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Sep 5, 2012

What is the equation to transform craft for international appeal?

Professor Cooper also met with local artists and musicians in a workshop at the House of Culture. Central among the discussions are the topics of marketing and the content of Belizean music. While reggae and dancehall are popular across the world and have permeated local music scenes, Professor Cooper says that Belizeans must experiment with different genres but their styles need to remain authentically Belizean.  We asked Professor Cooper, what makes up the formula for locals to transform their craft for international appeal.


Professor Carolyn Cooper

“That is a big question you asking me and it is what we discussed in the workshop with the artists a few minutes ago.; and Berne, one of the most talented musicians in terms of marketing his stuff, really has the formula that you can carry your music out into the world and offer it. If people don’t want it, ask them to listen. He is doing some experimenting now with Soca and punta rock and all of that. I think the new music and the innovations that are going to grab people’s attention. So you have to create the music; you have to excel at it and you simply have to market it. There’s no getting around it. Jamaican music, Bob Marley in particular, became a global hit because of Chris Blackwell; a Jamaican entrepreneur who recognize that the music had potential. I was watching the 2012 Olympics and when I heard Millie Small, My Boy Lollipop, which was one of Blackwell’s biggest hit. I immediately emailed him and I said, ‘Chris, did you hear Millie Small?!?’ and he was so excited because you know so many years later, Jamaican music that he helped to pushed is given that kind of visibility.”


Andrea Polanco

Carolyn Cooper

“How is it you think that a Belizean artist for instance can go to Jamaica and take Punta music and have Jamaicans enjoy it?”


Professor Carolyn Cooper

“You would have to I think, get a promoter with a vision. A promoter who would say, this person is known in Jamaica but this person sounds good and I am putting them on a show; even if it is to open. I know sometimes people feel if you open a show; you get dissed, but let me tell you, Bob Marley & the Wailers opened for the Commodores and that was the end of the Commodores. In other words, being an opening act doesn’t mean you have a low status. You go on and show the people what you can do. I’ve been thinking that maybe the UWI can be an agent that can promote music across the region, where we can bring artists so that you know, it has to be a decision that some investor takes that this idea can listen to the music, not just Jamaica sending out music but listening having a genuine cultural exchange. I think that promotion maybe that can come out of the University of the West Indies which has long been an agent for intra-regional dialogue.”


Professor Cooper will be lecturing at the UB Jaguar Auditorium on the Central Campus in Belmopan on Thursday. The event which starts at nine-thirty a.m. is a part of Belize’s September Celebrations.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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2 Responses for “What is the equation to transform craft for international appeal?”

  1. Bear says:

    Music is an art and a spirit, a form of personal expression. A person can be taught how to play a given instrument, but I’m not sure it is effective to tell musicians what path they must pursue artistically. Play what you feel!

  2. henry says:

    I think Belize should create a Genre that would be authentically belizeaan and would be for all belizeans and not just a selected ethnic group who create it but something that all will enjoy as united and not singular.

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