Officials from the Department of Tourism along with top government officials and well-wishers gathered at the Tiki Beach on 15 December for the launch of the Caymankind Song.
The song was recorded at Hopscotch Studios under the watchful eye of Charles Gregory and produced by Cayman Music and Entertainment Association President Jean-Eric Smith for the Islands US tourism marketing campaign.
The score is meant to embody the essence of the Cayman experience and the brand of values the Islands wish to promote such as integrity, warmth, openness, integrity, respect and excellence. The capability of music to powerfully envelop this agenda was not lost on government officials, who commissioned the undertaking, as evidenced in their remarks made on the night.
“At the heart of the Caymankind campaign is the song that has been produced by several of our local musicians. This song with its truly Caymanian rhythm, flavour and positive lyrics, is an essential part of our Caymankind message,” noted Premier McKeeva Bush. He added that the song also “conveys that we are a welcoming, genuine and positive people and that a Cayman Islands vacation experience is truly unique and special.”
The premier lauded the efforts of the musicians who participated in the song’s production as reminiscent of the same camaraderie that was witnessed several weeks ago at the Homecoming Concert held at the Pageant Beach.
After a short documentary that was filmed to capture the spirit of the project, it was time for the live band and the musicians who had given of their talents and time to showcase their skills and serenade the audience against the backdrop of a moonlit Seven Mile Beach.
The event’s success was accentuated by the fact that just months earlier, there was some concern on the part of the local music community that they were being overlooked in the song’s creation for overseas firm Chowder.
“Though it was unfortunate that we were left out of the initial stages of this particular project, the Department of Tourism and the relevant stakeholders have invited the local talent on Island to put a Caymanian face on the lyrics and melody that Chowder has devised, and the Association was asked to provide singers and players of instruments from its ranks to do so,” said the CMEA president. He added that each of the local musicians who contributed were paid.
Artists chosen to help to put a local face on the tune were Angie Manderson, Barrie Quappe, KK Alise and Jamesette Anglin. The background vocals for the Caymanian rendition of the song were provided by 15 schoolchildren from George Town Primary, with additional background vocals by Lammie Seymour, Hubert Campbell and Mr. Smith. Contributions were also made by Samuel Rose on bass, Derby Jennings on keyboards, “Jah” Mitch Ebanks on guitar and Wayne Roy Randal on drums. Mr. Smith, who produced the new version of the song, along with Charles Gregory of Hopscoth Studios.
Smith joked that, “We put a reggae vibe to it by taking what was a Texas barbecue and turning it into a Cayman fish fry with fritters, on the beach. We have now Caymanised it, you know!”
The objective of the undertaking was to secure a 30 second instrumental and vocal production to be used for US television spots; a three-minute instrumental and vocal version of the song in its entirety; and a five-minute instrumental and vocal version, which could be used for viral videos, internal marketing.