Thursday, 26 June 2014

ALIYAH'S EYES~ Poem for my Granddaughter- Jaz McKenzie


The birth of every baby is special, especially when you have waited the best part of 9 months for the child's arrival. Fortunately Aliyah was born only 3 days late and allowed home after a couple of nights. She is now gaining weight and doing very well, Aliyah is more-or-less the perfect baby and sleeps through the night if left! Not good for one so young however she will settle straight to sleep having been awakened for her night feeds.  I was very surprised by the way Aliyah looks directly into people's eyes with a curious stare, from the day she was born, and by the very peaceful, contented aura that surrounds her the majority of the time. Although it may sound strange she seems to be quite perceptive and tuned in- no I'm not just being fanciful! 

I think we are in for an interesting journey in the coming years and with a new life being a new start it is a great time for thanks and praise! 


Aliyah’s Eyes

Dedicated to my Granddaughter Aliyah Summer born 18th June 2014

Through cries of pain Aliyah was born
Headfirst into still warm water
Entering this world with a whoosh.
Thanks and praise for the safe arrival of
My first Granddaughter!

Face, the spitting image of Daddy
But with eyes of blue- almost grey
So we wonder, will they switch or stay?
Your Mother’s eyes change colour
A hundred times a day
Their intensity a reflection of her inner self

When they jabbed you in the heel Aliyah,
That first ever injection, vitamin K
You cried, then calmed
Staring hard into my eyes as if to say
Not, why? Rather I understand it has to be this way

You look so hard into peoples’ faces
Focused, not the usual hazy eyes of a newborn
And I can see intelligence awaiting
The emergence of your thinking mind
Whilst sub-consciously you adapt to new territory

Every little sound makes you jump-
Clanking and bangings of the hospital ward
Noise no longer absorbed in the bed of amniotic fluid
Cushioning you from every type of blow
Instead, reality, a direct assault on delicate ears

Peaceful baby, exuding an aura of your own
A sense of well-being surrounds you
I guess all is good in your world
For these are the perfect moments
Of wonderment and awe

Right now we are at the beginning
You have made it thus far with years ahead
A beautiful baby the most precious gift
Born a dependent, freedom within your grasp...
So with every tick of the clock I send you this blessing:

Aliyah, may your life be rich
Rich as the heat of a perfect summer
Filled with joy, peace and love
Be strong, wise and just
And may your gratitude know no bounds

Jaz McKenzie © 26/06/14


Sunday, 22 June 2014

The Hollies - He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother~~IB~ Twinning this song with the Journey To Justice Campaign.



This popular song speaks clearly as to how we should approach those in need within our society. No-one should be seen as a burden; instead we should do what we can to help those who need our help to improve their situation.
Share the love- It's a Long Long Road so join Journey To Justice and find out how you can help.
Don't worry about dirtying your hands~ Worry about purifying your heart.

Jaz McKenzie~You Know ITS BRAAP!

~IB~ Baby-Journey To Justice-Thoughts following the launch.


Getting up this morning I feel compelled to write something about the Journey To Justice launch which took place last night. This is not a review – I am still thinking about ways of reviewing this outstanding event, more a way of summarizing my thoughts resulting from such a thought provoking evening- also in the hope that you will start to seriously consider how you stand in relation to social justice and self justice- are you making the most of your life or held captive in one or more areas of your life?

The Queen without her wealth! Fuel poverty 

Question: Do you really understand the power and effect a group can have over that of an individual?
If you were to say that actually individuals have a huge effect you will soon realise that they generally do not stand alone. The charisma of a powerful speaker is guaranteed to create a following and it is the power of the mass that forces change. Look at any powerful leader from Jesus to Hitler or Martin Luther King, they are leaders because they have followers who latch on to their ideas, provide physical support and use the power of prayer/thought to instigate change. They will contribute ideas and eventually create full blown campaigns which can result in terrorism and war.

