Roland “Rembunction” Yearwood is not quite the contemporary type. While he enjoys and has worked on the music of the now, it is the vintage classic that holds his heart. He demonstrates this well in his latest offering Dance Calypso, a song that pays tribute to the olden days of the genre and those who pioneered it.
The single was done on a Mighty Duke original rhythm from the song, The Portrait, released by Duke in 1978 from his The Natural Duke Album. Today, Yearwood chats with the Sunday Guardian about his new single and other projects he's working on.
Is this just a single or is it the first of your offerings for the 2019 Carnival Season?
This is a single crafted to make you dance and maybe learn a 'lil something—a mini calypso history lesson, it's not specifically geared to the Carnival season but it certainly fits into that space as well.
The song is particularly paying tribute to the calypso art form, its genesis, and its pioneering founding men and women. Why did you feel you needed to raise this history in song in 2018? And was it penned by you?
Yes, penned by me quite some time ago. I decided to release it as a single because knowledge of history is necessary for growth and evolution. I've been working to fine tune my modern take on calypso for a while; this song is in that vein.
Who is responsible for the creativity and digital effects which were seen in this vintage-styled video?
Everything in the video was conceptualised and executed by me.
What are some of Rembunction's other projects that are happening right now?
A few more music video projects are in the works for my music as well as other artistes, some corporate client work, I have some more stuff planned with my puppet characters, some new animation is on stream as well...all to be revealed in due course
You're the big brother of Olatunji Yearwood who just had some success on the UK talent show The X-Factor, in his performance he says "big up meh big brother Rembunction". You are both performers and came from a lineage of music and theatre. What was your input in your brother participating in this competition and how certain were you he would have made it past his audition?
Ola and I have collaborated on songs in the past and are currently working on new stuff as well. Apart from that, sometimes we share our solo ideas for critique and feedback and I recently worked with him on the video production for the very same "Bodyline" single. He told me about the X-Factor when it was already midstream but I have full confidence in that fella, he's an amazing performer with incredible stage presence, so he was bound to make an impression. Some say risky, but I think it was a brilliant move on the part of him and his team.
What's missing from the local music industry?
A real industry.
The song is titled "Dance Calypso". Do we have an official dance?
I ain't no dancer boy, but I gave it a danceable vibe so everyone can do his or her 'lil two steps to it and hey, if anybody wants to make up a dance for it, sure, why not?
You mentioned many calypso stalwarts in this song, but do you have a personal favourite whom you viewed as a mentor?
Several are my musical mentors for their vocal styling, storytelling, originality, humour, and charisma, but Kitchener, Sparrow, Duke, Nelson, and Rudder are definitely in my top ten.
How much research went into putting this song and video together?
Quite a bit actually, it took some time to write.
Are we going to get some more vintage-styled music from Rembunction?
Definitely. I have experimented with it in the past on songs like "Rick", "Going back to Trinidad", and "Ah Digging Horrors", and I have lots of unreleased material that explore the style...so stay tuned.