"Truthfully Speaking - History, Music & Poetry"
by Walter Brown, Walter’s World Reporter
The Mid-Ocean News – Bermuda
Friday, March 8, 2002
Poet Peggy puts social ills in the spotlight in her new CD
“After the launching of her debut CD, entitled Truthfully Speaking: History, Music & Poetry, local
poet Peggy Burns’ red-hot topics have succeeded in bringing many of the island’s social ills to the forefront.
This totally local production is thought-provocative and the different musical genres that are evident in this project add to the crossover appeal.
While the album is roughly 30 minutes long, the 12 tracks are crammed full of life experiences from a local, street-wise perspective. The intro is by none other than social activist Dr. Eva Hodgson, who imparts valuable historical knowledge in this opening number.
An excerpt from Dr. Hodgson’s speech reads: “All Bermudians can have sympathy for those expatriates who have been exploited and then cast aside … but we need to remember that is a policy which has formed an essential aspect of the philosophy of Bermuda’s rulers.”
One word of warning, if you are easily offended or biased in your thinking, this is not the album to grace your collection. But if you are open-minded and not averse to constructive criticism, you can find the humor and insightful information in this carefully thought-out CD.
The Noise, written and performed by Cookie, featuring JB, eases the listener into an album where the artists shamelessly express themselves. I would be remiss in my duty if I were not to describe this album as a true piece of work worth of airplay! This track was inspired by Peggy Burns’ thoughts, and the artists featured on this number have indeed done it justice. As thorny as the subject may be, there is no profanity or any language that would label the album as prejudicial.
Beatnik’s Paradise is nothing short of smooth and the rap portion of the song has the unique Bermuda accent which features the likes of Nia, Desi and Scrappy. Expat 4 Ejected deals with a foreigner who expresses himself with the help of some liquid courage.
Waterviews is a jazzy cut that deals with the “haves and “have nots” as a disgruntled grassroots local talks about not being able to enjoy living in his own country as the prime real estate is snapped up by foreigners with fat bankrolls.
While the vocalist laments about being relegated to living “back of town next to an abandoned truck”, he neglects to show the positives “the back of town” has to offer. No matter how one slices it, this tune does have a profound impact on the listener.
Get Back should not be confused with The Beatles’ version of Get Back. This mid-tempo tune features Wendell (Shine) Hayward on sax, Nia and JB. This song brings to mind many of the songs from performers such as DeLa Soul and PM Dawn with a flowing rhythm that is easy on the ears.
Distress Signals is a lesson in history that either raises one’s hackles or gets a nod of approval, depending on which side of the tracks one comes from. The use of sound effects almost becomes distracting from the message in the music, but Mrs.Controversy, a name earned on the release of the CD, hammers home a
message not found in (local) history books.
The introduction takes on an almost inspirational tone with: “The Truth is God was here first! Twas He who conceived and planted the embryo in the Atlantic salt-bed, which later gave birth to the fishhook-shaped 21-square-mile land mass, Bermuda, and it was good!”
This artistic composition has the likeness of an oral interpretation of local history that Burns would like to see continue in our community. Her face became familiar during the public forums facilitated by the Progressive Labor Party regarding Bermuda’s long-term residents. The outcome or lack thereof, helped lay the
groundwork for the album.
Burns, who spoke at the first and second forums, added: “I had more to say, but those who did not have a chance to speak were allowed to speak at the other forums. So I wanted to express myself on this CD.”
Fortunately, the lyrics are printed on the album’s jacket, which allows the listener a greater appreciation for the lyrical content. One message that seemed to crop up was second-class citizenship that has been thrust upon locals by insensitive outsiders. Topics from affordable housing, a hotly contested issue, to the post-election change in Government, which many have called “the second emancipation”, are addressed.
Undaunted by the lack of airplay Mrs. Burns is hoping that the powers-that-be will soften their stance and play her songs. This cornucopia of history, music and poetry has been long overdue, and the title came through process of elimination, until the title Truthfully Speaking was chosen.
Whether or not one agrees with the views expressed in the CD it is a keeper and those willing to offer their feedback, request additional information or secure their own copy which has a little box on the back cover that says “collector’s item” can contact Mrs. Burns at 297-1624.
Kindly direct all enquiries to Shine Hayward at firstname.lastname@example.org