Artistes show ‘Bird’ as­ton­ish­ing love

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT - Mar­cia Rowe Gleaner Writer

THE IN­CLEMENT weather was no de­ter­rent for a num­ber of friends of drum­mer Ju­nior ‘Bird’ Bail­lie, who turned out for a fan­tas­tic fundrais­ing con­cert.

While their pres­ence was a show of com­pas­sion and love, they were also mind­ful of the num­ber of acts wait­ing in line to show their love for Bird mu­si­cally or vo­cally. And so, each de­liv­ered one item in­stead of the cus­tom­ary lengthy set – the au­di­ence at the Keesing Av­enue venue en­joy­ing ev­ery mo­ment of the tightly run in­for­mal pro­gramme.

Af­ter the band – Birds of a Feather led by Desi Jones – got the mu­si­cal fi­esta started, vo­cal­ist Gem Myers came to the stage. She thanked all for making the show pos­si­ble for a brother and then aptly gave a fine de­liv­ery of I’ll Be There.

And one af­ter the other, en­ter­tain­ers took the stage, shar­ing brief anec­dotes with Bird and of­fer­ing bless­ings of long life.

Er­rol Lee, who fol­lowed bass player Ru­pert Bent Jr, said he Boris Gardiner, one of the many en­ter­tain­ers who took the stage in a show of sup­port for ‘Bird’.

takes full re­spon­si­bil­ity for dis­cov­er­ing Bird. He claimed that Bird ar­rived at his first re­hearsal with Bare Essentials as a bass player and left as a drum­mer.

Di­mario McDow­ell, who chose to sing What a Won­der­ful World, said Bird is a friend for life.

Char­maine Le­mo­ni­ous may have been singing to the con­verted when she sang Put a Lit­tle Love in Your Heart. She was sub­se­quently fol­lowed by Seretse Small, Duane Ju­nior ‘Bird’ Bail­lie play­ing at his ben­e­fit con­cert, re­cently.

Stephen­son, Dionne Hardy, Wayne Ar­mond, Maria Myrie and Cher­ine An­der­son, who spoke of Bird’s gen­eros­ity and hu­mil­ity.

Ernie Smith and Dwight Richards were also backed by the Birds of a Feather band. They both de­vi­ated from the pat­tern of one song each, much to the de­light of the au­di­ence, who rocked to the gospel and ska mu­sic de­liv­ered by Smith.

In­ter­mis­sion ended with Lloyd Parkes and We The Peo­ple band tak­ing over sup­port­ing du­ties.

Bob Andy opened the next seg­ment. He said it was a joy to be per­form­ing for Bird, who was the only one to get him out of his bed at that time. He was fol­lowed by Ken Booth and Boris Gardiner. Both were just as en­ter­tain­ing and en­gag­ing.

Bird, who is re­cov­er­ing from a car­diac surgery, was more than de­lighted with the show of love from his mu­si­cal friends. In say­ing thanks at the end of the show, he high­lighted the ex­tent to which they showed their love and care.

“You don’t know what bless­ings it is to have friends like ev­ery­one that you have seen here tonight,” he said.

“It’s hard, some­times, when you go through sit­u­a­tions and you think some­times that no­body cares, no­body is lis­ten­ing; and then some­thing tragic like this hap­pens, and from nowhere, you re­alise that you are so loved.”

He thanked God for restor­ing his life, his band leader Lloyd Parkes of We the Peo­ple, and the other mu­si­cians who vis­ited and stayed with him while he was in the hospi­tal.

Desi Jones was un­able to visit at the hospi­tal, but when he heard what the bill was, he said he was go­ing to put on a con­cert and so grat­i­tude was ex­tended from one drum­mer to another.

Apart form be­ing the drum­mer for the Lloyd Parkes and We The Peo­ple band, Bird does a Satur­day evening gig at Jo Jo’s. Not only did the man­agers give their sup­port, but dur­ing his hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion, his co-work­ers Chris Swell and Ru­pert Bent played ev­ery Satur­day for three months at Jo Jo’s and gave him their pay. And when­ever We The Peo­ple played, Parkes en­sured that Bird was still paid.

“These are the friends. And I have con­sid­ered my­self much loved,” Bird con­cluded, be­fore (on re­quest and com­ply­ing with his doc­tor’s in­struc­tion) giv­ing a cap­ti­vat­ing per­for­mance on his in­stru­ment of choice, the drums.

PHO­TOS BY MAR­CIA ROWE

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