I think I should talk about us getting Orange Sky to perform at our big rally. They obviously see the vision of the Alliance, and it makes sense that Orange Sky be the band that performed for us. The reason the sky was orange? It was the colour thanks to the rising sun. Mr. Rojas and I have been friends for a long time. Nigel came to me one day. He was telling me about wanting to start this band and had to come up with a name. I had suggested “Dead Balisierz,” “C.E.P.O.O.P,” and “Hartless Valley” but we decided to go with the UNC theme, rising sun. Thus, Orange Sky was born.
I would like to take this opportunity to again thank, publicly, the band for their showing faith in the future of the country. Countries. Countrii? I usually forget about Tobago? I just remembered I would have to deal with the pain in the ass THA. I think we’ll go through with the idea of selling them to Barbados. More on that another time, if the readers are interested.
Again, thanks Orange Sky.
Would you vote for a party that has the support of moderately successful Orange Sky? Or go for other parties who have radio jingles?
I think the country is really getting what it is I am saying, thanks to the blog. My country, you are welcome.
By Gail Alexander
Some people just don’t get it.
Nigel Rojas is shaking his head in resignation (and the massive “dreds” bob along.)
“We’ll take the licks,” he muses.
“I knew even before Orange Sky took on the job of appearing at UNC rallies that people who are obviously supporters of other parties would take it personally…be annoyed at what we’re doing and would criticise us.”
“But that’s what democracy’s about: freedom of choice.
“I imagine people who are hitting our UNC appearances are passionate about their belief in other parties. We respect such obvious loyalities. But we stand our ground.”
Rojas isn’t behind a microphone. He’s in Tobago, prepping for a UNC rally at Macoya’s Centre of Excellence on Sunday.
Away from the high energy atmosphere of the stage, he’s philosophical as he defends the popular band’s appearances at UNC campaign rallies, a major drawing card.
To local music aficionados, Rojas is a larger than life figure with voice and talent to match.
Orange Sky—Rojas on lead vocals, his brother Nicholas (bass), keyboardist Richard Hall, drummer Obassi Springer and percussionist Clive Griffith—has had a following since the ’90s.
The local rock band grew from northern roots to acquire a hardcore countrywide following with its mix of pithy lyrics, hard-hitting, polished sound and energetic performances.
It was the UNC which cottoned on to the magic of the OS brand and grabbed it before other political parties could get hold.
And Rojas has no regrets about the situation.
PNM “at heart”
“I don’t think Patrick Manning or the PNM is evil,” Rojas said.
“Dr Eric Williams is one of my all-time heroes…I love him. I’m PNM in my heart.
“If Williams was alive today, I feel he’d support UNC’s vision for love and unity…Because that’s what it’s really all about.”
Since March, Rojas’ lyric writing began assuming a political bent after he went through a grinder of experiences.
“My son was in hospital, and it made me realise my country had become a Fifth World state,” he said.
“You have a huge picture of the Health Minister on a wall, but you have to bring everything—down to toilet paper—with you.”
His family’s experience as victims of crime during a Balandra weekend also lent to his perspective.
“T&T is a paradise but it’s turned into a Paro-dise because people have become paranoid…You can’t leave a door unlocked,” Rojas said.
“You can’t go round the Savannah for a coconut.”
From his experiences came Rough and Tumble, Wicked System and Meditation, which cites the failure of the powers-that-be.
“The vibe in the street is for change…People picked up on our lyrics,” Rojas said.
“When UNC contacted us, they said the Chaguanas rally was basically a peace concert with Martin Luther King Jr’s son and Gandhi Foundation representatives.
“It was in that spirit we agreed to perform.
“We shared their opinion on peace and change…so it was inevitable.”
Proud to be part of Jack’s vision
“The river’s course has taken us to the political side,” Rojas said.
“It’s breaking ground…We’re going with it.
“Fans of our six records understand what we’re really about. They see us a musical force appealing to anyone.”
Rojas’ take on the situation goes further:
“T&T is a ‘festival’ society…You have entertainment in the midst of various events.
“When you bring people home, you offer them refreshments to break the ice,” he said.
“Music is that sort of unifying force that lends to a political gathering. That’s where we come in. It’s work for us.”
While not disclosing the remuneration, Rojas added: “I’m very proud to be part of Jack Warner and Basdeo Panday’s vision of a unified T&T… I’m not in the habit of making decisions irrationally.
“Musicians appear five times more passionately than other individuals…But this is what we do,” he said.
“I have no problem if people say things about me…it’s all about the music.”
Orange Sky is scheduled to tour Europe in December and is also preparing for Joey Sabeeney’s concert featuring rock giants Kansas and Blue Oyster Cult at Pier 1 on November 3.
Meantime, completing the UNC “circuit,” Rojas said:
“When the smoke clears, we’ll all move on…”