The Joy Of Life
By: Gregory Lewin 12/5/2013
On September 30, 1998 God blessed me with the joy of life then again on October 30, 2013 fifteen years later I got the greatest gift I could ever dream of. How grateful for such a blessing. I thank you God for all your blessings.
Blessing comes in many different ways. For example, each day I wake up it’s a blessing, each day that I still have the strength and the ability to perform my duties in my everyday life and at work, it’s a blessing. Each day that I can talk and wish someone a great day is a blessing for me. Just the thought of being able to dream is a great blessing for me. Just having my two arms to hug my son and to kiss him each and every morning and tell him “I love you son, never forget that” is such a blessing.
But the main blessing I am writing about is the one of friendship; a friendship that was developed on the premise of unconditional love, a friendship between two people, one much older than the other. I am talking about a friendship where one has gone through the ups and downs of life already and the other just starting out on that journey. I am talking about a friendship for which you would give your life for the other with no questions asked.
It is so satisfying when you can openly ask, how was your day today? What did you do? What did you learn today? Just being able to ask that someone these few simple questions, brings happiness and excitement to see the big genuine smile and the elation on their face when they are about to share their accomplishment for the day.
Such friendship I share with my 15 year old son Devon. Since the day he was born we have been inseparable, each and every day we share a hug and a kiss and tell each other how much we love the other. As the commercial say “PRICELESS.” We’ve been traveling together since he was six months old. He applied for his first own frequent flyer miles account with AA and every other airline that we flew. I can vividly remember how he laid on my chest and listen to my heartbeat, this seems to calm him down whenever he was fussy and off to sleep he goes. “PRICELESS.”
I ENJOY BEING A FATHER TO MY SON.
Devon and I are like brothers, friends and one of my toughest critics. I give him his space as he is older now, but I can vividly remember how I used to pick him up and dance to the music I was playing and see the laughter and joy on his face as we danced around to the song. He used to look forward to me picking him up in my arms to dance a mix of reggae and soca. I can vibrantly see the smile each time we go around in a circle. I’ll NEVER forget those wonderful days.
I am a father to my son first and foremost. I take pride in knowing that no one or nothing that anyone can say or do can come between us. The bond and love we have for each other way outlast anything any one can try to do to tear us apart. And with this I can say to all fathers out there, love your children unconditionally. You will never know when that love is needed to guide you on through life and you will never regret it. Start forging that loving relationship early on in life. I know most of us do but for those who don’t trust me, you need to start and I promise you, you will have peace knowing that your child loves you no matter what. Instill in them the principles of life. In my world that is being humble, generous, giving a helping hand, not being selfish, not living for tomorrow but instead giving today what you can, respect and love for God and caring.
Parenting does start when the need arises to some, but in reality it should be there from the start, it should be natural. You should feel no pressure being a parent. I love the thought of being a father and a friend to my son. It's fun when we go on bike rides and he can make it up the hill and I have to walk my bike up the hill and he laughs at me. When he can explain to me certain things I’ve read about and just don’t get it ….smart. When he makes fun of my pronunciation of the word "Genre" "PRICELESS". When he eats everything I cook him and then turns to me and ask "dad, why don't you open a restaurant? "AMAZING" or when we travel together and I can get us through the TSA Pre-Check line where we don't have to remove our shoes, belts and jackets or laptops from our bags and to see him smile and say "cool dad, sweet" or when I surprised him by taking him to Seattle to see the Redskins and the Seahawks game or when we both challenge each other at the amusement park on the roller coaster or to see him in amazement when I took him to the job that I held for the past 16 years and he sees how important my role was as he learnt that I was one who knew way in advance when the President of the United States was preparing for a trip and I played a vital role in ensuring all the satellite phones are in working conditions before Airforce 1 takes off, or me writing the lyrics to "Bluefields The Land We Love" or "Christmas Letter" for Pat Ross and other hit songs, or just simple sitting together at the airport watching a football game waiting on a connection is all the joy in my life. These are just a tiny fraction of what I consider quality time with my son, my friend.
