Amala's View

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Rainforest Hideaway

Across the bay in Marigot, St Lucia, there is a neat little restaurant tucked away in the rainforest; aptly named The Rainforest Hideaway. Nature has been preserved around it and the deck has been built above and between mangrove and as you would imagine, it is on the water.
I went to dinner with Roston, my last supper according to him!!! I had been at North American Assemblies for 7 1/2 years.
We were both impressed with the ambience from the time we arrived. We were met when the boat stopped and escorted to our table. The staff were friendly and helpful. The china was superb, the plates for the appetizer were black and square!! Better than that, the food was presented like we were on a Food Network show!! We had two 'side dishes' compliments of the chef: salmon crotini and mint & green pea sorbet.
We both had spiced coconut and pumpkin soup for appetizer and mahi mahi with vegetables for the main course. Dinner was had to the strains of Emerson Nurse's playing in the background.
We left just around 10pm and walked behind the restaurant along a wooden walkaway to a jetty that adjoins Doolittle's property and took the ferry back across.
This neat little place nestled in Marigot gets two thumbs up from me!! Go there for any occasion, it will make it special.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Of Laureates and Boo

Oh what an evening! Gala indeed. Nobel Laureate week opened with a ceremony that was befitting under the theme ‘Unlocking The Potential Within’.

Amidst the drama, performance poetry, song and dance we were reminded of the works of the late Sir William Arthur Lewis and the Hon. Derek Walcott. Ronald ‘Boo’ Hinkson recently released an album aptly entitled Urban Drift where he put a modern spin so to speak on some of our folk tunes. With the help of Marie-Eve Augier, Elra Ermay and Nicole David who lent their vocal talent, he was able to bring several tracks from that recording alive.
The audience was in for a special treat too, it was the first time that Boo would perform Chausee to Stockholm live. It was a piece he wrote when Derek Walcott was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992. He had come from humble beginnings on the Chausee in Castries, St Lucia and had collected the award in Stockholm, Sweden. An interesting combination was the performance of a piece entitled pan and brass where Deland ‘DSax’ St Jules and Gregory ‘Shining’ Emmanuel had a nice exchange of saxophone and steelpan.
Dance St Lucia put on two excellent pieces that were choreographed by Trevor King. Dramatic poetry and monologues were done by Melissa Giddings, Richard Ambrose and MacDonald Dixon.
One of the highlights was the storytelling of Paul Keens Douglas. He had audience members doubling over with laughter as he told stories of culture, communication, carnival and cricket. He said that he was dedicating his performance to Sir Arthur Lewis because he was gone and he said two important things in his work that stuck with him. He said that a man was great by how he thinks and what he produced. He went on to lament that West Indians always think that they are unique with something. My favourite line though was with how all stories are started. Some say ‘once upon a time’, St Lucian’s say ‘Tin Tin bois chaise’, Grenadians say ‘I selling it like I buy it’, reporters say ‘reliable sources’!!!!
The celebration of our Nobel Laureates has grown from strength to strength. Imagine the week of celebrations is now eleven days!! Talk about unlocking the potential! Both Nobel Laureates were born on January 23rd.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Tappin steals the show

Mike Phillips, Arturo Tappin, Garry Davis and Boney James. What do these fine gentlemen have in common? If you said they are all saxophonists you are correct but only half way there! They all graced the stage for the Barbados Jazz Festival 2006.

The Farley Hill National Park saw most of them over the two final days of the festival. Arturo Tappin was a hard act to follow though. With a resume as long as his playing is good, Arturo has graced the stage with the likes of Luther Vandross and Roberta Flack. Emcee Wayne Kool Simmons adequately prepared the audience for what was about to happen, he said we were in for a ninety minute flight, there may be turbulence but it should come from dancing, there was no need for seat belts and we were free to move around the cabin. Arturo Tappin was the flight’s captain. Complete with a band of musicians who are great individual instrumentalists, proving once again that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts! When Arturo took the stage the band was already playing and he begun to blow the lead lines. Dressed in a white bohemian chic jacket, jeans and a white hat, he looked every bit the part that he sounded. He moved easily from tenor to alto to baritone and finally soprano sax during his set that covered several genres of music. During some of the selections he featured the talented musicians who graced the stage with him. Miles Robertson did more than tickle the ivories with a solo that had him leaving his stool at times. Elan Trotman, a Tappin student and recording artiste in his own right also shared the stage. Etienne Charles the trumpeter from Trinidad blew his way into the hearts of the fans at Farley Hill, with a look reminiscent of a young Marsalis brother, he is destined for great things. Scott Gault who has always been exceptional with his guitar was not to be outdone. Arturo must know that with experience comes true wisdom and he called on percussionist Ralph MacDonald who composed Mr Magic – a tune made popular by Grover Washington jr.
Traces of Tobago, Tempted to Touch, Ordinary People and the tribute to Luther Vandross still linger in the minds of the patrons. However, there is no doubt that the piece he ended with when he was called for one more will resonate with Barbadians for years. The three horn players did a moving performance of Waistline Shots, the road march for 2005.
Arturo Tappin succeeded in holding the attention of patrons for just over an hour and there was never a dull moment! Well done there Captain.
Suave guitarist Norman Brown brought the curtains down on the Saturday show, he performed selections from his After The Storm and Just Chillin’ albums among others. Although at times he seemed pressed for time, he was able to fit in some impressions as he paid tribute to those who are responsible for him being where he is today. He impersonated the styles of Jimi Hendrix, Wes Montgomery and George Benson much to the delight of the audience.
Sunday saw more saxophone renditions that kept the audience enthralled. Garry Davis and his band opened the day and set a pace that was nice and easy. His wife Regina lent her smooth vocals to some of the tracks.
The Cuban All Stars brought a fabulous touch of salsa to the proceedings that had the patrons close to the stage putting on a side show.
Native New Yorker Boney James closed the proceedings in fine style performing numbers from his Ride and Pure albums amongst others. He used both tenor and soprano saxes and his energetic dancing to keep the audience attentive.
Barbados maintains its ability to bring names to the festival that patrons talk about long after, while Luther Vandross and Jill Scott were fantastic, something tells me that Arturo Tappin will be the talking point for this year’s festival.

Labels: ,