New single celebrates Bermuda culture
When reggae artist Giles “Sir Dudley” Spurling wrote his new song Born Bermudian, he wanted to celebrate his culture.
The first words out of his mouth when he started composing were: “Mi a born Bermudian...”
And while he received positive feedback to the newly launched song, there was also some negative backlash.
He shrugs it off.
“Haters gonna hate,” he told The Royal Gazette philosophically.
Some critics complained it was a song about Bermudian pride sung in a Jamaican accent.
“You can’t sing a reggae song with a Bermudian accent, that’s the answer,” Sir Dudley said in response. “It would sound stupid.”
Others said there wasn’t enough pathos.
“Reggae music represents the voice of the oppressed,” said one critic.
But Sir Dudley doesn’t really care.
“It’s about having fun, to me,” he said. “Born Bermudian is a happy song, it’s not supposed to be about oppression.”
Making music is a hobby of Sir Dudley’s, a way to unwind from his day job as an actuarial analyst at Validus Re.
Born Bermudian makes reference to everything from the late Johnny Barnes to buying lamb chops on Saturday from the MarketPlace.
Lines include: “Love mi turbot especially on a bun, fish pon a bun, dat’s what mi greaze on” and “mi a born Bermudian ...”. Sir Dudley fell in love with reggae as a youngster.
“As a kid I didn’t go out and play football after school,” said Sir Dudley. “I was in my bedroom with the door shut, reggae music cranked up, singing along. Loving reggae was something unique to me. My parents are approaching 70 and their favourite music is the oldie goldies.”
The first reggae song he ever loved was Shabba Ranks’s Ting-A-Ling.
“I was the kind of kid who got thrown out of class for singing reggae in the back corner,” he said.
He started writing music when he went to college.
“When I came home I started recording and some of my songs were played on the radio,” he said. “I thought maybe I can do this.”
His first success was Bermudian Gal in 2007. After that song he was invited to open for Jamaican artists such as Mr Vegas and Singing Melody and in bars and entertainment venues in London and Washington DC.
Since then he’s written about 12 more songs and had mixed success with local radio stations. Some play his music regularly while others steer clear. “My reggae career has really been an uphill battle,” he said. “I wish some of them would play it in heavier rotation,” he said.
He thinks he has enough songs now to compile an album, but each songs costs about $1,500 to put out.
“I hire someone to record me in the studio,” he said.
“Then he takes it away and mixes and produces it. I have to pay someone. He built the beat for this song.
“What is great about this song is that it is not borrowed from another song. It is unique, 100 per cent Bermudian. I’ll get to putting out an album at some stage.”
He thinks if he had more time to devote to his music he could take it further.
“If all I did was music I might have had a break,” he said. “But we all have our priorities. I’m very much independent and write my songs out of a passion for reggae music and do it just for fun really.”
See his Born Bermudian video on www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5jhSInt2IE or purchase it on iTunes.
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