“At Last!” Derede’s Days

The Star (St. Lucia) - - 36TH INDEPENDENCE - By

Dee Lundy-Charles

As the seem­ingly all-male line up was com­pellingly brought to life on the su­per-sized screens by video pro­duc­tion wiz­ards Al­lBiz Ltd, it was the lone rose be­tween the thorns that raised per­haps the big­gest cheer from the el­e­gantly clad crowd at the Saint Lu­cia Jazz and Arts Fes­ti­val 2015 Me­dia Launch. Thanks be to whomever fi­nally woke up and re­alised that this na­tional trea­sure should be wow­ing the crowd from the main stage at Pi­geon Is­land again, and put Derede Wil­liams, Lu­cian diva and straight-up men­sch, back into Jazz where she be­longs.

And boy did she prove why she de­serves to be top of the bill, as Derede took to the stage and sang sig­na­ture tunes from all the di­vas to hit the Pi­geon Is­land main stage over the past 24 years. She rocked ev­ery shade of blues and jazz from Anita Baker and Patti Labelle to Chaka Khan and a for­mi­da­ble Amy Wine­house, “un­paid” ac­cord­ing to SLTB PR manager John Em­manuel, in a bril­liant per­for­mance that un­abashedly said “this is why I should have been here all along!”

For the past two years Derede has been back on the Saint Lu­cian scene af­ter many years of self-im­posed artis­tic ex­ile in far flung places like China and the Mid­dle East, win­ning fans and hearts around the world with her awe­some tal­ent and beau­ti­ful smile, even if her pop­u­lar­ity and pro­file at home was dwin­dling. She has sto­ries to tell, and tell them she will, but for now, the hu­mor­ous glint in her eye at the Jazz Fes­ti­val launch says that if ap­pre­ci­a­tion from her home­land has come at last, she’s go­ing to grab it by the mic stand and give it all she’s got.

As a vo­cal­ist, there’s no doubt Derede is the ul­ti­mate all-rounder; just sit back and revel in her range as she swings seam­lessly from an un­der­stated ver­sion of Dionne War­wick’s Walk on By to the torch song pow­er­play of Pi­ano in the Dark by Brenda Rus­sell.

If you’ve been lucky enough to catch her one woman show in venues around the is­land you’ll also know that she’s her own best front woman, with all the funny pat­ter and en­gag­ing repar­tee she needs to charm the au­di­ence out of their san­dals. And there’s no doubt she’ll bring it to the jewel in the is­land’s events crown.

So, once again, ku­dos to the SLTB) for bring­ing Saint Lu­cia’s orig­i­nal jazz diva back to the main stage for the 2015 fes­ti­val. If there’s only go­ing to be one fe­male in the lineup then it has to be Derede Wil­liams, and I for one will be hang­ing on her ev­ery note come May.

Derede Wil­liams rises


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