Amala's View

Monday, May 28, 2007

Whitsuntide Weekend 2007 – Partied like it’s my job!!

Well the title does not lie, trust me!! I skipped the regular Friday night street party fare and a fete called ‘Flirt’ did not tickle my fancy. Saturday afternoon I went to a boatride hosted by Signature Events. The music was fantastic, I must say this year the artistes have stepped up to the challenge thrown out to them in past years and have released the music early. We are currently eating out of Ricky T’s palm with his Pressure Boom track. Alpha has the ladies where he wants them with Tic Toc. The DJs on the boat were Shane, Roaks and Levi Chin, so you know the combination was wicked!
I managed to get the second half of Take Over Tent’s launch, while I found the calypsos lackluster, the closing with Ricky T and Alpha had a great effect. I went on to Diva’s Night Out. It was supposed to raise funds to help a cancer stricken woman. Well with about 100 persons there I am sure she needs to continue sourcing funds. Tessanne Chin opened with three numbers, Tami followed with four. After about an hour of DJ Cleus playing all the unedited versions of the latest dancehall music, Nicole David took the stage. Macka Diamond would not perform.
Sunday night saw the staging of another Signature Events fete, one called Mas Camp, it was supposed to be the after party for the Opening of Carnival, which is now postponed to June 3rd. The music was good but the numbers were small.
The weekend ended with Lucian Line Jam, a Mas Action event being staged for the eighth time. It started in 1999 when Carnival was shifted to July. There was an expectant lull and Line Jam filled the void. Dylan Pitcairn, Mas Action’s designer says that while the support from the sponsors is formalized way in advance, the delivery is usually late. He said that there are plans to sell the product overseas, he would like the St Lucia Tourist Board to put it on their calendar of events.
What happens for Line Jam? Big truck, revelers, carnival atmosphere in the streets of Castries.
Da weekend done…back to work again!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

St Lucia Jazz 2007 - In photos

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jazz After Glow

For me the name gave the connotation of sustaining the high that the main stage events would have brought. Jazz After Glow managed to take it up a notch. A new fringe event on the St Lucia Jazz calendar, held at the versatile Samaans Park saw some of the best jazz musicians who came to the festival grace the stage.
The event was held over two nights, Saturday and Sunday and was scheduled to begin at 10pm. The first night saw St Lucian saxophonist Luther Francois share the stage with Will Smith of the WES Group who had performed at Pigeon Island on Thursday. Luther played both alto and tenor saxes as he took the audience as far back as his childhood days with his rendition of Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, his mother sang it to him as a lullaby. For the greater part of the night Luther and Will Smith were accompanied by Barbadian pianist Adrian Clarke, standing bassist Cochran Holt and drummer Ricardo Francois. For the audience, the moment that stole the night was during the jam session at the end of the set when Luther invited musicians to come up and do a number with them. Twin brothers Nabu and Nathan Jolley from the WES Group accepted and Nathan Jolley, the drummer had a solo that words almost seem incapable of describing. Nathan played every drum in the kit and the sides and rims as well!! He stood, sat, rocked. He ensured that patrons of the first night would return to see him in his own slot the following night!!
The second night showcased a much larger cast. The WES Group started with a few original numbers and the audience particularly liked a number called Yes. Ronald ‘Boo’ Hinkson was then called to the stage along with Michael Boothman, Dr Roger Eckers, Arturo Tappin, Ryan Finn, Raf Robertson. Each of these musicians could have headlined a show and to have them share the stage was pure magic. They each took turns at soloing and providing complementary harmonization for the soloist. While the trombone is underrated and not often recognised as a solo instrument, Ryan Finn had his time to shine with his improvisations and impacting melodies. In a piece called B’s Blues every musician was highlighted starting with Barbadian saxophonist Arturo Tappin. Dr Eckers was the only musician on the second night to play two instruments, he did a flute solo.
Raf Robertson perhaps played three songs altogether but one could almost anticipate his next keys because of the precision and inimitable flair with which he plays.
Music is universal and while words like universal carry a suspicious ring in this age of globalisation, when the musicians who shared the stage at Jazz After Glow come together, the best way to sum up the music is universal!
Samaans Park is ensuring that it’s history will be well written and that awesome names will be mentioned when it is. Jazz After Glow is poised to be the musician’s show for St Lucia Jazz.

God has a sense of humour

So I am done throwing out challenges and letting the chips fall where they may!! I always say that words and thoughts have moulding power and so I am very cautious with my words but geeeez!!
So I was thinking the gospel concert for jazz would be the best thing yet but it has absolutely gotten better each day!
Yesterday two of my favourite instrumentalists played in the same band. Gerald Albright and Norman Brown. Right you get it now!!! So I have always loved and wanted to play Gerald's 'So Amazing' and he did it!!! Then he and Norman played together and a couple of years ago I had flown to Barbados to see Norman...that's another story!
Al Jarreau and George Benson rocked too. However, what stole the night for me was going to Samaan's Park. There was a jazz after glow there, truth be told I was going for purely selfish reasons that shall remain untold. However, I came away fulfilled The show was a blast. When I say Luther Francois, Adrian Clarke, Ricardo Francois, Will E Smith, Cornelius Simeon and Raf Robertson were on the same stage it should conjure up images of head-bopping, foot-tapping sweet melodies and pure trance! Did I mention there was a standing bass! Ha
I swear God has a sense of humour...I'm done messing with him!

Getting Better

So there I was thinking that Kingdom Night on Wednesday was gonna be the best show for jazz. Well it certainly shaped up that way. Isaac Blackman & the Love Circle and Pastor Donnie McClurkin really sent up some praises to bring the house down. I left there thinking - ha top that now!

Well I was pleasantly surprised to see Andre Woodvine grace the stage with Blue Mango on Friday night. That was good. However, the night belonged to John Legend. He danced, sang, played, conversed...darn. I would travel to see him...okay strike that, doesn't take much to get me on a plane. The band was tight, complete with brass, an organ, background vocals/dancers...the whole 9. Sulan would have approved.

Better could still come though because the likes of Norman Brown, one of my absolute favourites (after Dean Williams of course) is on today. Then I see Arturo Tappin and Ronald 'Boo' Hinkson on tomorrow night. I'm gonna have to re-think the 'jazz is better in Barbados' notion!

Cricket World Cup

So the 2007 Cricket World Cup is over. There are a few things that I have learnt as a caribbean person in general and more specifically being a resident of a host country.

1. We all love controversy.
2. If you allow a governing body to take the caribbean out of the cricket, they will!!! Then the rules are changed in Barbados...
3. There is more to the caribbean than sea and sand and the marketing bodies should take note. We actually throw some good parties.
4. Food can actually be more expensive than what we pay at jazz all countries!
5. No matter how good the two artistes are US$40 is bloody well exorbitant!
6. The road projects and the cricket DID NOT go hand in hand. They won't be done for jazz either! Somebody say "project"...
7. The players of the West Indies cricket team are VERY dispassionate about the game. It's okay to win and it's okay to lose. That is a crime against logic.
8. No great discovery but the West Indies team is indisciplined.
9. The Australians are strategic and goal-setters.
10. The Australian players acknowledge their fans while they are on the field. If a player does something good and the crowd recognises it, he waves to them.
11. Are the volunteers more ready for service-oriented businesses now? That was the supposed to be part of the legacy, ent?

Now that I have listed my observations, I am still disappointed that the West Indies did not do better but I am elated that the whole saga is over and I hope the new team learns that cricket is way more than bat and ball it tugs at my heart strings and supporting a losing team for 15 years is painful. Yet I keep rallying for this beautiful game.