Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 8th 2017 Contents tobagotoday.co.tt March 8 - 2017
JOEL "POSITIVE" MURRAY
Leve 2017 was launched at Dianne's Tea
Shop on Long Circular Road in Port-of-
Spain last Thursday (March 2) and prom-
ises to be an event to highlight Caribbean
fine art, fashion, cuisine, culture, rum,
rhythm, and even chocolate (Cocoa Repub-
lic has signed on) in one space --- all as a
forerunner fringe event leading up to the
Tobago Jazz Experience, which takes place
This year the Tobago Jazz Experience
includes a performing lineup of singers
including Shabba Ranks, Grace Jones, Mor-
gan Heritage, and D'Angelo. The festival
celebrates jazz as well as T&T and Carib-
bean indigenous music.
The Leve event will take place on April
22 at Villa Being in Arnos Vale, Tobago, and
is an invitation-only, three-hour event on
the first day of the Tobago Jazz Experience.
The event launch last week was led by
Dr Auliana Poon, an economist, the owner
of the luxury villa, Being, located in Arnos
Vale, Tobago, and the brainchild behind the
Leve event. Poon, born in Morvant-Laven-
tille and now based in Santa Cruz, is a pas-
sionate advocate for sustainable tourism.
Leve is the patois or creole word for "lift
. The Leve idea, Poon said, seeks to har-
ness the island's gems in the form of prod-
ucts, people, brands, services and location.
It aims to be the forerunner event that preps
the Tobago Jazz Experience, and wants to
brand Tobago as a five-star destination.
Poon loves her Caribbean roots so much
that while living in Germany, she commis-
sioned top fashion designer Meiling in Trin-
idad to make her wedding dress for her ---
there was just no way she was about to
walk down the aisle in an Alexandra Fisch-
er-Roehler, Johanna Kühl, or even a Karl
Lagerfeld wedding gown; she preferred
home-made Caribbean brands.
Poon is the force behind the tourism con-
sultancy company Tourism Intelligence
International (TII), which serves government
and private sector clients in over 50 coun-
tries, with clients from South Africa, Pal-
estine, Mozambique, Jamaica and Abu Dhabi.
In a past press interview, Poon said: "For
more than a decade, my consultancy, Tour-
ism Intelligence International (TII), has been
helping governments and tourism agencies
around the world (Japan, Germany, Botswa-
na) to develop blueprints for sustainable
tourism. Indeed, sustainability is at the heart
of every programme and initiative we devel-
op or recommend."
Poon said these countries understood how
to expand through tourism and the export
of talent, and we too must learn and under-
stand that we are more than just energy in
"We cannot do what the Chinese did. We
have to do what we know how to do and
use what we have. And together we can
build a bigger pie," she said at last Thursday's
"As an island, a Caribbean destination,
we are not just about wearing short pants
and drinking coconut water. That is not the
image we want in the minds of people. The
Caribbean is a brand and we want to sell
brand Caribbean to the world," said Poon.
"It is the energy of the people that will
drive this country, this economy, and not the
energy in the ground. We have got to get to
that place where we are successfully export-
ing creativity, exporting talent, cuisine, art. It
is just too easy to import and copy everything!"
"Life does not need another Rolex watch.
Life needs the Caribbean. It is not just about
selling talent, it is about selling a story as
well. People love talent that comes with a
story. We need... to believe in us.... Are we
always going to wait until Forbes tells us
we have something fantastic or unique?
Could we not have seen that for ourselves?"
It was this spirit of Caribbean pride and
a belief that what really constitutes culture
is not part-time or annual festivals, but the
ongoing movement, vibe and lifestyle of a
people and a country, that Poon says she
has incorporated in the creation of Leve,
where luxury meets lifestyle in the sister
isle of Tobago. The pre-jazz fringe event
Leve began in 2016. And already, it claims
to be a prominent event on this year's Toba-
go Jazz Experience schedule.
At the launch, German manufacturer Dr
Christian Pottof-Sewing said what attract-
ed him to the charitable initiative as an
investor was the need to get away from the
incestuous, self-congratulatory pose that
most countries and cultures find themselves
in, causing them to move backward when
they should really be expanding and mar-
keting the creativity that exists within as a
brand. He said it's not enough to just show-
case T&T as a source of crab and dumplings
or pan, but to showcase a much wider range
of what and who this island produces.
The first Leve brought together creative
personalities including fashion designer
Claudia Pegus, decorated chef Debra Metiv-
ier, mas designer Brian MacFarlene and
painter Leroy Clarke. This year, the talent
includes Trinidadian-born master tailor and
knighted designer, Sir Andrew Ramroop, in
collaboration with DWW Creations (Distin-
guished When Wearing) and Ecliffe Eli
Designs. Also participating are artist and
teacher Shastri Maharaj, and one of the
Caribbean's top chefs and captain of the
T&T Culinary Team, Adrian Cumberbatch,
who will be making authentic local cuisine,
including his famous chow lollies and his
Plymouth Rock lobster chow shots.
Creative directors of the evening will be
designers Richard Young, Dominic Laroche,
and Diane Hunt. T&T's very own YouTube
sensation Rodell "Ro'dey" Cumberbatch will
chaperone the event as MC.
Trinidadian-Amsterdam based photog-
rapher Keron Riley will photograph the
event. (Trinidad Guardian)
LET'S LEVE Fringe event to Tobago Jazz Experience promises a
special culture/fashion/cuisine Caribbean experience
Tobago-born gospel artiste Joel "Positive"
Murray has copped eight awards at the 2017
Caribbean Gospel Music Marlin Awards.
The event was held at the Myles E Mun-
roe Diplomat Center in Nassau, Bahamas,
on February 25. Positive also created histo-
ry as the top winner this year, as the first
artiste in Marlin Awards history to ever win
eight individual awards in one night.
Positive won Album of the Year; Calypso/
Soca Vocal Performance of the Year-Male;
Contemporary Recording of the Year; Con-
temporary Vocal Performance of the Year-
Duo/Group; Packaging of the Year; Praise
& Worship Recording of the Year; Reggae
Recording of the Year and Song of the Year
A very elated Positive took to Facebook to
show his gratitude to his fans. He has also set
his eyes on the prestigious Grammy Awards
"8 wins at The Caribbean Gospel Marlin
Awards 2017! Thanks to the Marlin Awards
team for their tremendous efforts at recog-
nising Caribbean gospel music. "Album of
, thanks to everyone who contrib-
uted to the creation of this project! This is
for us all! #GrammysNext," he posted.
His manager, Kern Cowan, also post, "Hard
work, diligence and consistency will always
bring reward. This young man continues to
set the trend across the Caribbean and the
world, representing Trinidad and Tobago at
the highest level possible and it's only the
beginning. Next stop Dove and Grammys."
Positive won three categories at the same
event in 2014. The Marlin Awards is held
bi-annually. It was created to motivate Carib-
bean Gospel recording artists, songwriters,
producers and other industry professionals to
spread the word of God. Awards are distrib-
uted in over 30 categories, including New
Artist of the Year, Song of the Year and Album
of the Year. There are also a number of spe-
cial awards, including the President's Award
and the Life Time Achievement Award and
Adapted Recording of the Year.
TOBAGO GOSPEL ARTISTE
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