The Man Known As Diisiimo
  Cori Baynes
September 2014

Meet Richard Balgobin. At first glance Balgobin looks like an unassuming,  humble and ordinary guy, but delve deeper into his life and you would uncover a tale of success and adversity which eventually led him to one of his and by extension, the Caribbean's biggest musical accomplishments.


His is the world of entertainment, music and life in the limelight and while it may seem glamourous and alluring to many, it has not come without grave sacrifice.


Hailing from south Trinidad, Balgobin, who is better known in the music industry as Diisiimo, is one of Trinidad and Tobago's  leading music producers and has worked with some of the nation's most renowned artistes from all genres of music.


In addition to his role in producing many of the beats that infect the various fetes, especially at Carnival time, Balgobin is also an accomplished dj trainer, radio announcer trainer and music production trainer.


But his most prized "hat" to date is the one he wears as a certified Ableton Live Trainer, a title that only few in the world and no one else in the Caribbean can lay claim to.

Ableton Live is a juggernaut of a music programme that can allow its user to produce, edit, dj, record and edit audio, as well as edit and playback video. Named after the Berlin Germany based company Ableton, the Ableton Live software is one of the most versatile entertainment tools in existence.

So prestigious is the software, that the founding company has certified the best music producers in only 34 countries worldwide and Balgobin has been bound by contract not to disclose the details of the certification process.


Those who doubt that Balgobin is indeed the only person in the Caribbean qualified and certified to teach the Ableton Live programme need only visit the company's website and click on the "Certified Training" link.


Trinidad and Tobago is the only Caribbean nation mentioned on the website's list.

In his music studio where he spends many a night, Balgobin, who has been using the Ableton Live software for the past six years, said that his journey to becoming an Ableton Live Trainer (or "ninja" which is the name given to the trainers by the Ableton company) was a long and arduous one with an unlikely beginning.


Richard "Diisiimo" Balgobin, who started his entertainment career as a radio announcer and television personality, at first operated under the name "Madman Richard", but changed his name after he and his accomplishments were mistaken for those of others in the field with similar aliases.


He got the name Diisiimo from his niece and has taken it to mean happiness and enjoyment.


However, tragedy struck in 2005 when he was kidnapped by gunmen one night after leaving the radio station. He managed to escape his captors the next day, but subsequently made up his mind to walk away from radio and television.


"When things like that happen, it makes a person reflect on the important things in life," he said, adding that his family was first and foremost in his mind. 


By then, his talents as a music engineer were well known throughout T&T and after his ordeal, he was propositioned by Kes the Band to work as their music sampler.


"After the kidnapping, I was not sure what direction I was heading. I am eternally grateful because it's because of Kes the Band that I am still out here fighting," Balgobin said.


Richard hard at work in his studio


"I am not the type of person to close up and live in fear and so I went about getting my life back to normal. I conduct my daily routines with confidence because I am thankful for life."


Another motivating factor was his love for music, which he confessed played a big part in helping him stay focused and influencing his decision to remain a part of the entertainment industry. 


"I wanted to elevate the standard of performing in T&T and because I had already been using the Ableton Live software, I wanted to be the first certified Ableton user in the region," he continued.


He explained that the certification process was not easy, as he had to make a formal application, then pass a telephone interview and finally travel to Miami to a certification event where he underwent an entire weekend of complicated  tests.


As a certified trainer, he conducts classes on an individual basis at $300 per hour. However, in addition to paying his fee, the potential student must be very skilled in using various music and sound engineering software.

Richard proudly displays his Ableton certificate


"This certification has put me on even footing with international trainers who are doing amazing things with foreign musicians and acts, " he continued, adding that he is humbled every time he sees his name on the Ableton website.


He has since left Kes the Band,  but still does freelance work with its members as well as some of the industry's top names including Precision Production, the T&Tec Gayatones and the Alternative Quartet.


Some of his most recent work include the 2014 Chutney Soca Monarch Semi Finals and Finals and the Kes the Band's Tuesday on the Rocks concert.


Balgobin, who was certified last year and received his official certificate earlier this month, said that his journey has only just begun because there are many other things he would like to achieve.


"This is a great achievement in local entertainment, but I am not looking towards the local market for appreciation because I have my eyes set on the international market," he said, adding that he has already been offered employment to produce music in foreign countries.


Balgobin, who is very proficient at what he does, strives to always do his best every time he embarks on a project because he believes that each undertaking should be better than the last. 


"When I produce a track, the intention is not for locals only. I do it for the global market to consume."


"The world is at my fingertips so why limit myself? "  he ended.



























By: Cori Baynes | MUSIC-CULTURE | September 2014

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