Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Holiday Break!

A quick thanks to all Its Braap readers & we will be taking a break for approximately 2 weeks due to vacation. Stay blessed & be back shortly!! ~ Jaz

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Give Thanks~Feel Joyful WK36- Thanks for great Mental Health!

We all are in a state of mental health but are we mentally healthy? Thankfully, from a personal perspective, I seem to have departed from years of predominantly depressive over & undertones to generally being very upbeat. When things do upset me I have managed to nip my feelings in the bud by refusing them too much headroom. This is not an easy practice and something I have been practising regularly for the last few years. We cannot eliminate our feelings and need them to some extent, so the best thing is to acknowledge them all- anxiety, anger or betrayal; in fact, we need to look at the causes of these feelings and see if there are any possible actions we can take to improve the situation. In addition to the things we can do, one important action could be the decision to do nothing and this should be employed when a situation that affects you directly is beyond your control. Suppose you dislike tattoos and your teenager comes home with a nightmare of a tattoo? The way you react depends upon your emotional state. If you are a confident person you would probably acknowledge that there is nothing you can do about the situation however you are free to have your say. Sometimes the less emotion you show, the better- when verbal fireworks are set off everyone feels bad except the teenager who may be left in their element!

I have heard that it was recently National Suicide Prevention week in America. A very serious matter and whereas some of us have felt suicidal at times most of us do not follow through. Suicidal feelings often result from a sense of powerlessness regardless of the situation that led to those feelings. A suicidal person is focused on everything that they view as bad in their lives to the point whereby they do not wish to continue. A great mental people suffer with recognised mental conditions which may benefit from treatment, but even more of us go through dark periods.The problem is, when you feel bad and allow bad feelings to grow they turn into despair. Usually people who become trapped these feelings have low self-esteem and may not even see the point of trying ways to lift their spirit. Depression really can take over if it is given free reign. At this point in my life I can understand the chain reaction- cause and effect, however was not familiar with it back then. The knowledge that we really are in control of our minds and can train them is fairly new to me. I have learnt that if we increase our practice of ‘mindfulness’ we create space for ideas to form- solutions to our problems. Clearing the mind prevents mind chatter and when we really focus on positive ideas our outlook will change for the better.

I think it would help if we were all more observant within our own families and friendships. When life is busy it becomes easy to overlook what is under our noses, especially if people just say they are fine. If you speak with people and listen properly you may be able to tune into their moods sooner and help them look at their worries before they become over-whelmed. Being over-burdened is one factor that can lead to suicide. Feeling that nobody loves you or cares about you feeds into that mindset and unfortunately people tend to look at the evidence that backs their point of view. Love is not easy to define or easy to express, especially when we see people every day. We try to remember to tell people that we love them- some people consider this un-necessary because they believe their actions demonstrate love. Ideally the two go together as we should naturally choose to do loving things for those we care about. If we identify someone we know to be depressed, low etc maybe we can try showing appreciation for some of the things they do or say. If we truly feel valued we begin to value ourselves and believe we have purpose. A sense of uselessness and lack of purpose contribiute towards a poor mental state, possibly endorsing the decision to commit suicide.

There will always be people who appear outwardly happy whilst internalising pain, the true masters of disguise, and this discovery is a tremendous shock to all who know that person. We don’t always see the breakdown coming and certainly should never blame ourselves as we do not control others. People have choices and one choice is not allowing circumstances to dictate our behaviour. This is a very strong message that I have been hearing of late and definitely on point. We need to take action and can change our circumstances through a little creative thinking, applying gut determination. This might mean moving up- in my case it meant moving out! The question is, ‘is the unknown likely to be worse than the known?’ My answer is that it will be different.

Good mental health needs to be nurtured just as much as physical health. Having an 'attitude of gratitude' is recognised as an essential factor contributing to excellent mental health. Allow time to really look at life, gather your thoughts, see how different words, situations, relationships affect you. Once you have some understanding you can make predictions and follow through with actions. We all know that if we do the same thing we get the same results- that’s not just theory, it’s virtually scientific! If you want good mental health make changes that will help sustain great feelings and generate success in all areas of your life.

Jaz McKenzie
Professional writer/word magician! Contact me and we'll add a little spice to your image- includes Bio’s, Press releases, Reviews, Website content, Blogs, Business communications and more:

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Give Thanks~Feel Joyful WK 35- Inspiring Words!

Most of us just love a good quote! In fact, there’s a quote for every occasion and if you look at Facebook pages, Twitter or any other form of social media you will find these sites littered with them. You can also buy books of quotes- very popular and they are frequently used in calendars. Quotes can be very personal and some people who are naturally inspiring can easily make up their own sayings whilst others take joy in sharing well loved quotes.

