Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 5th 2013 Contents B30
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt May 5, 2013
A REVIEW BY MEL GABRIEL
Rhion Romany previewed three
pieces from his second collection, enti-
tled Monroe, on April 25, during an
intimate gathering at his Kraze boutique
anniversary celebrations at the shop
on Murray Street, Woodbrook. The
eponymous label has steadily risen to
some prominence among young T&T,
with the young designer appearing as
one of the most promising emerging
talents since his She Wolf debut at last
year s Style Spirit Fashion Weekend.
If I had to summarise: the Monroe
collection takes the attention-grabbing
aura of Marilyn, mixes it with a little
sultry, vampish Kate Beckinsale (à la
Underworld s Selene), then adds a
heady dose of breezy Caribbean con-
fidence before sending the wearer off
on vacation to an outpost in Bali.
"I want all of my collections to be
about strong, daring women... pow-
erful, influential women. That s who
the Rhion Romany woman is," the
At the mini-show, three models
stomped down the runway, their bright,
wispy cover-ups parting to display racy
black swimsuits. Romany included dar-
ing geometric cut-outs about the mid-
section, giving the first two suits the
opportunity to contrast edgy looks
with gauzy separates. These equally
delicate and essential non-essentials
for resort and swimwear aficionados
offered only a smattering of the mod-
esty required in these sensational times,
but the crowd was unfazed. Romany s
penchant for risk appeared even more
so in his third look: a sheer swimsuit
featuring strategically-placed chevron
stripes across the model s body.
"It s what I believe Marilyn Monroe
would have worn if she was in our
generation," said the 23-year-old
Now, inspiration is one thing, but
creating a collection and calling it Mon-
roe is a monumental ode in itself.
Although known for her curves, fluc-
tuating vanity and strong---albeit tor-
mented---identity, Marilyn Monroe was
at the same time quite vulnerable. After
all his She Wolf praise, Romany was
now required to up the proverbial fash-
ion ante. Marilyn Monroe certainly
proved to be an interesting choice to
serve as influence for this second col-
I was excited to see how he translated
Monroe s mystique into today s version
of resort glamour, side-stepping tra-
dition and pairing strong lines with
elegant floaty separates in a captivating
---Mel Gabriel is the editor-in-chief
of Trinidad Lookbook, a fashion mag-
azine and Web site .
The words dayo and bejide are from Africa,
which when put together mean "Happiness
has come in the rainy season." These words
describe the Dayo Bejide Jazz Project, a collection of
musicians led by percussionist, teacher and jewelry
designer Modupe Onilu. The band started off as a
trio with Onilu s older brother Baba Ayinde Onilu
and their close friend, vocalist and musician Kepha
In an interview, Modupe Onilu said, "One day
when someone called me to do my own gig as a band
leader, I had to think of a name creative and mean-
ingful so I chose Dayo Bejide."
Founded three years ago, the band has performed
at several venues and events including La Casa de
Ibiza, Drink Wine Bar, the Hyatt Regency, government
ministries and other organisations. The band has
worked with many musicians over the years, which
has added interesting variations and influences to
its sound. The current band includes Modupe Onilu
on drums and percussion, Javed Juman on guitar,
Joshua Salcedo on bass, Antonio Mitchell on trumpet
and John John Francis on vocals.
According to Onilu, "Musicians come and go in
Trinidad. I m glad to have worked with some of the
greatest, and glad they brought their energy and
knowledge to create the sound that we have today."
They refer to their sound as New Caribbean World
music, a sub-genre of new jazz. According to Onilu,
the band draws inspiration for its sound from early
"I won t say we are a jazz band. Some say (our
music is) Caribbean rhythms with jazz chords. My
definition is creating jazz music---a conversation
between musicians and instruments---using our folk
culture and playing from the heart. Playing from the
heart brings the most genuine sound to capture the
ears of people in the Caribbean audience."
He added, "The sound of the Dayo Bejide Jazz
project is very modern. We have been playing a lot
of Afro-soul music with local vocalist John John and
we have been experimenting in creating a new instru-
mental sound using calypso, jazz and other tribal
grooves to create a most unique sound on the Trinidad
The inspiration for creating the band came from
Onilu s late father JaJah Oga Onilu, percussionist,
drummer, musician, craftsman, and pioneer in using
organic instruments in Afro-Caribbean music. From
this original style, Modupe learned and began to
experiment and delve into more electric sounds,
fusing it with the organic to create the Dayo Bejide
Jazz Project sound.
"I also try to be innovative and try to set trends
with my drums. I use a set up I call drumcussion .
It s a fusion of drum set parts and percussion parts
to create a new sound, and in the band, our instru-
mentation is never the same. I always keep it small
and organic sounding."
Dayo Bejide will play at Fiesta Plaza, MovieTowne,
Invaders Bay, Port-of-Spain, on May 18, from 8 pm.
Raf Robertson will make a guest appearance on
keyboards. Admission is free.
The last time the Sunday Arts Section spoke with
Juan-Pablo Alba Dennis, dancer and choreographer
with the Caribbean School of Dancing and Meta-
morphosis Dance Co, he had big dreams of starting
a professional career in dance. Three months later,
he became the only male dancer from T&T to take
the Royal Academy of Ballet Advanced II Ballet
exams. The dance exams took place here in Trinidad
through the Caribbean School of Dancing and, as
is the tradition, examiners from London visited the
school on Dere Street, Port-of-Spain, to assess the
Dennis achieved a distinction.
According to Royal Academy of Dance examination
specifications, this level of ballet is considered a
vocational graded examination for those dancers
seriously considering careers in dance.
Dennis has also been accepted into the Alvin
Ailey/Fordham BFA Programme, which is an inno-
vative partnership between the Ailey School of Dance
and Fordham University in New York.
According to the official school Web site, the BFA
"combines the finest in dance and liberal arts edu-
cation in a four-year programme where students
will complete a diverse curriculum while attending
both institutions full time."
The Ailey School has offered him an artistic merit
scholarship, which covers about one-sixth of all his
school expenses. He is seeking further funding to
attend the programme.
To contribute to his funding, contact
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 624-9793.
Rhion Romany previewed these designs from his collection at Kraze boutique.
PHOTO COURTESY CHRISTOPHER DANIEL
Dayo Bejide creates
a new sound in
Dennis dances his way to Alvin Ailey
Dayo Bejide Jazz Project leader Modupe Onilu.
PHOTO COURTESY DAYO BEJIDE JAZZ PROJECT
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