Kakenya Ntaiya's story I have blogged this before because it is an unbelievable story of one young girl's wisdom and courage which led to change. Kakenya provides us with an individual's considered approach to peaceful campaigning. Kakenya negotiated within her very powerful tribe of proud African warrior,s giving up her human right and accepting female genital mutilation in exchange for an education. Her continued campaigning opened the doors providing education for all girls in her community. If Kakenya can do this, what can we achieve collectively?

The same charisma and power is often generated by pop stars and this is not to be taken lightly. Pop stars influence entire generations so let’s remember Michael Jackson with respect and a humble attitude letting go of any judgemental thoughts. A man who brought us ‘Heal the world,’ and ‘The man in the mirror’ clearly had the deepest understanding of humanity and the fundamentals necessary to provoke change- and I chose to use ‘provoke’ because change does not occur without a good prod!

All leaders come from the same place, whether it’s for good or bad, and that is a place of passion. Passion is not an emotion, it is an overwhelming need that drives us to action and with passion you have a far greater likelihood of success. The passion emanating from all of the acts last night, including the film clips, sealed its success. When you walk away with any form of renewal- whether it’s joy from witnessing the grace of a ballerina,  some new creative business ideas following a seminar or an almighty challenge- having lived and breathed the Journey To Justice event for a few hours, you know that this experience is part of your personal journey~ If you’re wondering how joy fits in, it’s infectious and helps us share good vibrations.

How to enjoy life with very little

I will be blogging different segments of the launch, Campaign led by Carrie Supply (Director) and Mark Hutchinson (Chair.) I felt the diversity of the programme alone was somehow backing the diversity of social justice issues. We were touched by singing, dance, poetry, history and even short films. Campaigner for women’s and girl’s rights, Leyla Hussein, delivered a very poignant ten minutes as key speaker outlining the effects of female circumcision and the need to safeguard children within the school system. I was privileged to sit beside Leyla for the evening and can say that her power and determination clearly come from within- ~IB~ will definitely be bringing you the Braap on Leyla and her campaign at some point in the near future.  

To discover other celebrities, individuals and groups who contributed to this launch, held at the Conway Hall look up:  Journey To Justice Launch and check out the Journey To Justice Website. Incidently, the original £10 has risen to over £5000.  Donate & Keep up to date!!
A worldwide problem

I believe that there is a real need to take this campaign round the country and educate people about the level of social injustice within society today. It’s a growing problem as more things come to light and no-one can plead ignorance however, knowledge and an official platform give us the framework within which we can help as individuals. Very often the reason people do nothing more than throw into the charity pot is simply because they do not know of any other options than giving money, signing petitions and assisting in charity shops. This has been a monumental failing which is nobody’s fault, but Journey To Justice has picked up the gauntlet and created a window, or door that we can step through, Initially contributing money to fundraising is important to establish the road show but later we will all be able to be involved, making suggestions from which solid actions will spring. 

Right now and highly appropriately the radio is playing The Hollies, ‘He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.’ That tells me it’s the best time to finish- I’ll post the song and it can start the ~IB~ Songs vibrating sentiments supporting the J To J Campaign! Do listen to remind yourself that we live in a worldwide family full of brothers and sisters who NEED YOUR HELP.

 Please check out my poem-I've been told it's very moving- Journey To Justice Poem by Jaz McKenzie


Jaz McKenzie

CHALLENGE: If you would like to write an original poem for J TO J contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Journey To Justice ~A poem by Jaz McKenzie



This coming Saturday sees the launch of brand new UK campaign, 'Journey To Justice.' For full information and additional links click here: Journey to Justice Launch

I believe that this campaign has the potential to make a huge impact upon the lives of many, many people worldwide provided we, as individuals, are prepared to get behind it and show support in as many ways as possible. Social injustice is a huge global problem and because of culture and tradition many people are trapped within different life situations which have resulted from social inequality. Women's rights alone is still a huge issue, child abuse has become very high profile- particularly sexual abuse, and because of Muslim extremists ordinary everyday Muslims have found themselves victimized; it is also worth mentioning that many elderly people are afraid to step outside their front doors for fear of being attacked. I decided to use the power of words in a very direct way to help put this message across clearly.


