Sean Paul, Marlon Samuels, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Giselle Salandy

Sean Paul takes his “dutty rock” to new heights, Treason offers a soca-ragga beat so fierce it should be outlawed, plus three young sports stars and much more

  • Sean Paul. Photograph courtesy VP Records
  • Giselle Salandy. Photograph courtesy Trinidad Publishing Company Ltd
  • Treason. Photograph courtesy VP Records
  • Ramnaresh Sarwan. Photograph courtesy Trinidad Publishing Company Ltd
  • Marlon Samuels. Photograph courtesy Trinidad Publishing Company Ltd

When it comes to dancehall, 2002 belonged to the uptown Jamaican performer Sean Paul and his Dutty Cup Crew. With a historic recording deal uniting Atlantic and VP Records, and smash hits in North America and Europe (including Gimme the Light and the remixed romantic hit I’m Still In Love), they blew up the proverbial dance floor. The musical pace has continued in 2003, with Sean Paul’s dancehall/hip-hop fusion breaking into the mainstream and earning the dutty rock posse a host of new fans and collaborators, including Funkmaster Flex, Big Daddy Kane, Tony Touch and Razel of the Roots.

Don’t take your eyes off these two

Marlon Samuels stamped his class on last year’s West Indies tour of India with two contrasting knocks. In the third Test, the 21-year-old Jamaican treated the Eden Gardens crowd to a fine score of 104 runs. His maiden test century, a 182-delivery feat, included 18 boundaries. The right-handed Kingston College graduate upped the tempo for his memorable one-day showing in Vijayawada. That match-winning innings of 108, scored off 75 balls, was hailed as one of the great one-day performances ever. The elegant, technically sound Samuels has arrived in style.

It took him some time to notch up his maiden Test century. Ramnaresh Sarwan finally reached three figures two and a half years after his 2000 debut (against Pakistan, in Barbados). On the second day of the first-ever Test between West Indies and hosts Bangladesh last year, the Guyanese batsman attained the elusive landmark with a single to short third man. Sarwan has a wide selection of strokes in his batting arsenal and loves taking on bowlers — the recipe for further success. The 22-year-old batsman is certain to follow up on his 119 against Bangladesh with many more three-figure innings.

A fresh, fierce beat — is that a crime?

In recent times “soca-ragga” — a catchy reggae/calypso blend promoted by performers like “the people’s voice”, Bunji Garlin — has been catching the ears and moving the limbs of masqueraders and fete-goers at carnivals around the world. The latest crew on the soca-ragga scene is Treason, a three-man posse — Menace, Cryminal and Ace — from Sangre Grande, Trinidad. Will their expressive lyrics, Jamaican “flava” and crowd-pleasing hits (like Karmasutra, Wah is Dah One and Carnival Darlin) add up to a superstar combination? Lucid like Ataklan, respected like Bunji, and, like Xtatik, in high demand, Treason looks set for a major breakout this Carnival season with their new album, Word on the Street.

Slugging her way to the top

Giselle Salandy forced the boxing world to sit up and take notice when she captured the Women’s International Boxing Association (WIBA) Ibero-American super-lightweight title. The Trinidad and Tobago fighter was just 15 when she outpointed Colombian Paolo Roja, in Curaçao last November. Salandy’s triumph earned her the number-five spot in the 140-pound division in the WIBA’s world rankings. If properly handled, the T&T contender just might follow in the footsteps of compatriots Claude Noel and Leslie “Tiger” Stewart, and become a world champion. Watch out Christy Martin. Giselle’s in the house!