Shaggy Parrot and the Reggae Band

Shaggy Parrot and the Reggae BandMichael Robinson, Gleaner Writer
published: Wednesday | September 24, 2008

Grammy-award winning dancehall artiste Shaggy has got his feet wet in a brand new genre - children's literature. Shaggy Parrot and the Reggae Band is a book-and-CD set made for kids aged two to six years with a serious message about the environment.

Set in Ocho Rios, St Ann's Laughing Waters, the story follows a team of sea creatures and Shaggy Parrot as they form a reggae band to cheer up a waterfall. It seems the waterfall is upset because people have been polluting it, and Shaggy Parrot and friends come together to clean up and, essentially, whistle while they work.

Colourful illustrations by Trinidadian John Mendes feature local scenery and some of Jamaica's indigenous marine life. The CD, which boasts nine tracks by reggae's only diamond-selling artiste, contains portions of the story, with Shaggy, christened Orville Burrell, also reading for the title role. The music on the CD was created by Sean Paul's musical director, Rupert Bent III, Jana's brother, as well as members of Sean's Pauls' backing band, Badda Banz.

Teaching tool
Shaggy Parrot and the Reggae Band is the brainchild of Jana Bent, who was among the team of writers which included Kellie Magnus, Nicole Hoo Fatt, Rebecca Packer and Veronica Salter. Bent said she came up with the idea after reading a children's book introducing toddlers to jazz music. "My daughter really loved it," she said, and I realised we needed to do this for reggae. Once we were into the production we decided to go all the way with the educational aspect of it." The book covers several themes required by the Ministry of Education's syllabus, making it a valuable teaching tool as well.

Magnus, creator of the Little Lion book series, said her motivation was a heartfelt desire to promote literacy at the early childhood level. "It was a great experience working with a team of Jamaican writers and musicians," said Magnus.

With a launch slated for November, the book will benefit two of Shaggy's favourite causes, St Andrew's Bustamante Hospital for Children and the Tatiana McIntosh Scholarship fund, which is based in Florida.

1 comment:

  1. I like anything that highlights and shows a Caribbean United. Musical crossovers, music video direction, books...

    When an effort is strengthened with cross-pollination from all over the Caribbean Sea, I think the end result is always real borse!

    Now... if only we had joint football and Olympic teams...