GRAMMY AWARD winner Orville “Shaggy” Burrell gets it about the Arts. He thoroughly understands the outworkings of combining performing, literary and visual arts. Sometimes referring to himself as a big child, the the platinum selling reggae artiste with curved lips resembling that of a bird’s beak, undertook the title role as “Shaggy Parrot” in the recent book “Shaggy Parrot and the Reggae Band.”
The book is the brainchild of another renowned singer Jana Bent, whose brother Rupert Bent 111 created the CD’s music. Being the manager of Sean Paul’s band, Badda Banz, he incorporates other members. In September 2008, the book was added to Jamaica’s Early Childhood Curriculum Resource List, and on January 7, 2009 the book was launched at the Kingston and St Andrew Parish library. Through the book, both visual and performing arts compliment each other.
The colourful illustrations by Trinidadian, John Mendes, teach about Jamaica’s coasts, and indegenious sea creatures, musical instruments in a Reggae Band, and limited reggae dance steps. But then you can get a glimpse of typical dressing of Jamaicans in a reggae scene from the Coral Line dance crew. Following the audio CD, where the narrator leads you through the book, you also learn about harmony of notes and musical instruments. On the other hand, through the literary skills of the writers, there are many lessons on the respect, harmony in nature and the environment. The writing team include Shaggy’s girlfriend Rebecca Packer, Kellie Magnus and Ireland-born Veronica Salter Ph.D.
Although Shaggy Parrot(Shaggy) is the obvious title role, being the one to lead his sea creature friends in keeping the waterfall, Laughing Waters clean, it is Swimpy the Shrimp, who comes through as a real star. He teaches about achievement through perseverance. He doesn’t stop nagging Shaggy until he is allowed to sing in the Reggae Band, and his song turns out to be one of the best on the CD. At the book’s launch, Ambassador Denis Kingsley reiterated support from the Canadian government to “Edutainment” the concept of education and entertainment being explored in Jamaica through the book. Children who often get caught in illustrating the book, and joining Swimpy’s “Clean it Up”, often draw tears from their listeners. “Clean it Up”, the track from the book’s CD guides and encourages residents to keep the shores clean.