Caribbean Beat Magazine

Reaching for the sky

Local rock band Orange Sky are buzzed about being the main opening act for the legendary American rock band The Scorpions

  • From left, brothers Nicholas and Nigel Rojas and Obasi Springer of Orange Sky. Photograph by Abigail Hadeed

As part of its world tour, titled Humanity, the legendary American rock band The Scorpions will perform in Trinidad on September 23—with local band Orange Sky as their main opening act. Orange Sky and their manager Joey Sabeeney (who is also promoting the Scorpions gig in Trinidad) have been buzzed about the concert for months.

Most Caribbean rock bands are not in it for the money, but have managed to draw dedicated fans to gigs at small venues with some regularity. The fan support has been slow to translate to album sales, though, and few bands dare to invest in studio albums, as they are unlikely to recoup their costs. Bands also find it hard to stay together, because only a few real musicians dare take the risk of giving up their day jobs to pursue a recording contract. The Rojas brothers (Nigel, lead singer and guitar, and Nicholas, bass), keyboardist Richard Hall, guitarist Dion Howe and drummer Obasi Springer were all members of other bands before joining Orange Sky.

The group enjoyed some radio success with its rock-reggae ballad Real Love in 2005, but has returned to its rock roots with a vengeance with its latest offering, Dat Iz Voodoo, serving up lyrics inspired by social issues on a bed of heavy guitars, with Springer playing the drums like a man possessed.

One track, Rough and Tumble, was released in 2007 and adopted by one of Trinidad and Tobago’s political parties during that year’s national election campaign. The opposition United National Congress Alliance (UNC-A) booked the band for several rallies, as the lyrics for Rough and Tumble were very critical of the state of the country under the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM).

Regular Caribbean Beat readers may recall a feature this magazine ran about Orange Sky in 2004, when the band felt it was getting a whiff of success, having signed a deal with a small Florida-based label, Granite Records. But the deal was short-lived: Orange Sky and Granite didn’t see eye to eye, and the band felt they were not being marketed properly.

Then earlier this year the band signed with Star City Recording, based in Philadelphia and led by Grammy-nominated producer Jeff Glixman. A fan of Orange Sky for several years now, he’s also worked with them in the past. The company is funding this new push by the band to get a hit record and is promoting the Dat Iz Voodoo album (fans may recognise some of the tracks, as they were on the limited-release album Psycho World in 2007). The band is also planning a small United States tour to promote the album, but has been fighting back the butterflies over the big gig at the Queen’s Park Savannah.

“This feels like the real deal,” says Rojas. “The label is committed to a serious investment in the band. We are trying to secure a place in history, to be a top ten band.”

Tracy Assing

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