RemBunction (Roland Yearwood)

MAKING THE CALL FOR UNITY: RemBunction (Roland Yearwood) stands in front of the mural at Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain. —Photo: JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK

Take a “Cyber Parang” in the “Christmas Quarantine”.

That, according to popular parang soca singer RemBunction, is the best and safest way to celebrate this yuletide season.

RemBunction (Roland Yearwood), has infected the airwaves and social media with his positive, comical messages in the wake of the Covid-19 global pandemic. And while the two offerings have won him plaudits among his growing fan base, he says “Christmas Quarantine (Ah Love It Inside)” and “Cyber Parang” are simply examples of a musician reflecting the times.

“As an artiste, it is important to reflect the times we live in. I definitely made an effort to capture the current mood, but still with hopes of uplifting people because it can be a lot to cope with,” Remy, as he fondly called by family and friends, told the Kitcharee on Wednesday.

Creativity as a viable outlet

Like all creatives the world over Remy has found himself isolated from his fan base. It’s a space, he confesses, that is not unfamiliar to him. As an animator and video editor he is used to spending hundreds of hours in isolation in editing suites.

Remy is as known for his music video productions as he is for his music. He has worked on visuals for soca stars Machel Montano and his younger brother Olatujni Yearwood, among others. He has also produced a number of animated and live action music videos for himself, as well as, a few comical animations that have gone viral.

“I’ve been busy,” Remy admitted when asked about his “downtime”.

“I do so many things and during the pandemic, animation has actually seen a boost so that has worked to my advantage. I used my creative outlets to cope by creating, writing and I personally can be a recluse so like my song this year says: ‘I love it inside’. That part wasn’t difficult, though I’ll miss connecting with the crowds at Christmas,” he continued.

Of all his pursuits, Remy says music remains his favourite. He admits to putting most of his energy into writing, recording and creating visuals for his original calypso fusion sound.

“Although I wear all these hats, music is part and parcel of who I am. so I always make time for that form of expression. Instead of folding up in a ball in the downtime, I put effort into creative pursuits like stop-mo, my puppet project and of course, writing music,” he said.

Space to breathe

Remy says, however, there is no real pressure to generate new material. In fact, he embraces the challenge of creating new Yuletide content annually for his expectant fan base, saying he is always full of new ideas.

“It will only become a pressure to deliver Christmas music if I feel like I don’t organically have any ideas. I have enough repertoire now that I can take a break if I feel like it but there are songs that will always be new to someone hearing it for the first time,” he explained.

One positive effect the current reality has had on the Christmas season is there are no new soca releases to compete for airtime. The cancellation of Carnival 2021 has afforded parang soca music a space to breathe, he mused.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley recently suggested that the festival may not be possible at all next year, given the current circumstance of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

“This year also, Christmas music has less competition with people’s Carnival offerings because of the fact that there are no plans for Carnival as of now, so everything is getting a little more time to breathe musically,” he said.

The singer has also been receiving thousands of hits and shares for a totally different project. His topical Reloaded series, which features animated renditions of local celebrities in hilarious situations, has been embraced by a young audience.

The latest episode features soca starlet Nailah Blackman and his brother Olatunji unsuccessfully trying to convince soca stars Blaxx (Dexter Stewart) and chutney star Ravi B (Ravi Bissambhar) to join a “Sou Sou” pyramid scheme. A cartoon version of Remy receives a call from soca man Kees Dieffenthaller looking for “two people” before accepting a proposition from Double M to invest in the cocoa business.

“I give thanks that it’s a hit,” Remy laughed.

“The material writes itself most times and I’m always looking around for inspiration. I am always working on projects so who knows, maybe a long form animation could come soon; you never know,” he teased.

The multi-talented performer promised fans there is a lot more to come from him in 2021.

“I will be releasing music outside of Christmas, so look out for soca and other genres that I play with, and I have a few projects currently in the pipeline so keep an eye out,” he concluded coyly.

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