But what is it about these inspirational words that we love so much? The answer is easy, they speak to us on a high level and we can identify directly with them. Quotes are reassuring and link humanity- why? Because someone- the author of the quote, has walked this road before. I think this is why we are so keen to adopt other people’s words. Whether speaking about Einstein, Louise Hay or even Bob Marley, each has created a legacy of quotations from which we derive wisdom in various forms. New quotes find their way into the books, usually provided by our icons. Whether words inspire or comfort us they are filling a need, and to comfort is to inspire. Think about it a minute- if you are really upset about something, comforting words inspire us to keep going until we work through a situation. This is definitely the case when we suffer any form of loss.

Quotes are very clever forms of wordplay and definitely magic in their own way. The author has summed up a situation or theory in a few carefully chosen words which can be regarded as extremely powerful and this is definitely a great skill. Quotes can be derived from various sources: songs and speeches are high on the list, and music helps drum a quote into our memories. Over the years some quotes have become so well known they are embedded in everyday conversation eg: many hands make light work!

Inspirational quotes are helpful aids to assessing situations and putting life in perspective. If you have tried something many times and feel like giving up, the words ‘Never give up’ come at you from many different angles. The great teachers of the world always tell us to keep on going and what’s more, often set themselves seemingly impossible targets. Richard Branson’s book, ‘Screw it, Let’s do it,’ gives the most amazing examples of vision and working towards the vision- I believe we fare best in life when we know what we want. Be persistent and resistant is another great phrase that spurs us on- add consistant if you want a full hand!

The Bible is obviously one of the most quoted books in the world and contains many truly great messages. My favourite is, ‘Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will take care of itself.’ Very true, especially as we don’t know if we’ll be here tomorrow! The Don’t worry theme has been popularised by Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds-‘this is my message to you, don’t worry about a thing.’ The message is simple however the human brain is well practiced with worry. We tend to nurture it from a young age due to another key word- expectation! When reality and expectation do not match, worry sometimes prevails.

Inspirational sayings can help keep us strong. If repeated regularly they can become mantras or affirmations. Our minds will always be working on something so inspiration beats negativity every time and helps us to build better lives. Inspirational saying can make a huge difference to our lives and help us alter our moods. Words are power and inspiration, phenomenal!

Jaz McKenzie
Professional writer/word magician! Contact me and we'll add a little spice to your image- includes Bio’s, Press releases, Reviews, Website content, Blogs and more:

Friday, 18 September 2015

BATTLE CREEK HACKNEY - Martial Arts Teaser Trailer

Very exciting to have an overview of Battle Creek Hackney- the no budget film! I had no idea how many actors have been involved having only popped along to a one day shoot, 'Battle Creek Hackney-Day On Set' , - it came as quite a surprise. Here's the summary from Youtube & all the links you need can be found below the video.

'In the dark heart of East London, war is brewing. A delivery boy, Rakib Rakuen, finds himself fighting to the top floor of Hackney's most crime-ridden building, the Malakai estate. A ruthless mobster, Grigori Iniquity, wants Rakib's latest delivery and will go to any means to get it. With only his trusty friend Ronin by his side, can these two survive the worst Hackney has to offer and get to the top floor to deliver that package?'

This is a fantastic project which has gathered momentum along the way, attracting new actors and subsequently expanding the action. I'm really looking forward to the finished article so 2016 is already looking attractive! Everybody involved is dedicated to helping make this film a success and the fact that is a no budget film hasn't impacted on the standard of acting- in fact the film is thoroughly energised having created quite a buzz already. I have kept in touch with several actors from my day on set and they are all busy progressing in their own directions- incidentally, i have since discovered that some actors have worked together previously on different films.

Point of interest: I recently interviewed Paul Van Beaumont (above), who plays Ronin, and will be posting this shortly so you can discover his story!

A link is also provided on Youtube to the Battle Creek Hackney theme music- 'Battle of my Life,' which is a great song written and performed by Guy Barnes, so at some point down the line Its Braap will share the music video. 

What to do next? Watch & share!!

Jaz McKenzie~ Word Magician 

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Give Thanks~Feel Joyful WK 34- Appreciating Good Health


How healthy are you? Some people we meet seem incredibly fit and hardly ever become ill. So if this is you, be sure to give thanks regularly and do not become complacent.The rest of us seem to face different challenges regarding our health and fitness levels- which includes our enthusiasm for the subject and on a scale of 0-10 I'm somewhere in the middle! I admire people who always seem to be on the go, making time for family, friends, exercise, work and play- BUT HOW? This really is quite a challenge to us mere mortals!