JOURNEY TO JUSTICE

We all walk the long road to justice from the womb to the grave
But you may not think so!
What is justice- retribution through the penal system to right a wrong?
I would say emphatically, NO!
True justice is the space between parallel bars where the gymnast swings
Bars of equality and freedom
With the pathway of love unwinding ahead
Step by step by step
So you can walk tall, walk proud and hold high your head.
 
Cesar Chavez
Justice is the goal of freedom fighters seeking social change
An end to all slavery
Rife in modern cities, immigrants imprisoned in grand homes
Discrimination plain to see
Embedded throughout the strata’s of society
Inequality reigns
Government refusing to set its people free
Bedroom tax
Keeping the poor entrapped within their bounds of poverty
 
Rev Jesse Jackson
Knowledge and understanding will move mountains
United we stand
Awareness of our individual power and ability to change
Is in your hands
Our forefathers have beaten a path out in the fields
With sweat and blood
Time to pick up the baton and pick up the pace
In the name of love
Let justice flow so peace and equality can follow

There is an I in Justice and also a U!
Together we can make a difference
Together we can turn grey skies blue
The future is bright when we unite
Join the Journey To Justice
And speak for those who have no voice.

Jaz McKenzie © 2014

If you would like your poetry shared contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk





Monday, 16 June 2014

Ashanti Lounge Live~ Read on & don't miss it this Thursday!


Right now, Ashanti Lounge Live has to be London’s best kept secret- once the word gets out they’ll be queuing all the way to Clapham Junction Station! ~IB~ is giving you an account of the last Ashanti Lounge Live event, showcasing Urban Delight Entertainment artists which created a major BUZZZZZ to entice you along this Thursday, 19th June!!!

Each act was outstanding, in all honesty I found it impossible to pick a favourite- a pretty unusual situation. This is partly to do with the sense of community amongst every member of the Urban Delight Family. Obviously the artists are the focal point of the evening however everyone is appreciated as Macky McPherson, founder of Urban Delight Entertainment, explains within his business ethos. Everyone is encouraged to be themselves and this holistic approach has succeeded in creating an atmosphere of fun with a musical focus, resulting in high energy natural vibes.

ZEENA BANKS~ The Warrior Goddess!
Mark ‘Melody’ Matthews opened for us with some brilliant sax, quite unexpected, and being slick with his patter, popped, ’a lady beginning with L, (Lorraine)’ on a stool and crooned, ‘You are so Beautiful’ to her.  Being a versatile artist, Mark included Garage and Jazz-Funk in his repertoirewhich along with his sense of humour revealed a gifted natural entertainer who had the audience’s attention from his first to last note.
Speaking of versatility, Compere for the evening, ‘ Tubby Boy,’  pretty much blew us away with his version of American style old school rap… ‘Can I Kick it?’~ yes Tubby Boy you definitely can- having given the audience the required responses  pre- rap! That type of interaction definitely gets the crowd going and steps up the pace. I heard Tubby Boy described recently as the UK’s answer to Flava Flav, so now you know where to come for the best in rap!


Beat box artists Nahum Effick was out to educate us all and clearly knows his music. By doing so, Nahum took Beat Box to a new level, performing different styles from the little understood Grime to Garage & even Drum & Bass- you need to come along and hear this for yourself to understand the impact. Nahum knows how to throw sound and entertained us with a quick visit to a nightclub within his routine- highly effective.
Dancehall artists Shisco BoB, 13K and Zeena Banks all performed with raw energy and delivered en-point individually and as a collective, with Zeena so caught up in the vibes she jumped into Shishco Bob’s set. Amidst the classic dancehall subjects were some very real and current lyrics, especially the final accapello from 13K, ‘For my People,’ which addressed the cry for social justice.

