Living on the Rock: band No Longer My Burden
from Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands are located South of Cuba and West of Jamaica in the Caribbean Sea and consists of three small islands surrounded by turquoise sea and white sands. As a visitor to the island, you’d expect to hear the sounds of the Caribbean through steel pan or reggae bands, whilst sipping your rum cocktail through a straw in a fresh coconut, but you may be surprised.
Grand Cayman is the largest of the three sister islands and is approximately 22 miles long and the widest point of the island is 8 miles wide. It has a multinational society due to approximately half of the island’s population being expatriates. Naturally this brings with it an eclectic mix of music and musicians from reggae, hip hop, classical, jazz, country to rock. For such a small island, there is interest and a following of rock music and as a result, there is an emerging scene with a plethora of bands writing, performing and recording original music, all in the name of rock.
THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS SO PERFECT, DESPITE THE IDYLLIC LANDSCAPE AND ISLAND LIFE
One of the newest bands born from this scene is NLMB (No Longer My Burden), female fronted rock band with a mix of American, British and South African musicians all living, working and scuba diving in the Cayman Islands. NLMB plays an interesting fusion of melodic vocal lines over hard, heavy rock.
The band started two and half years ago when Mac (Brian) McDermit, a drummer from Wolverhampton moved back to the island. As a rock session musician and ex-drummer from Adrenaline Kick, a heavy metal band from the 80s, he was keen to start playing music on the island and was introduced to Natalie Barber.
Natalie, a Cornish musician, had been living on the island for five years and was known for playing jazz saxophone and doing vocals/keyboards with a show band on the island. Mac heard that Natalie had started writing rock tunes and was interested in trying out a few of her songs with musician friends. It was obvious they they were onto something when Natalie’s pretty piano songs were sabotaged by Mac’s rock arranging ideas to create a new, interesting sound. They sought out fellow rockers that would be the perfect fit for the project and started writing together with friend and guitarist James Gibb (South African / Caymanian). James knew the perfect bass player, Scot Schmitt (Michigan USA) who loves and plays heavy and after a year of writing and rehearsing, his old friend and band mate, guitarist Jeremy Conyers (Louisiana, USA) joined NLMB and was the missing link bringing his heavy metal guitar lines.
Living in the Caribbean, one would not expect tales of woe through song writing as the expectation is that everything is paradise, but the lyrics of NLMB suggest that things are not always so perfect, despite the idyllic landscape and island life. No Longer My Burden stemmed from the lyrical nature of the songs of letting go of the nonsense in life and moving onwards and upwards.
Their songs include songs called Alone, Cloak and Dagger and I Don’t Care to name a few. Alone is about a metaphorical chrysalis and needing space to recover from life and love lost, needing time and space to heal; Cloak and Dagger is about deception and the longing for honesty and the truth; I don’t care is an ironic song about perception and the “box” that we are sentenced to and having the courage to say “no”. Ultimately, most of the songs are about letting go of the past, broken hearts, expectation of others and moving on.
You can have a taste of NLMB’s music by visiting their FaceBook page “No Longer My Burden” or to find out where else in the world they will be playing next, as with connections in three different continents, who knows where you will see them in the future.