WHEN singer/songwriter Gillian Moor wrote Big Snake (War on Crime) it was about the then 2002 crime plan called Operation Anaconda. However, 18 years later its lyrics still resonate.
War on Crime,
Waste of Time,
They storm the Ghetto,
PR Pappyshow, she sings in Big Snake (War on Crime).
The song is one of eight on Moor’s new album called Everchanging. It was released on July 25.
For her it is tragic that some 18 years later Big Snake’s lyrics are still so relevant in TT’s landscape.
In an interview with Newsday she said the album has been a labour of love for a long time.
Ravi Maharaj is the album’s producer and Moor said she wanted to work with him for a long time. Work on the album began in 2017 when MusicTT advertised that it was offering grants. She applied and got part funding for it. She also hosted other fundraisers such as a kickstarter called Crab Starter where people invested or pre-ordered albums and she also hosted an event called A Very Special Songshine based on her open mic series.
The series had been dormant for sometime but the fundraiser brought back some of the favourites over the years.
“Bit by bit we got all of the funding and I was able to work with some musicians I respect and admire a lot. Very creative, intuitive, sensitive musicians who were able to bring out what I have always wanted to do,” she said.
Moor said she would usually perform on guitar by herself and she’s had different iterations of bands over time but “in this album, I feel I was really able to flesh out the songs and give them a kind of new lease on life.”
Some of the songs on the album are some of her older pieces she’s performed over the decades and some are new. “It is a kind of retrospective of my career in a way, she added. The new songs are Crystal Angel and Let Love Be Free. The album is rich in Caribbean imagery and sound.
The album’s release with Big Snake on it comes at a time with many movements such as Black Lives Matter happening globally and locally.
Moor had some thoughts to share on that. For her, the police are there to protect and serve all. She added that she does not support criminality but there needs to be equal and fair treatment for all.
She added that the police “can’t just be wanting to protect and serve some and look at others as cockroaches, as people to be exterminated, people whose lives are not as valuable.
“When we take that kind of outlook, we start to criminalise whole communities, unjustly. That means we are throwing away some of our citizens. Instead of capturing their gift and their contribution,” she added.
She said TT’s young people could ask what it has given to them, when they are spoken about in that way. “What reason do they have to feel invested in our society? If we do not invest in them what is the consequence of that?”
She added there is a divide between the criminals and “we nice people” and many often do not see their own criminality such as paying bribes, drinking and driving or speeding and driving.
“We need to stop focusing on our differences. Our future depends on security for everybody, not just a few people.”
She said security was when everyone could eat food, when everyone could make a living and have enough and children could be educated in a way that would bring forth their gifts.
Moor began singing in 1992 as part of the 90s musical movement called the Kiskadee Karavan. She was part of the Homefront group.
Since then she has played in small gigs in Paris, London, Venezuela and Jamaica and as part of cultural exchanges.
Her open mic series Songshine – a way to highlight people’s talent – began in 2004. Then she was working as a journalist and was meeting a lot of talented people who had no outlet and she wanted to make a stage for that to happen.
Moor is waiting to start Songshine up again and she has a great new venue.
Growing up in the early 70s, she was influenced by the music and movement of that time and so she was steeped in Caribbean music in her early formative years. “That is who I am and that is what I have to give the world.”
Moor said when she talks to people in the music industry whose genre is not the popular kind, they no longer look to mainstream, established channels anymore.
The internet has opened up the world to people and, as a musician, she does not feel anyone owes her to play her music.
“It is my job to make something so excellent that you have to play it. That people just love it. I want to make music that makes people feel good. I want it to be irresistible…,” she said.
Moor said as long as she has music to give she is going to continue doing it.