With just five days left of the Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival 2013, which opened here in glorious fashion on April 30, organizers can already boast of a very successful event.
Judging by the large crowds attending the event, a mix of Saint Lucians and visitors, it is safe to say that record numbers are expected for this weekend’s climax with the likes of Ginuwine, The Jackson’s, Ace, Ronald ‘Boo’ Hinkson, Luther Francois, Tito Puente Jr, The O’Jays, Akon and R. Kelly.
The festival has offered some truly great performances thus far, a mix of Saint Lucian talent, Caribbean rhythms, world music, Jazz and R&B.
The talk of the town last weekend was Kassav. The internationally renowned Zouk band brought the largest crowd ever to Fond D’or Heritage Park in Dennery on Saturday. The band, led by original members Jacob Desvarieux, Joycelyn Beroard and Jn Phillip Marthely came onstage to thunderous applause and got straight down to business performing a mixture of old and new. Kassav interacted effectively with the crowd and the audience sang along to familiar tunes. Band members showed no strain of age having been around for more than two decades.
Barbara Cadet, also performing at the event, showed her versatility as a Saint Lucian musician, entertaining the audience on the piano, saxophone and on vocals.
After this year’s festival the Saint Lucian folk group The Secret Band will be the name on everyone’s lips. They ripped Fond D’or apart with their percussive rhythms and chants, which included their popular number “Bois.” The event also featured Rupert Lay, Youth on Fire and the Vide Boutielle Youth Drumming Project.
On Sunday, May 5 the Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival continued with Tanya Saint Val headlining the final Jazz in the South event at Balenbouche. On that same day Heineken offered West Coast Jazz at the Plantation Bar overlooking Roseau Valley. This wonderful new experience featured Carl Gustave, Rob Zi, The Secret Band and DYP.
That same day the first ever Jazz Soundstage event featuring a strictly local cast came on stream. The free event saw performances in poetry, steel pan, dance and music. A second event was held on Monday, May 6 in Rodney Bay.
On May 1, Fatoumata Diawara from Mali had been featured at the first Jazz in South event. The following day, Labowi Promotions brought Jazz to the National Cultural Center with a special project by the Soufriere Action Theatre on climate change. The event offered something different, which was greatly appreciated by the audience, which included Governor General Dame Pearlette Louisy.
As part of the event Emerson Nurse brought in some great sounds with his four-member band, which included Ricky Francois who was astounding on drums. The event closed off with the Meddy Gerville Trio.
The Arts component of the festival gained much momentum at the Rodney Bay Marina Thursday evening with a memorable presentation by HeadPhunk, a spoken word entity established here a few years ago. During the event, a number of young performers captivated the audience with their original spoken word pieces and music as well as some impromptu instrumentals.
The St Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival continues today, Wednesday, May 8 with the first Jazz Showcase at Gaiety featuring Roberto Fonseca. Jazz Showcase continues at Gaiety tomorrow night featuring the John Scofield Uberjam Band.
Jazz on the Square is back this year and tonight the event will feature violinist Karen Briggs as well as K’rib Fusion and a Soca segment from Saint Lucian artistes. This week will also see Tea Time Jazz hitting the city as well as Rodney Bay coming alive with events at Bay Walk and JQ malls, not forgetting Fire Grill with Jazz on the Grill!