T’was a Fes­ti­val To Re­mem­ber

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By

IToni Ni­cholas called my good friend Teddy Fran­cis early Mon­day morn­ing. He did not an­swer his phone. I reckon he must have still been in bed af­ter all the hard work he and oth­ers put into the arts com­po­nent of the 2015 Saint Lu­cia Jazz & Arts Fes­ti­val. Or bet­ter yet, maybe he was still drunk on the high he re­ceived dur­ing Robin Thicke’s fi­nale of “Blurred Lines”.

The singer, upon en­ter­ing the Pi­geon Is­land Na­tional Land­mark on Sun­day, had caught a glimpse of the artis­tic ex­pres­sions on dis­play. The ac­tiv­ity was spear­headed by Fran­cis, the direc­tor of car­ni­val and a mem­ber of the fes­ti­val com­mit­tee. What had par­tic­u­larly caught Thicke’s at­ten­tion was the mod­els bear­ing car­ni­val cos­tumes, among the revelry of body paint­ing, stilt walk­ers and drum­mers that wel­comed pa­trons at the venue. “I need them on stage,” the Amer­i­can pop star had in­sisted. And, af­ter an ex­hil­a­rat­ing per­for­mance with an all black band, the mod­els, now turned dancers, pa­raded on stage with Thicke, his band and back-up singers to a show-stop­ping ren­di­tion of the big­gest song of his ca­reer to date: “Blurred Lines”. It felt like the fi­nale of the fes­ti­val that had started ten days ear­lier on April 30. But it wasn’t.

The 2015 Saint Lu­cia Jazz & Arts Fes­ti­val got off to a won­der­ful start on Thurs­day April 30 with a Caribbean Party fea­tur­ing Saint Lu­cian per­form­ers In­vader, Dupes, Arthur and Sedale (with Wild­fire). Ja­maican reg­gae singing sen­sa­tion Chronixx wowed fans at the event and con­verted some new ones, while Des­tra may have dis­ap­pointed some of her fans, some­what. Many had come for her sassi­ness, her bo­da­cious pres­ence and, oh yes, the many soca hits. In­stead, they were fed a bar­rage of soca songs by her male on­stage com­pan­ion and just some of the singer’s popular songs. Her fi­nale and ever-popular “Lucy” closed the show.

On May 1, all roads led to Soufriere for Soufriere Cre­ole Jazz fea­tur­ing Bar­bara Cadet, TJ, Fu­ture Lights and Avot Servis, all from lo­cal soil. The Orig­i­nal Bouyon Pi­o­neers and Jah Cure ended the show. Cure saved it, whet­ting the ap­petites of fans who ear­lier could not find one cold drink at the venue.

The fol­low­ing day, Fond D’Or upped its num­bers, which were some­what down in 2014. The line-up at the her­itage park in­cluded Eval­u­cian band, Miste En Lo­cal, Carimi and Zouk Ma­chine. The fair-sized crowd ma­noeu­vred the park with ease, able to en­joy the am­bi­ence of the venue. But here again, long set changeovers may have spoilt a good thing. Af­ter a bril­liant per­for­mance by Carimi, fans had to wait more than half an hour for Zouk Ma­chine, the fi­nal act. Af­ter about four songs, par­tic­u­larly their big­gest hit “Pisime Zouke”, the crowd started dwin­dling.

The mu­sic faith­ful con­tin­ued their round-the-is­land trek on Sun­day May 3 for Jazz in the South in Vieux Fort and then Monchy Cre­ole Jazz on Tues­day May 5.

Vieux Fort re­ceived much sup­port from its par­lia­men­tary rep­re­sen­ta­tive and the prime min­is­ter, Kenny An­thony, with Trinida­dian Ca­lyp­so­nian Shadow as the main act. Be­fore him the band Karma had ex­cited the crowd while DYP kept the party mo­men­tum on point. Shadow was off to a slow start, with his vo­cals hardly au­di­ble at first. Things im­proved some­what but the crowd had long de­cided that the band Karma had taken the cake on the night.

Monchy Cre­ole Jazz (Mizik en Kweyol) raised the ante this year as a ma­jor com­mu­nity event at the heart of the Saint Lu­cia Jazz & Arts Fes­ti­val. The stage place­ment and the side stage fea­tur­ing the Se­cret Band and oth­ers was well placed. The event also fea­tured the Royal Saint Lu­cia Po­lice Band, Avot Servis, In­vader and DYP who raised the roof un­til 1 am the next morn­ing.

The talk of the town on Wed­nes­day, be­fore and af­ter the event, was HOT Cou­ture. Depend­ing on who you spoke to you would hear, “The Cubans stole the show,” “The Tri­nis were great,” or “Wow, our mod­els did great.” HOT Cou­ture has so far been re­ceiv­ing rave re­views in the lo­cal, re­gional and in­ter­na­tional me­dia.

Thurs­day’s Jazz Show­case at the won­der­fully re­fur­bished Na­tional Cul­tural Cen­tre

From Choiseul to Pi­geon Is­land, Me­shach made

us proud.

Chrisette Michele un­leashed those pipes

Sun­day.

The leg­endary Jimmy Cliff closed the 2015 SLJA

Fes­ti­val.

This beauty soaked it all

in at Pi­geon Is­land.

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