As with everything else it’s a question of assessing your lifestyle and applying some creative thinking to resolve the issue. First point: we all have 24 hours in a day and whereas people like Will-I-Am seem able to exist on 4 hours sleep a night enabling 20 full working hours, for many of us this not possible. We all have different body clocks and whereas the body clock of a genius often manages well on a disciplined routine including limited sleep, the rest of us struggle. Let's just pay our respects here to the pure geniuses such as Michael jackson who required heaps of approved medication to keep them ticking over- how good it is to not be famous or have a mega gruelling schedule.

The question is: ‘How do you feel about yourself?’ 

If you feel great and are thankful for the good in your life it easier to stay on top of your health and other important aspects. If you don't, or just face a couple of minor challenges, the first consideration is always about getting the right balance for you. It really doesn’t matter what other people manage to achieve, it’s important to know what is realistic for you. This encompasses practical concerns and also your energy levels. Physical exercise is important and we should try to include workable amounts within our hectic schedule. Not all exercise needs to be strenuous, some people find yoga works well for them. Personally a trip to the swimming pool once or twice a week suits me as do some longer walks. We all know that exercise is vital for good health so definitely need to make time for it even on a basic level.

Those of  you who have young families are often juggling with many different considerations from after school activities to busy work schedules. All those trips between nursery, school and clubs eat into your time- and of course, speaking of which, families still need to eat, so healthy meals really should be on the menu which take time to prepare. Even when you don’t have dependents at either end of the scale our time can still appear limited and cooking for just one person is very challenging- if you don't sort out portion control one pot could last week! 

Back to the joy of exercising- apparently exercises can be fitted into our routines with ease- cough splutter this doesn't come easily to me!. Those times when we are sitting we could be flexing and stretching- if you get into the swing of this you can strengthen your joints and do this naturally. Making time for meditation and other mindful practices is also important so that we can keep a clear head. Through allocating time for such practices we free even more time as we become less stressed, so our minds are able to think clearly rather than spinning in circles. Cutting out our quiet times can be counter-productive.

Diet is a monumental factor where good health is concerned. There are many statistics that show what an unhealthy lifestyle the majority of us lead. But how do you feel? Are your clothes too tight or too loose? Underweight can be as concerning as overweight at times. Do you get out of breath quickly or tire easily? These could be symptomatic of smoking, drinking too much alcohol or a bad diet. I think too many hours on the computer leads to eye ache, head ache and exhaustion. In current society we develop symptoms that are the result of stress and anxiety. There are many excellent sources of help and advice however we need to acknowledge the problem first- denial is very common as many of us don’t wish to face our ‘failures.’ 

Sometimes we just need to find something to motivate us in order to make that change, along with a few supportive people to encourage us. Our will power may need a little push and is often quite good initially, tailoring off further down the line. This is why it is good to form new habits and create a different focus as opposed to simply concentrating on the problem. If the computer is a problem it might be simple enough to swap your routine and instigate breaks between sessions. Change can be slow so you really need to have a fast growing focus! Once again find something to suit the situation. If you manage to free up some cash, pop it in a pot whereby you can see it increase and be sure to have a target. Targets are always a good form of self encouragement.

Finally, develop your own plan. Why pay a fortune for someone else’s ideas when you can come up with your own programme? Everyone knows exercise, healthy eating and relaxation are necessary for good health so you don’t need expensive diets or gym membership. Find a friend and work it out yourselves- could prove to be a great deal more fun!

Jaz McKenzie
Professional writer/word magician! Contact me and we'll add a little spice to your image- includes: Bio’s, Press releases, Reviews, Website content, Blogs, Business communications and more:

Monday, 14 September 2015

Josh Daniel sings Labrinth’s Jealous~The X Factor UK

This year's X Factor has gone up a few notches from previous years as can be seen by the way many of the acts are presenting themselves, even bringing along their own dancers! This is one of my favourite performances to date- performance as opposed to audition, and although it can be matched it's definitely one of the best.
Josh Daniel by Unreality

I love the way Josh re-interprets Labrinth's song, giving it an entirely new meaning whilst pouring his emotions into every note. Josh is a very skilful singer and had the judges almost in tears, leaving Simon Cowell struck for words. He is truly gifted and it will be interesting to see how he tackles other songs that are less emotional. I really hope Josh makes it into the live finals as he is definitely an extremely strong contender.

Jaz McKenzie~ Word Magician!

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Give Thanks~Feel Joyful WK 33- For London City!