Layla Echa (Echa Elle) was joined by Nahum to work the final set for the night. Have you ever heard an entire set based entirely on vocalist/beat box? Layla and Nahum delivered around 5 songs each with their own flavour and held the audience spell bound. Layla is an experienced artist who is blessed with a very distinctive voice, light whilst being rich in tone and quality. Once Layla switches it on you will be captivated and the chemistry between Layla and Nahum simply flowed creating great ease of delivery.
It is fair to say that the chemistry within Urban Delight Entertainment is pretty extraordinary by today’s standards ~ no wonder promoters were quick to book these talented artists to perform in Africa this autumn!

Jaz McKenzie

~IB~ are interested in covering interesting projects & events. Contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Have Questions~Have Answers #19- How far should we push ourselves?


In the past few years I have come across people who seem to work pretty much 24/7. Is this good? Is this what it takes to be successful? Should we be following this example?

Of course the answer is very individual and 4 hours sleep actually suits some people- Will-i-am being a case in point; eternally busy he doesn't believe in wasting time. But what constitutes a waste of time? Supposing you crash out on the sofa and watch TV for a few hours- is this a waste of time?

The answer is that we choose how to use our time and provided we make an effort to choose we are not wasting it. If we have no idea what to do and lack drive then it's fair to say that day after day is wasted, unless the mind or body are in need of rest for some morbid reason such as depression and genuinely need space to chill out and recover. There are also times when we have seriously over-stretched ourselves and wind up with tired eyes, low energy and a seemingly dysfunctional brain- errrr what was I saying?

The answer is to work smarter rather than harder. When we have energy we give it our all; when we are given an opportunity we grasp it. We must also allow our minds time to be still and think, mull over the current state of affairs and generate some new ideas. Obviously there will be times when it's all go but once things calm down, make use of the time to relax and prepare ready for the next round.

If 'push' refers to a challenge there will be times in life when we are ready to accept the challenge and times when the idea is too daunting. You are the only person who knows how you truly feel and when something is right for you. Sportsmen live for challenges and thrive on breaking existing records- maybe we can take this approach and set ourselves realistic challenges of a different nature. To be consistent in something may well be a challenge but we should not have unrealistic expectations and expect a robotic performance! Consistency could be 6 days out of 7 which is still a good achievement.

Wize-Dome living life normally between Crisis'
When it comes to pushing beyond our limits I hold up my friend Philip, AKA Wize-Dome The Lyricist, as an amazing example of strength and endurance. Phillip has Sickle Cell Anemia and is in chronic pain pretty much constantly. Despite frequently going into crisis and being admitted to hospital, Phillip spends most of his time with his family and teaching his children how to make the best of life. In addition, he shares his experiences on Facebook without complaining and also shares his incredible garden. Phillip has green fingers and grows fruit and veg that look perfect to my eyes. On top of this he has written inspiring poetry hence the lyricist. 
Perfect cabbages!!!
We will interview Phillip shortly to share more about this terrible disease, his personal experiences and how he finds the courage to be positive and mentally push on through. Wize-Dome The Lyricist Facebook

Unlike Phillip, most of us can't begin to be classed as super-heroes and need to operate within the limitations of our bodies and minds. That does not me that we should be happy as we are, it means that striving to achieve more is a necessary process for human growth however when we over-do things sometimes we set ourselves back rather than assisting the process. Being realistic is the best option. If it's night time and you are tired, try getting up just a little earlier rather than struggling and you will probably manage to get through far more. This is called compromise and provided we achieve the desired steps at each stage of the journey we will reach our goals.

Jaz McKenzie
If you would like to write or share anything with us contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk
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Saturday, 14 June 2014

Get speaking with UK Principal on Buffaloo Radio Tomorrow night!~ Read ON...

Let's get Buffaloo Radio firmly in your listening ears!!!!  DJ Freestyle will be giving you the opportunity to speak with UK Principal and see where his career is leading him. UK Principal has a new album out and is making his own waves on the music scene- but what type of music? How did he get into music? Where does opera feature on his agenda? What's the Principal about- is he a head teacher in life or a big name in the UK? Pick up that phone and get dialling between 8-10pm tomorrow night and maybe UK Principal will reward his favourite question with a complimentary copy of his album- try asking LOL!

