Where is Jamaican Music hiding in Sydney?

Dancehall Music1

There are many things you miss about Jamaica once you’ve immigrated to Australia:

The heat
The life on the streets
The flavourful food
The parties
The warmth of the people.

There is one thing that you yearn for, more than anything else. Something that can easily transport you to that sense of being at home and let you slip into memories of concerts, street and all-night sessions…It’s our music!!!

But where does one find the soft rhythm of reggae or the pounding bass of Dancehall away from the true music meccas of the world?

With a very small population of Caribbean people, it’s not surprising that unlike other major cities like New York, Jamaican music is not rife in the nightlife of Sydney or probably any other Australian city. To find it, you have to be connected, know the right people and the right places.

Here are some hot spots in Sydney to check out if you are on the prowl for a fix of Reggae or Dancehall:

Brighton Up Bar, 77 Oxford Street, occasionally hosts “Prescription” a Caribbean, Soca and Dancehall Club. It’s hosted by DJ Fariet Fasma, from Suriname, who has a minor obsession with Jamaican music, even though he’s not a ‘yardie’.https://www.facebook.com/BrightonUpBar

Goodgod Small Club, 55 Liverpool Street in Chinatown, occasionally hosts another popular night called “Dutty Dancing” – If you are looking for a solid mix of Dancehall tunes then this is the place where things can get real “mad”. http://www.goodgodgoodgod.com/

The Civic Hotel, corner Pitt and Goulburn Streets 388 Pitt Street, is a great stop for something more mellow. They’ve been hosting Reggae Mondays for years and it’s the longest running reggae event in Sydney. It features Caribbean Soul, a band with Australia’s top reggae musicians, Errol Renauls, Lisa Purmodh and Jarrol Renaud. Doors open at 10pm On Mondays and entry is free. It’s a night of cool swaying to classic reggae tunes.   http://www.civichotel.com.au/2013/01/30/reggae-mondays/

These are some of the more consistent gigs, if you keep your ear to the ground and ask around, you might find another few to get your dancehall and reggae kicks.

Let us know of others in Sydney or any other city and we’ll add them to our list.

First Market Stall Experience

Gordon Market1

Thinking of something you want to do but never seem to get it all together?

For some 18 months I contemplated having a market stall to promote my products locally. I researched the markets in Sydney, their prices and requirements. I discussed this with a friend as we responded to job ads. Then she got a part time job which left me thinking having a market stall was not a one woman act.

I kept busy attending free courses, workshops and boot camps organised by Council and various government agencies promoting small businesses. Then early September one of the business advisers challenged me to organise a market stall by myself. What an eye opener! I took the challenge on and immediately booked a market stall at Gordon for Sunday 12 October. Thanks Lisa.

Two day before I panicked, who was there to help me and how would I display my wares. I asked three friends, my mother-in-law and daughter for help. My daughter, mother-in-law and a friend agreed. What a relief, I would not be alone. Now want about props to display my goods? As a competent handy woman it was off to Bunnings to buy wood and paint to construct a yellow stand. I also bought a portable chair to give the feet a rest.

I forgot about pricing the goods and remembered it is best to pack before going to sleep. All ready I was in bed by 3am and up by 5am. Would 2 hours sleep be enough to last a day on my feet? Last minute my husband volunteered to transport me to and from the market allowing me to sleep during transit.

My daughter was there before 5:30am to help me set up then she took the photo. My mother-in-law helped me tend the stall and was my first customer. My friend arrived before mid-day and stayed to help me pack up.

What a day! I had forgotten my business card at home but gave out samples of the jerk seasoning with my website and contact details. $4.75 was left from sales after paying for the market stall. I have learnt from the experience and am busy preparing for my next market adventure on Sunday 9 November.

Visit me at the Gordon Markets on Sunday 9 November 2014 and let me take a photo with you to post on my blog. It will be second experience as a stall holder. The lessons learnt from my first will make me better prepared all round, thus the next pics will be better.

Christmas gift ideas will be on display so why not take a look. The Gordon Markets is located on the second floor of the Council Car Park in Wade Lane, between Gordon Railway Station and Gordon Shops on Pacific Highway.

See you then.

Tasted Ting Recently?


The name Ting is the Jamaican dialect for “thing”.

I remember growing up in Jamaica with Desnoes and Geddes (D&G) the main brewer and beverage producer. D&G’s flagship product was Red Strip Beer and they were designated the Jamaican bottler for Pepsi Cola, Heineken, Mackeson and other renown brands. I liked the D&G beverages with my favourite by a narrow margin being Cream Soda.

Ting, a Grapefruit Crush soft drink, was launched by D&G in 1976. Made locally with Jamaican sourced grapefruit, Ting was soon being exported to more than 20 other countries, beginning with Barbados. Ting and Old Jamaica Ginger Beer, another naturally based beverage, were successfully introduced to the United Kingdom in 1988. By 1999 D&G sold its soda pop plant to the Pepsi Cola (Jamaica) Bottling Company to concentrate on its brewing business. Ting sales soared over the next two year.

