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Aug 21, 2012

Black Guayabera Tour goes to school

Black Guayabera is the unusual name for a concert that takes place next weekend in Belize City. It is being staged by Jenko Veli whose music has been capturing the essence of a decadent society. Veli’s message was inspired by the grim daily news which he has turned around to bring positive vibes to vulnerable youths. News Five’s Delahnie Bain caught up with him and his manager from Poconobwy Productions.

 

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

Belizean artist Jenko Veli left the country about twelve years ago after his band, Henchmob released a successful album, Underground Universal, 1999. Since then he has been with the bands 6 Deep and Broken Code in the US. But Jenko has brought his music back home; he found a manager in his friend and fan, Richard Lewis, which has led to the formation of Poconobwy Productions.

 

Richard Lewis

Richard Lewis, Jenko’s Manager, Poconobwy Productions

“This was all Jenko’s idea in the beginning; his life commitment and work inside the music industry and he decided that he wanted to come home and start from here where his roots are. So he came home and he started his thing and I happened to stop by one day and we were friends and I was also a big fan so you know I’m not only a manager, but I’m a big fan. Jenko and myself, we kinda got together and it just kinda grew from there.”

 

Jenko Veli, Artist, Poconobwy Productions

“I felt like it was time for me to come back home and push off my own solo vibes and this is what you di get right now, the Anthology Album which includes music from Henchmob, it includes music from 6 Deep, a Broken Code and brand new songs from myself.”

 

Jenko Veli

Jenko has been recording new songs at their small in-house studio, finding inspiration in the dismal state of society to create positive music.

 

Richard Lewis

“He kept working on his music and everyday we’d sit right inside this very room and watch the news and that’s where a lot of the material came from or just some little event we’re at and somebody mentioned something and then he gravitate to it and next thing I know, I’m in my bed and I hear him first in the morning having beats and doing his thing and I come out and he has a verse. So it grew verse by verse and everything. So if you listen to the words and message in the song and the lyrics to the songs, you can see that some of the events at the time just kinda fall into place.”

 

Poconobwy Productions soon partnered with the Global Parish sub-group Youth Voices and another popular local artist, Nello Player and launched a school tour to bring positive messages to young people through music and poetry they can relate to.

 

Jenko Veli

“The tour is called the Strong Youth Tour, which is backed by Global Parish and ourselves Poconobwy and we’ve been going to schools just performing positive music fi di kids dehn you know. A lot of stuff coming in through the media is pretty negative, hypersexual and so on and so what we did was just go into the schools dehn, perform fi di kids fi free wid just positive music, positive vibes; myself, Nello, backed by The Remaining Band. So far we’ve been to EP Yorke, we’ve been to Wesley College, ACC, St. Catherine and so far the response from the kids has been amazing.”

 

The main event, the Black Guayabera Club Tour, is coming up on September first; it’s going to be a grand concert at the B.T.L. Park with some of the top Belizean performers.

 

Jenko Veli

“The summer finally of the Strong Youth School Tour featuring myself, Nello Player, Denise Castillo, Jackie Castillo, Youth Voices and we’re being backed by the remaining. Definitely I have to give wah honorable mention to the host of the whole concert, Channel Five’s own William Neal wah deh eena di set. B.T.L. Park, September first, 2012; doors at five, Showtime at six, food and drinks on sale. Everybody come check we out; watch fi unnu Belizean artists do fi we thing weh we do.”

 

Nello Player

Nello Player, Artist, Strong Youth School Tour

“Super excited, I noh know if words could explain. I recently did some work abroad and just seeing the whole grind, seeing the push—you know the Belizean artists dehn abroad and den coming back home and you know want put dat into play right away and dis tour dah wah perfect way fi start ih off you know. Friday, August twenty-fifth we have SJC Junior College, I hype up bout dat, I sure Jenko likewise and you know di same night di song competition. So dah just wah amped up feeling fi get fi do music pan dis level yah home.”

 

According to Lewis and Jenko, this is their way of giving back to Belize and sending three important messages to the youth.

 

Jenko Veli

“That the life of each has value despite the increasing loss of life due violence and crime due to predators; we want show that the voice of local talent can counter the negative messages being imported through popular media such as hyper-sexualization, materialism, the objectification of women, promiscuity and machismo and number three, that the youth and the young artists have extraordinary talent and can participate in the cultural sector at a level comparable to any other international artist. We deh yah!”

 

Richard Lewis

“We worked hard and we wanna give back to Belize for sure cause this is our home and we both live in the US. This is our home and it’s very important that we do something instead of sitting back with the TV and watching the news.”

 

Nello Player

“Support 420 Promotions Productions, support Poconobwy Promotions Productions, look out Global Parish every time, Youth Voices; dehn youth di do wonderful things eena di country yoh know, spreading good messages and from young people. Dat dah di main thing; young people di talk to young people. Support Belizeans.”

 

The Strong Youth and Black Guayabera Tours won’t be the last you see of Poconobwy Productions, which intends to improve the quality of music coming out of Belize. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

 

Entrance fee for the concert is two dollars for kids and ten for adults. Jenko’s music is also available for download on soundcloud.com/jenkoveli.

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