Speaking of freebies, Buffaloo Radio is offering a prize so tune in tomorrow and give your answers LIVE ON AIR!!

Quiz Question
Where did U K Principal last performe live in Europe?

Answer this question to win two tickets to the 4th of July Celebration show presented by Ma'ad Club::
Ma’ad Club @ Ivory Arch 
80 Walworth Road
Elephant & Castle
London SE1 6SW 
Doors: 8pm – 12 Midnight! 

Featuring
Black Elvis, Jay Bigby (Barry White Tribute)
70’s Legend Jesse Green! Great Party!


Time to shake you awake and remove the general apathy that seems to affect so many of us in the current ME environment. Time to care and share in support of one another so here's a reminder- Buffaloo Radio is a station that plays your music in exchange for SUPPORT- not your hard earned cash- and is a legalized internet station so you will be paid your PRS. Every reason to for artists to link up and tune in! 

Every oak tree started as an acorn so show support for the people who genuinely support you. Buffaloo Radio has a weekly show, 'UK Lick' hosted by ANDREW SLOLEY who is an excellent performer who brings his songs to life on the stage- if you love Lover's Rock Andrew's your man, so check out his music and get sharing!

Speaking of sharing, I would appreciate more support for the Its Braap so please share your favourite articles on all social networks & join our page:Its Braap Facebook Page and group Facebook Group

Jaz McKenzie~ Supporting Buffaloo Radio because Its Braap!


Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Emeterians - Woman



Yesterday ~IB~ reviewed the Emeterians latest album, 'Power Of Unity' which is an extremely rich roots Reggae album. To give you a taster we are sharing this song from 2010 which is typically expressive and a reggae anthem for women who appreciate their womanhood! Check the blog to read the review: Power of Unity Review

http://itsbraap.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/emeterians-power-of-unity-album-review.html
There are times when we look at life and decide to revise our standards and strengthen accordingly. This move can be very necessary to allow us the freedom to live our lives and is clearly expressed as you listen to this song.

The Emeterians are an established band who have toured a great deal and we are excited that they will be joining the Urban Delight Entertainment artists for their tour of Ghana this October. What a privilege to be able to hear these talented musicians first hand.

Jaz McKenzie

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

EMETERIANS ~ 'POWER OF UNITY' - Album Review






REGGAE LOVERS~ Have you come across the Emeterians?
If not, actively seek them out to experience a band that is genuinely on a level with the Reggae greats. Listen to their new album, ‘Power of Unity’ and you will instantly agree as traditional roots reggae vibes flow into your aura, especially ‘Lesson Fe Learn,’ which has a really cool Third World 96 degree feel to it-  specifically because of their use of the minor key.

The Emeterians are clearly very spiritual people who have a high regard for humanity, noticeable as it flows throughout the album. They're a group of 3 who are clearly connected with each other and live a lifestyle based on Rastafarian values; reflected in their song choices. Traditional topics such as love and unity are covered in a clear cut way through straight forward lyrics which project a clear, direct message making them 'easy on the ear' enabling you to focus on the instrumentals.  Check out these lyrics from ‘Not Always Easy’ - chances are that you will instantly relate to the sentiment! In fact, you can study all the song lyrics in the booklet provided-

‘Life is not always easy
Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose
Oh I say, Life is not always easy
Sometimes it plays you cool
Sometimes it plays you for a fool’

The timbres of the Emeterian’s voices are beautiful, particularly Mary Jane who has a distinctly soulful sound suited to different musical styles.  As I was contemplating the possibility of a more commercial cross over sound, (not suggesting it) ‘Send Me Some Love,’ started playing and for a minute I wondered if we had swapped genres! This track almost has a Marvin Gaye or Boys To Men type of flavour for the duration of the first few bars however up-beat reggae notes quickly commenced, revealing the intro to be an interesting interlude which succeeded in adding a little variation to the Roots Reggae  package.

