A Most Mis­er­able Jazz Open­ing

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

Dale El­liot

Pa­tri­o­tism is an emo­tional at­tach­ment to a na­tion which an in­di­vid­ual rec­og­nizes as their home­land. This at­tach­ment, also known as na­tional feel­ing or na­tional pride, can be viewed in terms of dif­fer­ent fea­tures re­lat­ing to one’s own na­tion, in­clud­ing eth­nic, cul­tural, po­lit­i­cal or his­tor­i­cal as­pects. It is rare to find some­one who bleeds “blue and yel­low, black and white”, of­fload­ing his ink car­tridge with un-pa­tri­otic rev­e­la­tions, but the truth re­mains the same whether draped in na­tional colours, po­lit­i­cal colours or good old com­mon sense.

As the na­tional an­them belted through the speak­ers at the open­ing of the 25th Jazz & Arts Fes­ti­val I stood in awe, proud that I was there from the very first fes­ti­val and 25 years later. The or­gan­is­ers had worked hard in mak­ing this sil­ver year a sweet and un­for­get­table jour­ney. As the early jug­glers gave us their song and dance, I was proud that the line-up fea­tured a cadre of Saint Lu­cian tal­ent.

The well-oiled stage was only dis­turbed by the an­nounc­ers who seemed to have run out of con­struc­tive dis­course about the artistes, their back­grounds or mu­si­cal ca­reers. Their bat­ter­ing of the English lan­guage could have been ig­nored, had it not been for its re­peated use and timestalling an­tics which made the show drag on. In an ef­fort to es­cape the MCs and stretch my feet for a few min­utes, I wan­dered out­side of the Min­doo Phillip Park and OMG! My reti­nas were as­saulted by thou­sands of Saint Lu­cians, mostly fe­males, all decked out in Ac­cess, Ho­bie and Ba­sic Blue shiny ob­jects. A heavy po­lice pres­ence brought a sense of peace out­side the peo­ple’s au­di­to­rium.

No­tice­ably, the or­gan­is­ers were as clue­less and ill­pre­pared this year as they were last. The lines stretched for what seemed like 1320 feet. The mix­ture of all brands of per­fume was over­pow­ered by a cloud of per­spi­ra­tion which hov­ered mer­ci­lessly over Marc­hand but thanks to my ‘all ac­cess pass’ I was spared from this mal­odor­ous drama. One would have thought that af­ter 25 years, Louis and his board would have got­ten at least the en­try right. They didn’t.

My nos­trils took refuge back in­side the park - the time was now 1 a.m. A tired menopausal Ja­maican, who has not had a new al­bum since the early 90s, graced the stage, and again my nos­trils were greeted with the nearly le­gal scent of cannabis. Al­most col­lec­tively, Lovin­deer’s per­for­mance meant it was all right to blaze up the high grade. This, of course, was done by the few el­ders in the crowd who ac­tu­ally knew the an­cient mu­si­cian. The 80% teeny­bop­per crowd rel­ished the mo­ment to ex­change notes for the spir­its of Saint Lu­cia. Me? Well be­tween be­ing high by as­so­ci­a­tion and bored with Lovin­deer’s per­for­mance, I re­peat­edly glanced at my watch which seemed to have gone to sleep as well.

And then it hap­pened! He fi­nally left the stage and the Queen’s English slaugh­ter­ers were un­leashed on the mics again! As they stalled for an­other 25 min­utes, tak­ing turns at butcher­ing a lan­guage which has been around since the 5th cen­tury, two men in their 20s set up turnta­bles (or what­ever it is they use for this elec­tronic wiz­ardry). Then, as if in­stinc­tively, they played six sec­onds of a song, and the crowd went wild. The mu­sic stopped and the MCs screamed into the mic for an­other two min­utes, played eight sec­onds of a song, and the crowd swal­lowed ev­ery note. Me? I wanted to pelt my shoe at the stage so they could play at least a full cho­rus.

Now well past 2 a.m., like a boxer mak­ing an ap­pear­ance in Las Vegas Ne­vada, a scrawny man in his early thir­ties ac­com­pa­nied by an en­tourage of about 15 peo­ple, emerged onto the stage. The crowd went wild. I thought “wow” - the Saint Lu­cia Tourist Board re­ally nailed it this year. They catered for the young and the greyed. The Gully God, David Con­stan­tine Brooks - a man who has pro­duced al­bums like ‘Gangsta for Life’ and ‘A Bet­ter To­mor­row’, was paid thou­sands of US dol­lars to bring the cur­tains down on what was, un­til then, the most mis­er­able jazz open­ing in 25 years.

How did he do? Well, he didn’t let the tourist board down. He was un­co­or­di­nated for the first eight min­utes. Muf­fled, inaudi­ble noises came through the speak­ers and his stage an­tics were all retarded and tired. But that seemed not to bother the thou­sands who had forked out $60 a pop to the tourist board for this may­hem. Again, I wanted to re­move my size 9 Jor­dans and de­posit them on the stage but, alas, I en­dured an­other 12 min­utes of this mu­si­cal mis­ery. As I looked around, I no­ticed the once thick crowds were part­ing. Mo­vado had suc­cess­fully sick­ened older pa­trons into sub­mis­sion. Imag­ine hav­ing sev­eral al­bums un­der your belt from 2007, count­less sin­gles of smut, weed, gang­ster­ism and vi­o­lence and you are paid to come to small is­land Saint Lu­cia but you can’t sing one verse! Not a sin­gle full cho­rus of a song to a crowd who waited hours to hear you.

I say it serves us Saint Lu­cians right! The tourist board milked us, the artistes milked them and the cy­cle will con­tinue un­til May 10th, 2016. We will com­plain in si­lence be­cause most of us who beg for a free pass, lack the moral and jour­nal­is­tic for­ti­tude to say that af­ter 25 years this rub­bish needs to stop. As for me, I am go­ing to beg for an­other pass to an­other show and I will keep you up­dated as I am sure it can’t pos­si­bly get worse.

Dar­ren Sammy on stage last Fri­day try­ing his best to cham­pion the open­ing of the fes­ti­val.

Mo­vado - an­other dis­as­trous Jazz & Arts head­liner.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Saint Lucia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.