Life is full of challenges, some nice, some not so nice and therefore, we must maintain an open dialogue with our children in order to make them feel comfortable talking to us about whatever may be bothering them. Our children should not fear us and should not be intimated by us, but should have a trust that they can talk to us and seek our advice as they move on in life. Our children should not be afraid of bringing home a grade not acceptable to us but instead they should have the courage based on the relationship that was forged earlier on to say “Hey, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I’ll try harder next time”.
I thank God that my son sees me as the greatest Dad in the world. I am happy that because of our bond he sees me as a Dad that he can talk to, a Dad that he is not afraid of or intimidated by, a Dad who understands and listen to what he has to say then who offers his fatherly opinion. I love asking him why he loves his Daddy so much and to hear him say Dad, because you have done so much for others and have accomplished so much and then he names my accomplishments one by one. I never thought that he was paying such detailed attention to things I was doing. “PRICELESS”
We talk about everything, the value of money, respect for others no matter the age, the importance of helping others when you can, to do your very best at school and be happy with the result if at the end you did try your very best, the importance of knowing how to give constructive criticism and know when to say No. The importance of simple saying “thank you”, Thank you God for the greatest gift of life.
Many years ago I wrote this poem for my son to read when he woke up as I was getting ready to travel. I’d like to share it with all of you.
Tears once flows down my face
And so I asked God to grant me happiness
My sadness was very easy to trace
I was living with such emptiness
I asked God daily to send me an angel
An angel who will play sweet songs for me
An angel who will ring sweet bells
An angel who will make me happy
I cried until I had no more tears to cry
I felt like my world was coming down
How I wished I had wings to fly
I kept asking why?
Then came you into my life
The joy I had so longed for
You brought me joy and happiness
Now you are all I live for
You are the reason I wake up every day
You are the reason I am so happy in every way
You are my sunshine, my rain and my stars
I love you whether you are near or far
Devon, you are my happiness
My God given gift
You are a package of sweetness
You are my son
And for you my life will always go on my son
I love you with all my heart, don’t ever forget that.
From Daddy to Devon my loving son.
Music Saved Me!
By: Gregory Lewin 09/29/2013
Sometimes life throws some of the greatest challenges at us to see how well we can handle them. How well we can put one and two together and crack the code to find the message hidden within the secret messages. Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we don’t. It all comes down to determination and the goals we want to achieve in life.
Sometimes life’s destiny takes us to another land to pursue our dreams and put our greatest potential to work, our God given talent and strength. Sometimes the road may seem dark and lonely but hanging tight and letting life takes its course may yield some of the greatest achievements.
All comes at a price, sometimes we have to drop friendships because of their negativity even family members may have to go at times in order for one to pursue their dreams as there is no rewind in life. You cannot say you’ll do it next time around, life is one.
I strongly believe everyone has a purpose in life and you must dig deep within to find that purpose. Who knows? Your purpose maybe to help the poor, adapt a animal, volunteer at an elderly home and so on. You just cannot live and wake up each day without doing anything other than pleasing yourself. You are here for a purpose and if you cannot find your purpose don’t try to hinder another’s purpose in life. Your purpose maybe to write and sing beautiful lyrics as it is with Caribinghi, a remarkable young man who has taken the music industry by storm far away from his homeland.
Caribinghi hailed from the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, born to a native from Tasbapauni and a Swedish father. At a very young age he migrated to Sweden with his parents. One would think life would be like a street paved with gold and diamonds but it wasn’t easy for Caribinghi as he faced many adversities in his young life but instead of falling victim he looked to music to overcome them.
This young man is an example of what we all have deep inside of us. He found his purpose deep within and decided it was time to pursue it. He is well respected in the music industry in Europe and has had the opportunity to showcase his Nicaraguan roots being the opening act for many renowned reggae artists from Jamaica.
When I first heard the track “Hold On” I was taken to another land. Could this artist who sings like many of the Jamaican artists really be from our beloved Caribbean coast? His lyrics are prophetic and are spot on. I am sure when many of you listened to this track you will find that within you there is a purpose and you may start pursuing that purpose. “Hold on to your dreams and don’t let them get you down”
When I learned that this gifted and talented young man has Nicaraguan blood running through his veins I had to track him down as I had to get a sense of his frame of mind when he sits down to write his lyrics. It was one of the greatest achievements of my life to have had the opportunity to interview Caribinghi and now it is my pleasure to share this with you. I hope each of you find this an inspiration to help you find your talent and purpose in life.