'Too Many Weapons' touches on a subject that is permanently current, sadly, speaking about weapons in the neighbourhood and the world, creating a powerful opening to the album with the subsequent track 'Judging Not,' clearly spelling out the value of individualism and the right to own your opinion whilst refraining from judging others. In some ways the challenging lyrics have led this to becoming a favourite of mine and I definitely appreciate the classic musical patterns and use of a traditional horn section which features throughout the album. Must mention that the collaborations with different artists such as Aurora Garcia, Astrid Jones and Ras Kuko add to the high quality achieved throughout.

Howard Powell
I really enjoy listening to this album and was doing so in the presence of Howard Powell (international cricketer, currently playing for Dartford, UK) who was very impressed and said:

 ‘This band is so good Jaz I’ll have to take their music back to Jamaica!’

I’ll second that and in fact it needs to go universal as the potential of the Emeterians is huge.

In conclusion, with 15 quality tracks on offer this album is excellent value for money and provides many hours of pleasurable listening backed up with positive messages- ~IB~ recommendation: Buy your own copy~ Support great Reggae music.


Jaz McKenzie

We review different musical genres on ~IB~ and welcome your comments. For more info contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk





Thursday, 5 June 2014

Avicii - Wake Me Up (Official Video)- FOCUS: Living your life.



Just love this song & particularly these lyrics. So often people are lost and simply don't have a clue. It's very easy to drift through life, be easily influenced and slip into an 'alternative lifestyle.' This does not necessarily mean a bad lifestyle, it could mean you are following a different course to your ideal path. Sometimes we become over-whelmed with the pressure of life and can retreat from it, losing ourselves in the process. That is when we need to wake up and smell the coffee as they say- sometimes it takes a pretty big 'something' to jolt us back into reality.

Many women become lost in their role of 'mother' and men as 'provider.' Not being sexist here, rather, stating the obvious! If you haven't experienced this you are strong and have maintained your identity.Some people's ultimate desire and joy is to parent 100% or to provide which is brilliant and the correct choice for them.

To prevent becoming lost do what makes you happy- but don't fool yourself and make excuses for aspects of your life. True happiness can only emerge once we are honest with ourselves, acknowledge the wrong and focus on the great. Happy Times Ahead~Jaz McKenzie

Beauty Inspires~ How to float your boat on a bad day!



Living in the city aint so pretty- LOL. Actually, here in London there are so many beautiful parks and outside spaces that we are pretty much spoilt for choice; but little can really compare with scenery like this.

Beauty is inspirational. If not, we wouldn't require models in the fashion industry to influence the masses. But there are times when we really need to draw on beauty as a form of internal refreshment. This picture captures different elements: water, wood, lush greenery, all of which generate a natural, peaceful vibe. It is the colours and vibrations which speak to the inner you, often having a calming effect enabling us to restore our minds- think of the 23rd Psalm, 'He maketh me lie down by quiet waters and restoreth my soul.' 

If you are unable to find time to seek out a beauty spot try using visualisation to help you reach inner calm. Transferring a scene to memory is good practice and can be used when meditating or as a brief escape on those occasions when we feel overwhelmed. Imagine walking along the planks in the picture and feeling them beneath your feet. How does the water sound? Notice the prominent smells? Think of things that might enter the scene to bring a new dimension to it. Simply using our imagination takes us away from the present thus creating space in which we are able to mentally re-group and face the same situation refreshed.

Allowing your mind to wander enables greater creativity of thought as the mind can work exceptionally well when we are not restricting it. How often do we awaken with great ideas- sometimes at three in the morning, maybe a gem of an idea or a poem  that we urgently need to record before it slips away? 

Cultivating appreciation of our surroundings can only add to our appreciation of life. It is definitely a positive practice and something worth making time for in the hustle and bustle of daily living.

Jaz McKenzie

If you would like to write a short article for ~IB~ contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk