUSIC INDUSTRY which is copyright and they all adhered and made reasonable earnings that can be proven except the Swinging Stars which has always been a group which approached music from a “hobby” perspective and not as full-time professionals. Noticeably, that topic was routinely ignored on the said ANOU PALAY show.

5) I have worked on practically every continent on stage, on radio and television. A few episodes of my “Feel The World Beat” TV show which was broadcast on selected PBS stations in the USA can be viewed on You Tube.

6) Many of my compositions have been adapted into other languages from the original Creole and have sold millions, the best example is Jamais voir ça with the Portuguese version Quero Voce selling over 3.5 million copies in Brazil. (at least 11 versions available on YouTube).

7) When the World Creole Music Festival was being planned, I volunteered my services for free and was named International Coordinator by which I was able to guarantee the involvement of radio and TV mainly from Guadeloupe, Martinique and New York resulting in an immediate launching of the event in the region.

8) I invested personal funds at the time in entertainment because I passionately believed that the WCMF could have become the headquarters of the Creole music niche market. This investment included a recording studio which revived the Midnight Groovers band, which was inactive for many years, it gave birth to the first recording of Triple-K and many more. A CD replication plant which facilitated every local band including the Swinging Stars, a live
performance venue and most of all a radio station that was launched as being music oriented.

9) My track record proudly demonstrates that all of my endeavors in this industry have for the past 50 years resisted the test of time in so much that had it not been for COVID-19, I would have been operating an aborted 50th anniversary world tour with my colleagues of Exile One.

Mr. Prime Minister and colleagues, I shall now explain why speaking to any organization can only be another sterile move.

Of course, one or many organizations are necessary but if we (the government, the people and the music practitioners) are serious about any viable entertainment industry in Dominica, I strongly suggest to the government that placing money at the Aid Bank at low interest loans can probably assist but cannot launch any industry.

Dear PM and colleagues if you have any faith and understanding in how this industry works, you will agree that we have been making two major errors:

1) The structure required to launch the industry has never been considered.

2) Insufficient funds.

Entertainment is vast so I refer here to only music. Today, Dominica is the leader of a particular music product of which only few seem to have the slightest idea. Even those involved.

It is not too late to stamp our world presence with credible references and start reaping benefits in little time.

Mr. Prime Minister and colleagues, I can put together a small group of Dominican and foreign professionals (since we need the gate keepers) to set up a powerful professional business entity that will provide employment, return on investment, and much to the tourism sector.

Government has made numerous promises of injecting money into the industry. We recognize grants to individuals on the local level. This, however, is the opportunity, for reasonable sums based on existing industry data capable of carving a share in this competitive market in a transparent manner and give Dominica its rightful place.

Yes, I have fifty years’ experience, but the Presidents of both Dominica and the USA are older than me, lol… truly…

Sincerely,

Gordon HENDERSON

Disclaimer: The comments on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of DominicaNewsOnline.com/Duravision Inc. All comments are approved by DominicaNewsOnline.com before they are posted. We never censor based on political or ideological points of view, but we do try to maintain a sensible balance between free speech and responsible moderating.

We will delete comments that:

  • violate or infringe the rights of any person, are defamatory or harassing or include personal attacks
  • a reasonable person would consider abusive or profane
  • contain material which violates or encourages others to violate any applicable law
  • promote hatred of any kind
  • refer to people arrested or charged with a crime as though they had been found guilty
  • contain links to "chain letters", pornographic or obscene movies or graphic images
  • are excessively long and off-topic

See our full comment/user policy/agreement.

21 Comments

  1. UK
    November 19, 2020

    The man for the JOB is Chester wilkins

  2. RastarMarn
    November 18, 2020

    BossMan no disrespect but all dis open letter bizniss dere self is waist of energy wi,,,

    Why don’t you do a formal Business Plan to bring the Numbers to the Table to show Potential Venture Capitalist what exactly it the profitability on their return of investment, and leave Skerrit dem under the Rock dey living and will never get out from under,,,

    Just do a business plan nuh if your idea will be so fruitful just bring the numbers, even more so bring it to your Pal Rep and let him take it to the House of Assembly for presentation as a Project of National Interest to involve Communities and the nation on a whole,,,

    Simple wi, if like you said you did it before so you would know where all the pitfalls are and all the mistakes that doesn’t need to be repeated,,,

    But Den again Dion doh have some High-Post nuh in some regional office dealing wiff cultural affairs, how come allyou doh collaborate on someting,,,

  3. Dorian Shillingford
    November 18, 2020

    Am I the only one feeling that we have regressed from Gordon Henderson, Jeff Joseph, and the other bands of that time? Is it just my age?
    My view is that we should do the simple. Teach music very strongly in primary and high school. Get many kids learning and playing instruments and learning to sing. Hold school music competitions. Then as a society, hold more village or parish festivals that include music. This thing grows from bottom up. Soon our talent and genre will shine again regionally and the returns will flow from there. No amount of top-down money is going to fix this.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
    • Teach in the Schools
      November 20, 2020

      I couldn’t agree more. Top-down money is not going to work. We have many well established musicians, who “no offense” haven’t really made the impact we would hope. That’s Ok. They have done the best they can, but now we need fresh young talent.

      We need to have a STRONG music program in the schools from primary school all the way up. Let the high schools have a “school band” and perhaps each high school’s band could compete once a year in a music competition.

      Once we get the children involved and start training them from young…the industry will flourish.

  4. Gordon We Know
    November 18, 2020

    Mr. Gordon, I respect you as a Dominican musician and one who definitely knows about the music industry and how it works. You’ve placed our beloved country on the international stage. However, I don’t see the point in highlighting your many accolades. We know you are fit to talk on ANY matter relating to the music industry. Therefore, I believe your article should have concentrated more on the question posed by the PM to the panelists which you claimed was not answered by the panelists. I totally agree with you that more funds should be pumped into the music industry by the Government. Would have liked to read more recommendations from you and less of your achievements Sir.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  5. Pipo
    November 18, 2020

    Gordon, I do not dismiss your achievements, far from it but self promotion does not address the P.M.’s point. I think it would be better to highlight that success in the entertainment business does not come from government investment but from private input, drive and talent. We have been pushing that bouillon soup music for so long now for example and without any real success on the world stage. If it were that popular the artists would be contributing to to the treasury instead of depending on government help. I definitely would say yes to government supporting music education, put it on our schools curriculum, but supporting a particular band with tax payers money, no. These artists have to make it themselves under their own steam, if they have any puff!l

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2
  6. click here
    November 18, 2020

    I was not at all surprised when the question of what could government do in terms of policy regarding the development of entertainment, to which with all due respect to the panelists, nothing substantial was answered, simply because being an actor in the business does not necessarily mean being capable of launching an industry. Their competences are largely and duly recognized in other areas”

    And that is what i cannot get through to many of us here. Because you are a band leader, doesnt make you qualified to be a front runner in the industry. Just play your instrument and sing your song. What do we understand about the industry here? I would more have the team from Viva La Canaval and other event promoters and venue operators who execute fabulous entertainment events there. Yes the TK’s and the swinging stars and the other bands and dj’s play a part in entertainment, but their knowhow/ imagination is limited when i have spoken to a few. All dominicans know now is jam jam jam.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3
  7. Nous Meme
    November 18, 2020

    ou are such a hater ……….. Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out.

    A son of the soil, Gordon Henderson, has done for DOMINICA what Toots and the Maytals and Bob Marley has done for Jamaica. Regardless of your baseless, bias and immature opinion, you do not have the right to insult someone of that stature and experience.

    What contributions have YOU done for Dominica and musicians? I support my artists and has refused to buy any bootleg cds etc,

    May I suggest that you buy and read the book Zook Land? It is quite a remarkable read on a journey that begun with baby steps.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3
  8. Nous Meme
    November 18, 2020

    You are such a hater and dunce. Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out.

    A son of the soil, Gordon Henderson, has done for DOMINICA what Toots and the Maytals and Bob Marley has done for Jamaica. Regardless of your baseless, bias and immature opinion, you do not have the right to insult someone of that stature and experience.

    What contributions have YOU done for Dominica and musicians? I support my artists and has refused to buy any bootleg cds etc,

    May I suggest that you buy and read the book Zook Land? It is quite a remarkable read on a journey that begun with baby steps.

  9. Smith
    November 17, 2020

    I am a great fan of Mr. Henderson but this time i do not understand the purpose of his open letter, reading it i now understand the meaning of the word “selfish”. Almost everything he said was about himself. What a shame.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4
    • November 18, 2020

      @Smith, I started reading the article, but right after he said about that the meeting planed by the Prime Minister: “this approach will highly likely be as fruitless as the many previous others” and he started with the Me, Myself, and I, with all of those numbering, I changed my mind, you see. For some reasons any composition with a whole set of numbering turns me off before I get bored to death.

      Mr. Henderson Sir, I hope that PM Skerrit will think that your letter is worthwhile and he will lend you and ear

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9
  10. FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY
    November 17, 2020

    A good scene-setter qualifying your music pedigree, including having developed a good and well-cultured music industry knowledge and being knowledgeable about the Music industry as a whole, not just your area of expertise. It is with such an authority that you’re rightfully sharing an opinion on a framework that would best suit the Music industry sector in Dominica.

    Healing the symptoms of no results recurring themes, as in the two major errors highlighted, speaks to multiple sins. When you are procuring over a period of time, a framework can deliver many benefits, such as:
    • reduced transaction costs.
    • continuous improvement within long-term
    relationships, and
    • better value and greater community wealth

  11. Ghost Writer
    November 17, 2020

    how long did it take you to concoct such rubbish? :-|

  12. iprotest
    November 17, 2020

    mr nassieff wrote an open letter to Mr wiltshire
    twice!!!!
    what gives boss

  13. dissident
    November 17, 2020

    Skerrit carefully picks his guests for a discussion on entertainment eh!
    And NONE OF DEM had a response to what government can do to improve de industry……like cat tek their tongue.
    All of a sudden entertainers moomoo about de future of de industry with government focus of attention. Obviously this is not a serious discussion
    this is a distraction

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4
  14. Jennifer Baron
    November 17, 2020

    Well you clearly dislike the messenger old pal so you ignore the message.

  15. James Vidal
    November 17, 2020

    You are more interested in the achievements and totally missed when he mentioned that an existing organisation has met on numerous occassions, plus organisations have roles that are different from launching industry.

  16. Laura
    November 17, 2020

    This is a nice summary of the author’s achievements in music but does not really offer a reason why an organization to represent artistes is not a good idea, as teased.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 6
    • James Vidal
      November 17, 2020

      You are more interested in the achievements and totally missed when he mentioned that an existing organisation has met on numerous occassions, plus organisations have roles that are different from launching industry.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
    • Curtis Stoute
      November 17, 2020

      You clearly read only one part.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
  17. Nkrumah Kwame
    November 17, 2020

    Could not have put it better, so I say no more!
    HOTEP!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 13

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

:) :-D :wink: :( 8-O :lol: :-| :cry: 8) :-? :-P :-x :?: :oops: :twisted: :mrgreen: more »

 characters available