Coffee Cup Conversations
Eating out and listening to good music! Just two things that form part of a popular night out, week in – week out, here in North Cyprus. “It’s not often you can go to an Indian restaurant and be serenaded by a talented singer, but in the TRNC this is the norm,” says local guitarist and vocalist Jamie Vincent. I was lucky enough to catch up with Jamie recently, and it was a great pleasure to hear him strum a few chords on his guitar as he sung some classic tunes that I know for sure go down well with the music loving population on the island.
Known to his fans as “The Man In Black,” Jamie is often recognised and greeted by his listeners wherever he goes, even if he isn’t wearing his trademark black. When I asked him if he was inspired by the original “Man In Black” singer, Johnny Cash, he told me that the story behind his outfit was very plain and simple. “It’s my uniform!” he exclaims. His cupboard at home is full of black trousers and shirts, and so when he’s out there live on stage he doesn’t have to think about what to wear or about costume changes. That’s not to say that he’s not a fan of the real man in black, but he has a wide repertoire. Jamie plays all kinds of music to suit all tastes, and often sings the songs that he can also play his guitar to.
Jamie works under the All Stars Agency banner and has only been on the island for a few months. He left the UK about six years ago and moved to Turkey; living for a while in the holiday town of Fethiye. Then, after hearing about good work opportunities and the welcoming hospitality of the Turkish Cypriots he and his wife decided to pack up and move to the TRNC. Under the guidance of his agency and with his wife supporting him as his booking agent, Jamie has become a sought after name in the industry. He gets bookings to play at various locations but he also has a couple of regular gigs. One of them is a Sunday night set at Tolga’s Restaurant in Lapta. Whilst Jamie literally sings for his supper, he does it, not for the money, but for the pleasure he gets out of being a musician. His music also extends to supporting worthwhile causes and charities in the TRNC, and most recently he played to an enthusiastic crowd at the Sea Angle Bar in Çatalköy to raise money and create awareness for the very popular “Hope 4 Pets North Cyprus” Facebook group.
Finally, if he isn’t sitting on the stage under the spotlight singing his heart out, Jamie can be found giving guitar lessons at the Food Lodge Bakery & Bistro, again in Çatalköy. Every Thursday morning a group of friends meet there to learn new songs and to dust the cobwebs off their old guitars that had previously been left lying at the bottom of their wardrobes! Jamie teaches people of all ages and all levels, and can travel anywhere on the island. In fact he is a one man mobile musician, for in the back of his car he has all the equipment he needs to set up and perform at any location. No need for amps, or speakers, etc. he’s got it all.
Jamie can easily be reached via his Facebook page under the name “Jamie (Man In Black)” and his e-mail address is [email protected]. If you haven’t already heard him sing then you’ve been missing out. Make sure to catch our very own man in black, performing right here in North Cyprus.