Before posting Caribinghi sent us his latest release "DEVINE"
Videos: "Hold On" and "Devine"
Pulse: Tell us who is Caribinghi (Malcolm Caribinghi Clarence Hodgland)?
Caribinghi: Who is caribinghi.. good question. Caribinghi is an independent artist, everything I am today and everything I have I ‘ve worked hard for, and nobody could take that from me.
I’m a husband, loving father, good friend, reacher, preacher, achiever & a great dancer (jokes) im very humble towards everyone I meet. But if u handle me the scissors I will cut u off ( Guess I got that attribute from my mother lol) still I’m never judgmental. I love cookin, reading books, good documentaries & of course Makin Music.
Pulse: Your facebook profile says that you were born in Bluefields, Nicaragua to a native Caribbean mother , could you tell us a little about your parents, who are they and how have they influenced your life?
Caribinghi: Well my Mother’s name is Nelly Clarence Crawford she was born in Tasbapauni, Daughter to Malcolm Clarence Crawford (my grandfather whom I got my name from) & Armonia Clarence Crawford ( My loving Grandmother)
Later on they moved to bluefields my mother is the oldest one with 6 siblings.
My father is Ingemar Hogland, He left Sweden at the age of 20 to work for different Help organizations as a Water Driller all around the world. Most of his years of work he’s been in Africa, about 16 years he has spent in Africa to later on work in Latin America and finally settled down in Nicaragua. At the time he met my mother he worked at the goldmine in Limon. They got married and she gave birth to me and my older brother (he also lives here) so after a couple years they decided to move to Sweden.
Today my father is a retired man and lives with my mother in Dalarna “the valleys” (where I grew up) a small village here in Sweden called Bengtsbo. It is located Countryside and mostly surrounded with farmers and cattle. I was only 3 years old when we moved to Sweden so u could say I was raised in this country but my mother made sure from day 1 that me and my brother wouldn’t forget our heritage so She only spoke creole with us and only read us books in English.
When we moved here, Sweden was a very Rich country with no financial problems at all. My father didn’t want us to get spoiled like other kids so he taught us to work hard for what we wanted. He started his own water drilling company and had me and my brother working with him every summer to give us good work ethics. And I thank him for that.
My mother went to school to learn Swedish and kept on studying until she got her Professors masters degree. Today she is a school teacher, and teaches Spanish & English. She has always been a caring mother, she gave us lots of strength and lots of love, taught us to stand up for ourselves and never give in to peoples ignorance.
Sweden didn’t have a lot of immigrants at the time, and me and my brother faced lots of racism everyday at school and the teachers didn’t give it any attention at all. I can remember one day comin home cryin and my mother just couldn’t bare anymore, so she told us to beat up the next kid that mentioned anything about our skin color. And we did. all of a sudden we were the popular kids at school haha.
Pulse: What part of Bluefields did you lived in before migrating to Sweden
Caribinghi: Actually we lived in Managua, but my family is from Three Cross and many of dem are still there.
Pulse: When did you migrate to Sweden? 1989
Pulse: How old were you when you left Bluefields?
Caribinghi: I was 3 years
Pulse: Have you been back to Bluefields since you left?
Caribinghi: Of course! Back and forth, but its been 4 years now since I last went. Plane tickets from this side of the world are very expensive!
Pulse: You mentioned that you used music to get away from the harsh reality of your surroundings in the area you grew up in and to keep you out of trouble, can you elaborate a little more on this?
Caribinghi: Yes, well as I mentioned before Sweden had lots of racism at the time so when I reached high school fights would get more brutal and everyone had their own “gangs” From being the only immigrants at school more and more started to come. And racism grew with that. So I guess by “nature” all of us with non Swedes were drawn to each other. We had all kinds of nationalities in our “crew”, Africans, Indians, Caribbean, Asians, Gipsy’s, Latin, middle eastern, and of course Swedes too. By the time we were done with school u could say we were one of the most fierce “gangs” in our city. With a network of friends from 3-4 different cities, cuz that’s all it actually was, we didn’t portray us as a “Gang” we were all just friends lookin out for each other and yes we might have committed crimes but we would never hurt innocent people. We chased away Nazi organizations from our cities and if someone had a problem we dealt with it. Period. Drugs was flowing everywhere and after some years friends got greedy and bad things started to happen, some overdosed, some got locked up, some went missing and I guess all of that just was too much for me. I didn’t know what my future would look like, either dead or locked up so I started writing down my feelings on paper, recorded my first song at a friends house and I guess that was the start of my career. Music Saved me. It gave me the right tools I needed to get out of my misery. It became my therapy.