I love London it’s such a lively city and yes, of course it has its downside but generally you find what you look for. I love the fact that you can travel all around the city on bus for under £5 a day- and even the travel cards that enable you to use tubes, trams etc are not overly expensive; and let's not forget the Boris Bikes! This means that London in its entirety can be your back yard. Whether you’re looking for history, architecture, wide open spaces or a trip along the river, London has it all just waiting to be savoured.

Whenever I cross the River Thames over one of the major bridges, usually by bus, I feel so rich and privileged. Can’t exactly explain this but London has always held a magical quality for me. Just looking at the buildings inspires a sense of awe and wonder enabling us to compare the ancient masterpieces to imaginative contemporary structures. You definitely don’t need an art degree to appreciate these or the infinite carvings adorning buildings and also the diversity of statues in so many places, some of which have become famous landmarks - roll on Open London when we can visit exciting places such as the Bank of England. I was surprised to find that I can visit the building I used to live in as it is a listed building as part of this programme! 

The Southbank is an amazing place hosting a number of cultural events every year. Many of these are free and have a truly international flavour. It resembles a cosmopolitan pulse beating away as millions of tourists and Londoners take full advantage of this lively hotspot. Usually foodies are spoilt for choice with an array of stands to choose from during food fests, and let’s not forget the regular entertainment, street artists and skateboarders. I have witnessed some great musicians and street dancers displaying their skills; you never quite know what talent might be around when you decide to pop along- even sand craft on the little beach along the Thames- amazing!

London's museums are still free and frequently house exhibitions which incur charges. Children just love the interactive activities in the Science Museum and standing in awe of skeletal dinosaurs in the Natural History Museum! London also houses modern museums and a huge number of art galleries- can’t wait to see a Zwanik original displayed in the Tate Modern!  

London is also home to an entire host of other free events from lunchtime concerts to seminars and inspirational workshops. Live music within beautiful churches is definitely praiseworthy and London's beautiful parks play host to many festivals throughout the summer with Winter Wonderland at Christmas. 

My favourite day out in London was many years ago when my son and I went to a a special ENB (English National Ballet) event. We spent the day learning about what was involved when dancers go on tour and were given costume demonstrations- never realised how sweaty and horrible those costumes become as the season progresses- they look so glamorous on stage! The surprise of the day was when they tested out the organ which had been under repair for months- I can’t explain how it feels to be in the Royal Albert Hall feeling the power of that beast reverberating throughout your body and the entire building! It was a truly magical moment followed a little later by a beautiful performance of Swan Lake. I have been to many ballets, shows and just love musicals, whether in the West End or locally at Wimbledon Theatre. Once I saw the Russian All Star ice skaters performing amazing moves on a small stage at the Fairfield Halls- quite a feat! The most recent musical event I attended was in Trafalgar Square where the top musicals were showcased- a great help if you’re not sure which to watch- I must say The Michael Jackson musical looked particularly wicked!

If you have never had a chance to visit London put it on your bucket list. It’s still a magic town to me, steeped in history and culture and yes- I have seen the Queen!

Jaz McKenzie
Professional Writer/ Word Magician! Contact me and we'll add a little spice to your image- includes Bio’s, Press releases, Reviews, Website content, Blogs, and more:

Saturday, 5 September 2015

International Reggae Artist Nesbeth~ Victory EP Review

Nesbeth Victory EP Review
Nesbeth is a man with a rampant social conscience, packing his lyrics so that the reality of life is sandwiched between slices of eternal hope and positive vibrations. I interviewed Nesbeth recently and found him totally humble and real, therefore the weight of his EP material is real enough to anchor people to a more determined frame of mind and is extremely up-lifting. 

Interestingly, in the back of my mind I can hear echoes of Jah Cure’s ‘Behind These Prison Wall,’ – I’m comparing the impact created by Jah Cure’s song and not the song itself; although I will say that, like Jah Cure, Nesbeth’s voice has a very haunting quality and he uses his vocal techniques skilfully applying variation and expert timing to maximum effect.

I love the introductory track, ‘ Marijuana,’ which is very deep and not just about enjoying a ‘medi’ -which tends to be the norm. Instead Nesbeth tackles the evils in society explicitly, rounding off by saying that Marijuana is a power in its own right providing food for the brain. The guitar melodies are great and produce a very current musical feel; a slightly syncopated beat underlying the lyrics in places. The music weaves in various ways creating a ‘fly away’ feel that carries the listener with it.

One great thing about Nesbeth’s EP, it will always be current because he is speaking to a world encompassing poverty and shows one person can make a difference.  Jah Jah Handpick is spot on regarding Nesbeth’s life and tells people to place their trust in Jah when tempted or facing trials- a strong message everyone can carry with them. This tune is very catchy with a memorable chorus- once again Nesbeth’s lyrics are beautifully delivered.

