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SEPTEMBER 2011 17

Why don’t we praise our local musical heritage? B

ONITO STAR’S LATEST hit tune, ‘Feel My Love,’ is blowing-up the nation’s reggae charts and he himself is in massive demand up and down the country before meeting demands from fans right across the globe. That said, however, it seams that certain people in his home-town don’t quite realize just how much of a gem they have on their doorstep. Birmingham-born Bonito has been a top singer since 1985 and pretty-much everywhere he goes he gets deserved ‘props’ from young and old, of all communities due to his electrifyingly dullest tones. But, with many music-based

events becoming an integral part of the city’s events calendar, he finds his name remiss, when it comes to the major performers. Not that he’s taking it totally to heart, yet, but, as he sees himself as yet another local reggae star shunned, by some misguided promoters, at some of local music shows that seem to be popping up throughout Birmingham. His latest omission coming at the recent ‘Simmer Down Reggae Festival,’ at Handsworth Park. With other big names like Skibu, Mikey Dread, Dennis Seaton and Michael Grant from Musical Youth and Mercury Award-winning saxophonist, Soweto Kinch and singer/songwriter, Mark Dwayne, who, as

the rest of the world know is the founder/editor of the award-winning Street Cred Entertainment/Lifestyle magazine and are all current, yet, conspicuous by their absence, did The Drum Arts Centre, who laid on the event, miss a trick? After all, these are names absolutely massive in the music field and further more, are local to Handsworth Park. In fact born and bred in the area and very much part of the fabric of Handsworth itself. For Bonito, as a prominent reggae artist, it’s ‘water off a ducks back.’ As a man of the people of his own city and local area, he finds it hugely disappointing: “Here I am, a ‘son’ of

Handsworth, who’s played at some of the biggest arenas in the world, performing alongside some of the greats like Freddie McGregor, Frankie Paul and Luciano, but, here, in my backyard, I’m ignored by people who are not totally ‘versed’ in reggae music. it’s sad, really sad, not for me, but, what does that say to young, up-andcoming reggae singers? We shouldn’t be ashamed of such a proud reggae heritage” This years Birmingham Carnival is coming back to it ‘home.’ Just how many of our own world-famous artists will be topping the bill here? Bonito Star will be busy touring the country, to sell-out venues, feeling and sharing his love.

Andy finds ‘The Healing Process’ to share and overcome depression A

S ONE OF Britain’s premier saxophonist, Andy Gayle has battled his way out of a mental breakdown to create a seminal album to help other people who find themselves fighting depression and how to overcome it. ‘The Healing Process’ is Andy’s third solo album and it’s his own, musical journey through his depression and how he found help to overcome it. A native of Birmingham’s Handsworth district, 44-yearold Gayle is better known for touring the world with the likes of Madness, The Specials, The Beat and The Skatalites, through to Jazz Jamaica and Tomorrows Warriors and more recently, Ziggy Marley. He won a scholarship to study Music at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and trained as a music teacher at the former University of Central England. He had the

world at his feet and he was ready to ‘explode’ onto the music scene at large. He was ready to rock and roll. At the point that he was ready, in 2006, the breakdown of a relationship with the mother of his two children saw him on a downward spiral which ended with him being sectioned under the Mental Health Act. He openly explains: “I lost my child, I lost my job, I lost my friends, which led me to becoming deeply alcoholic, to block out the pain.” He’d have manic episodes and display severe depression, which ending up with the talented musician being sectioned, for his own safety, as his condition left him severely exhausted. Eventually, Gayle was diagnosed with bipolar disorder which explained his mood swings. Andy believed his mental health would prove a major barrier, but, under the care of

the Handsworth home treatment team, part of Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust, things started looking up. Thanks to their encouragement he applied for a £5,000 grant from the trust to create a record charting his harrowing story. The result is “The Healing Process,” a CD of 12 songs recorded here, in Birmingham. “I feel much better now,” he said. “Writing the album was very cathartic. I was able to exorcise what was inside me. I hope that what I’ve done will help other people with mental health issues because I’ve been there, I know what they’re going.” If you would like a copy of Andy’s Cd The Healing Process, please fill out the form below and one of our team will be in contact shortly. Alternatively, call Jacqui on 0121 301 1060 or email HYPERLINK “mailto:Jacqueline.Tame@ bsmhft.nhs.uk” Jacqueline. Tame@bsmhft.nhs.uk.

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