Friday, 27 February 2009

Terry Lynn

Like Grace Jones, but with guns and machetes.

A young woman slings a revolver over her shoulder while yardies brandishing blood-soaked machetes kick and stab at pigs in an abattoir. The girl is Terry Lynn, the most recent addition to Jamaica’s long history of musical exports and the shocking scene is taken from the music video to System - an electro-ragga stomp in which Lynn approaches the subject of police brutality. But despite flaunting violent imagery and posing with guns for promotional shoots, Lynn, as she informs me, is in fact a pacifist. "If you see me in a photo with a gun, it raises a platform to allow me to ask you the question: why guns? Why does Kingston have the highest murder rate per capita in the world?"

Fair enough, but is it necessary to show those pigs being slaughtered in a music video? "Crime and violence is too often not being investigated in a sensible manner," she argues, "it's as uncomfortable as watching animals being led to slaughter."

Terry Lynn's electro-house sound has a refreshing lack of the stereotypical chill out vibe common to Jamaican music, which isn't surprising, as she’s pretty critical of her contemporaries, with one notable exception – Grace Jones.

"There's so much mayhem going on in the local music scene, no direction, sense of purpose," Lynn laments. "But Grace Jones, to me she was the fore-bearer of this journey that I'm on. Life is a journey and the baton which she carried is a golden one."

Deep. Balls deep. Lynn is genuinely trying to engage with difficult issues that affect the people of her country. Her lyrics attack gangs, police, consumerism, politicians and the divide between rich and poor. With such political content you could be forgiven for mistaking her for an activist but Lynn does not see herself that way, she is more interested in her people than her government.

"I can tell you first hand that the change should come from the people," she intones seriously. "The greatest resource of any country is its people."

Published: The Stool Pigeon, March 2009

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