Taste Victory can only be described as a triumphant anthem; opening with an invitation to join in the celebrations and focus on Victory at all times. It inspires success. Nesbeth’s message is all about thinking the good in and staying focused on the right path even in the most difficult circumstances. Thought: ‘Nesbeth is Nesbeth’ and ‘Bob Marley's Bob Marley,’  however if this song had been written by Bob Marley it would be blasting the globe alongside all the Marley greats.

For a real African feel listen to Hunda Lay Lay- an extremely melodic and almost hypnotic track, enlivened by the one jump. It's a song about struggles in Africa: the Buffalo soldiers, the on-going fight and realisation that this fight is far from over.

Life is a journey. ‘Even Though,’ emphasises the importance of appreciating this journey and understanding that we go through bad experiences in order to benefit from the good. ‘Sunny day’s has come, never forget my darker days.’ Nesbeth speaks about his home town and experiences, recalling some of his darkest memories including the loss of friends, which many people can associate with. It is such a deep insight into Nesbeth’s motivation and spirituality, proving that anything is achievable when you stick to your values and beliefs.

I seriously love this album, distributed by Zojak Worldwide; the beautiful music and sensitive expressions of our troubled world receive an injection of promise for the future. Quite a masterpiece within which Nesbeth reveals his true self to the world. I agree with everyone who say’s it’s a must-have EP. Besides commending Nesbeth and his team for such high quality music I have one thing left to say: When I rise up in the morning I know this EP will be hitting the decks!

Jaz McKenzie~ Word Magician

Hootananny on Fiyah! Steele & Nesbeth delivering exciting Reggae music

Canada's Steele commanding the stage

If you love Reggae music, pop along to Hootananny, Brixton on a Thursday night and we can guarantee that Reggae vibes will be in full flow. August was quite a month, bringing spectacular international artists of high acclaim, both of whom do far more than stand and deliver! I must say I was excited whilst anticipating these two special nights which both fulfilled their promise.

First we had Steele who literally flew over from Canada for just the one show- to the delight of his UK fans. Steele was sole act for the night and executed a masterful performance treating us to what can only be described as ‘The best of Steele,’ including globally known cover hits, ‘She believes in me,’ and ‘Let’s stay together.’ The key to a successful cover version is when the artist energizes the song in a way that makes their version sound original. Steele manages this effortlessly and has a real fun element to him- listening to Steele’s tracks again now I can really feel his presence in the music in a very personal way. Steele loves being in front of an audience and it was evident he needed a far larger stage upon which to unleash his personality, however he still managed  to generate excellent audience participation, encouraging three ladies to strut their stuff to his latest release, re-mix of Walk Out and Pose (the recently released version features Reggae’s beloved Tippa Irie.)

Nesbeth~ on a kool vibe!

The following Thursday embraced a highly skilled trumpet player from the USA- unfortunately I was unable to catch his name. Edge Michael; nephew of legendary Peter Tosh, also performed.. Headlining the bill we had Nesbeth whom I interviewed last week and subsequently blogged in my series GiveThanks~Feel Joyful- a title that in some ways summarizes Nesbeth’s rise to fame!

Nesbeth lives and breathes concern for his fellow man and being born in Trenchtown Jamaica is strongly tied to his roots, understanding human plight. Nesbeth is in London for three weeks on this his second visit to the UK. Nesbeth has a slight figure with a powerful spirit that flows through his songs, bringing his autobiography to life through thought provoking lyrics and introductory recitals. Nesbeth is loaded with high energy, leaping around effectively punctuating his statements as a form of self expression. His fans were delighted and enjoyed every minute, singing along to his songs and requesting their favourites. Nesbeth sang hits from his existing catalogue and included songs from his current Victory EP. ‘Marijuana’ clearly comes from a place of enlightenment whereas Hunda Lay Lay is a reminder of  Africa's on-going struggles. I think it's fair to say Nesbeth epitomises the true meaning of One Love and goes straight to the root of Roots Reggae.

I am already looking forward to hearing both artists perform live again- whether here or abroad and am in doubt that they will continue climbing the ladder of fame. In the meantime there is much to look forward to at the Hootananny with Britain’s Got Reggae live each month- an excellent talent contest showcasing selected acts who sing three songs each before a panel of judges. Richie Stephens and friends will be live on 8th October, so if you are in London add these events to your diary- the entrance fee is still only £3 which is super reasonable for a highly entertaining evening.

Review of Nesbeth's Victory EP

Jaz McKenzie~ Word Magician!