Ting is a carbonated grapefruit beverage popular in the Caribbean. Flavoured with Caribbean grapefruit juice concentrate, it is both tart and sweet. Ting contains a small amount of sediment consisting of grapefruit juice pulp. Grapefruit has a juiciness that rivals the ever popular orange and sparkles with many of the same health promoting benefits. Although available throughout the year, grapefruits are in season and at their best from winter through early spring. Grapefruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, a vitamin that helps to support the immune system.

Grapefruits usually range in diameter from four to six inches and include varieties that have seeds or are seedless and that are pink or white. The wonderful flavour of a grapefruit is like paradise as is expressed by its Latin name, Citrus paradisi.

Tasted a Ting recently? Why not take a trip down memory lane, as I did, and treat yourself to a cool Ting. It is great with spicy food.

Never tasted a Ting? Then time for a little adventure. Buy and give it a try.

To buy view: Ting 

Jamaica and Trinidad Independence Lunch in Sydney 2014

On August 6th, 2014 – Jamaicans had a lot to celebrate:
The 180th anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery
The 70th Anniversary of the New Constitution to end the Crown Colony
The 100th Anniversary of the Universal Negro Movement
And 52 years as an Independent Nation.

A few days later on August 31th, Trinidadians will follow suit, with a similar form of feting. They will be reveling in the fact that it’s been 52 years since the Union Jack (British flag) was lowered and the Trinidad and Tobago flag was raised for the first time.

Far away from the cacophony of music, dancing, costume parading and cook-ups in our respective homelands, the Jamaican and Trinidadian community in Sydney came together in the true sense of Caribbean commaderie to mark these occasions.

Hosted by Jamaican Hope Kidd for the 4th year running, 35 Jamaicans, Trinidadians and their families and friends came together to remember and celebrate our strength and progress as Caribbean people.

Jonkanoo Caribbean Joint in Surry Hills was the perfect spot for the occasion: the recently opened restaurant welcomed us with its warm Caribbean décor that unleashed a flood of memories of home.

The afternoon started with a complimentary and delightful Sorrel drink and was officially opened with Grace by Yvonne Chapman from Jamaica. The Honorary Jamaican Consul Marco Breakenridge, delivered a comedic commemorative piece on the history of Jamaica and Dr. Bill Milne-Home did the same for Trinidad.

As the patties, doubles, rice and peas, curry goat, jerk chicken and mackerel was served and then savoured, the afternoon languished Caribbean style.

Stories about our home countries and how we find ourselves living 16,500 km from our tropical birthplaces were curiously shared. Mutual friends discovered and Sydney survival tips exchanged.

One of the highlights of the afternoon was a lively and jovial trivia that tested our knowledge on what we thought we knew about “home”.

As the celebration drew to a mid-afternoon close, bellies were lusciously filled, new friends were made and a day of remembering was joyously lodged in our hearts.

Hopefully, we won’t have to wait another year for another glorious Caribbean gathering like this!

Happy Independence Day Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago

Independence Celebration


A Celebration for Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago Independence Days is scheduled in Sydney for 10 August 2014 from 12 noon to 4pm.

This is a chance to celebrate Independence as well as medals won at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Jamaica gained independence from the United Kingdom on August 6, 1962. As the clock struck midnight on August 5, 1962, the strains of the national anthem were heard for the first time while Union Jacks were lowered and the Jamaican flag unveiled. The event is celebrated on the 1st Monday of August as National Day in Jamaica.

Trinidad and Tobago gained its independence from Great Britain on August 31st, 1962. At midnight on 30th August, 1962, the Union Jack (British flag) was lowered and the Trinidad and Tobago flag was raised for the first time. Trinidad and Tobago achieved its status as a Republic in 1976.

Both countries mark their Independence Day by celebrations that include honouring outstanding achievements of citizens in various fields.

The $55.00 set menu does not include drinks. The menu includes some Jamaican and Trinidad & Tobago favourites of patties, soused mackerel, Trini carnival doubles, curry goat (gf), jerk chicken (gf, served with tropical slaw), pumpkin – broad bean – callaloo coconut curry (gf), peas ‘n rice (gf), mixed leaf salad.

Bookings closed on 27 July 2014.

Contact Us if you are interested in attending next year.

What is Pimento?


Pimento is used extensively in cooking to give food that distinctive Jamaican flavour.

The smell of pimento conjures the combined flavours and aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Because of its flavour and aroma you may know pimento as all spice. It is also known as Jamaica Pepper.

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Christopher Columbus, who was credited with discovering the New World – but if you ask me he was lost – on his second voyage to the area encountered Arawaks in Jamaica using pimento in cooking. This resulted in the introduction of pimento into European and Mediterranean cuisines in the 16th century.

To protect the pimento trade initially the plant was guarded against export from Jamaica, however it is now grown commercially in many tropical areas.