Pulse: Which artist influences you?
Caribinghi: Wow, good one. Lots of artists! I can mention some that have influenced me thru the years., Lucky Dube, Bob Marley, Supercat, Sizzla, Capleton, Buju, Gappy ranks, Tracy Chapman, Joyce Bond, Ninja Man, Yellow Man, Don Carlos ,Tupac, Biggie, Michael Jackson, Audra mae, Busy Signal…. The list goes on
Pulse: As I listen to your hit song “Hold On” I must ask what was going through your mind when you wrote the lyrics and what motivated you to write such beautiful lyrics and what exactly is the message you want your listeners to take away from it?
Caribinghi: I give thanks for your kind words. I recorded that song at 05:00 in the morning, I remember it was raining that morning when I woke up. I was visiting my parents home in the valleys so I slept on the top floor and outside my window I could hear the rain shatter on the terrass rooftop below, and I just couldn’t get back to sleep. So, I figured maybe I had to get some thoughts out of my head. I rigged up my portable studio and just had my words flow straight from the top of my head. I didn’t write down anything, I just had my inner voice speak & a hour later HOLD ON was done. I guess the message I wanted to give is just keep up the faith, Hold on to that dream or thing that u strive for, life has its ups and downs and if u find urself in a hole then stop digging. Theres a saying that I love
“Joy wouldn’t feel so nice if it wasn’t for pain, sunshine wouldn’t be essential if it wasn’t for rain”
and that’s what its all about… LIFE BALANCE, we are all part of the same puzzle.
I can’t tell you how to figure out your part of the puzzle, No one but urself can do that, Free up ur mind and find ur own balance. I have to Bigup my brethrens ONE DROP MUSIC from down south for that riddim BIG RIDDIM and a BIG PRODUCTION as always!
Pulse: The majority of your lyrics deals with the everyday struggles of life, what frame of mind are you in when you sit down to write?
Caribinghi: Its kind of funny u mentioning it, I never thought of it before until recently when my friend “manager” asked me the other day. Hard to say really, I guess I’ve seen a lot thru these years and my head has been telling me to get it out. To tell u all the truth, I don’t write down lyrics anymore, I just listen to my inner voice and I record it right away, if sumtn doesn’t feel or sound right I go back and record it again until it speaks back to me.
Pulse: When writing, what comes first music or lyrics?
Caribinghi: Both, sometimes the riddim tells u what to do, and other times u just take the lead and make the riddim follow. So a mixture of both I'd have to say.
Pulse: what was it like to open for Mr. Vegas?
Caribinghi: It was Great! Even thou am not a big fan of him it was great. He has many hit songs so it was all good promotion for me as well, and I have to say it was maybe one of the best performances from my side. I was suppose to open for Sizzla too during his visit here in Sweden but the Gay community threatened to make a riot so the club owner cancelled the show and it started a big debate here in Sweden which led nowhere. So they had me opening for Mavado instead which also was a great experience.
Pulse: Do you have any plans to do a show in Bluefields in the near future to showcase your talent to your natives?
Caribinghi: Well am planning to take my daughter there next year so she can experience the vybe and meet her relatives. And if someone wants to have me for a show I’m more than happy.
Pulse: Are you currently touring ?
Caribinghi: Nope, I have taken a year of so I can focus more on my family and my musical growth. But now am ready to get back out there, Im almost done with my new mixtape and Album so currently we are working on some new videos to promote the new style I have developed.
Pulse: Tell us who or what is the most important in your life and why
Caribinghi: I’d have to say my wife, Daughter and my whole family. Becoming a father and having a loving family is the biggest blessing in my life. To wake up every morning and see ur wife next to you and ur daughters smile when she sees that ur up, That’s Love