As promised, I did attend part two of Tapas on the Bay’s Voices on the Bay on Wednesday May 11. Yes, my table was reserved this time and again the food was out of this world. But on that night, as it was last Wednesday, it was all about the music – some amazing young vocalists as well as an array of talented young musicians, many of whom I was seeing and hearing for the first time. “This island is brimming with talent” was the understatement of the night. If for one moment I thought I was being misled and hearing something better than most, the reality check came when others kept commenting about how fabulous the night was due to the riveting performances.
For starters there was Kiz, a young singer with a pleasant, mellow voice and an image to make the ladies swoon. At first perhaps the crowd and its intimacy jolted him but by the end of his short set he had certainly warmed up.
Christal Valere was up next. She elevated proceedings and soared through, above and around the audience with her vocal range and stage presence. Her delivery of ‘Little after Midnight’ was impeccable and, when she ended with another of her own compositions: ‘Make you love me’, the audience clearly still wanted more.
Like a proud father, Ronald “Boo” Hinkson – one of the organizers – looked on with a glowing aura of satisfaction.
Next at the mic was Linda Chocolate Berthier, once known mainly for her Gospel and inspirational songs. But on that night she was out to prove that her God-given talent could go in different directions as she created a stir with a diverse repertoire. Besides her own original compositions she did songs like Kassav’s ‘Siwo’ as well as the Afro-Pop song ‘Johnnie’. By that time the singer had the audience fully engaged, many of them up and dancing.
For those who missed them last week, the audience was treated to brief cameos by Dupes and Aiyah, both special treats. However, the one that blew the lid off the roof was a young lady by the name of Khym. Doing the standard ‘At Last’ and accompanied by “Boo” she took the audience on a magic carpet ride during her one-song performance.
It is not often to find STAR publisher Rick Wayne out so late at night. But on Wednesday he was mesmerized and stayed till the end. He would later tell me about Khym’s performance: “Man, that girl was amazing. Did you hear what she did with that song? This girl hit all the right notes, she looked good and was very captivating.” “So what happens to all these young people next?” Rick asked. That’s for another show.
Voices on the Bay concluded with a superb performance by Michael Robinson who was shortchanged during his performance on stage two at Pigeon island last week. Backed by a tight band and a mellifluous backing vocal team, Robinson looked and sounded like he belonged on the main-stage. It was pure melancholy for me when he segued from Mali Music’s ‘Beautiful’ into the Bieb’s ‘Sorry’ among other high points. And yes, there were more than enough on the night.
Thank you Boo, Jonelle and Rosie for affording these young Saint Lucian talents this platform and for giving many others and myself some good food for the soul too.