Ron­ald ‘Boo’ Hink­son’s Song of Love

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

IDr Stephen King am not a mu­sic critic, nei­ther a musician. I can't sing in tune or play an in­stru­ment. But I can connect with mes­sages and my soul ap­pre­ci­ates the medium that mu­sic is for soul com­mu­ni­ca­tion. On De­cem­ber 3 I at­tended “Show the World”—a Ron­ald “Boo” Hink­son con­cert. I have been to many shows but there was some­thing very dif­fer­ent about this one. The mu­sic and mes­sages were in­tri­cately wo­ven into a beau­ti­fully lov­ing quilt that warmed my soul. I re­flected and ques­tioned my­self: what was it that was dif­fer­ent? Was it the in­tegrity of an ex­cel­lent gui­tarist fused with the musician's hu­man­ity and man­i­fested love for women, youth and Saint Lu­cia? Does this fusion of pro­fes­sion­al­ism, fo­cus and hu­man­ity pro­duce great­ness? Are there lessons here for all of us? I thought of my own jour­ney, on which I spend much of my time fac­ing death and se­ri­ous dis­ease; ob­serv­ing it, dis­sect­ing it, smelling it, doc­u­ment­ing it. Many years ago I re­al­ized that be­ing a com­pe­tent pro­fes­sional is not enough; life's ques­tion is al­ways what are you do­ing to make life bet­ter? The priv­i­lege of a gift, the priv­i­lege of go­ing to the moun­tain­top and see­ing, de­mands a re­spon­si­bil­ity to act. The ques­tion is how?

Boo com­mu­ni­cated the an­swers dur­ing “Show the World.” The se­lec­tion of songs, the artists that ap­peared on stage, had not been cho­sen in some ar­bi­trary or con­trived way. I felt the vo­ca­tional mo­ti­va­tion of the artists; they were not there for the money; they were there for the love. The songs and the mes­sages ran the full spec­trum with the com­mon thread be­ing the Song of Love.

Charles Cadet's “Poin­set­tia Blos­soms” was haunt­ing, re­flec­tions of a tragedy that is trans­formed by love to be­come a beau­ti­ful Saint Lu­cian Christ­mas clas­sic. A song that at this time of year re­minds us that love tran­scends death; the very mes­sage that we cel­e­brate at Christ­mas when we rec­og­nize that Je­sus Christ, by his life and death, taught us that love re­deems ev­ery­thing; all pain and even death. Boo was on stage with his brother Ch­ester who sang that song. For that mo­ment we felt the spirit of their mother.

The first song of love that we all sing to­gether is the song of love with our moth­ers. Through­out this con­cert I heard the mes­sage that we must place our women, es­pe­cially moth­ers, in the spe­cial place that the Most High has cre­ated for them. The cra­dle of so­ci­ety, the cra­dle of civ­i­liza­tion is the mother's womb. As men we must un­der­stand our role to sup­port women, to main­tain that re­spect that they de­serve. Also we need to un­der­stand how boys de­prived of moth­ers love, de­prived of nur­tur­ing love by a so­ci­ety that is care­less, thought­less and self­ish, can be­come an­gry, twisted and misog­y­nis­tic, how they can de­velop “burn­ing eyes and hun­gry bel­lies”. Mem­o­ries of Mike Rivers were brought back home by the clear voice of Semi Warner Fran­cis.

We heard and ob­served how to en­gage our young peo­ple. The pow­er­ful and gen­tle singing by Boo of the “the school bag” re­minded us to re­main fo­cused on what is go­ing on in our chil­dren's' lives, to con­stantly dis­cuss is­sues with them, guide them, lov­ingly dis­ci­pline them. It is not about look­ing in the school bag but rather about look­ing into their minds and their hearts. We heard and saw the “power of ex­am­ple”. The ex­hor­ta­tion for us to con­duct our lives in a man­ner that we show our youth how to live prin­ci­pled lives, make de­ci­sions based on val­ues that we, as a Saint Lu­cian so­ci­ety, hold as sa­cred, not to be vi­o­lated. The prin­ci­ples of rev­er­ence for all life, care for the en­vi­ron­ment, honor for our his­tory, love for one another, sin­cer­ity, and gen­tle­ness.

The power of ex­am­ple unfolded on­stage. There were the young peo­ple from the Saint Lu­cia School of Mu­sic; there was Shan­non Pinel, who de­liv­ered the Etta James clas­sic “At Last.” I was im­pressed by that per­for­mance; it showed how our youth could connect across the wa­ter to our Black Amer­i­can broth­ers and sis­ters, iden­ti­fy­ing with the com­mon his­tory and strug­gle. It showed me how our young peo­ple can connect across the years with the past and ap­pre­ci­ate its wis­dom and beauty. She sang “Aye Doux Doux” and brought to life and show­cased the unique beauty of our Saint Lu­cian cul­ture and his­tory. I am of­ten moved by the gen­til­ity of our folk mu­sic and its fusion of Euro­pean, African and In­dige­nous spirit; an ex­pres­sion of our deep soul. Boo re­minded us that we must be in con­stant con­tact with our his­tory and cul­ture such that our evo­lu­tion is a con­nected process of dig­nity and honor of those gone be­fore, with the con­fi­dence of present iden­tity and be­long­ing that our his­tory and cul­ture in­still.

Shan­non, Jessy Leonce and Shayne Ross re­in­forced the power of men­tor­ship that they ex­pressed Boo had pro­vided for them. It is this men­tor­ship that passes the peo­ple's soul-ba­ton onto the next gen­er­a­tion in this evo­lu­tion­ary re­lay. “My Good Day” was the wish passed on by Shayne and Jessy a song of good will and bless­ings to every­one. Then there were Bar­bara Cadet, Ar­turo Tap­pin and Tracy Ham­lin, com­ing to the stage with that love and ap­pre­ci­a­tion of mu­sic, and recog­ni­tion of their col­league's tal­ent and hu­man­ity. Show­ing sup­port as a fam­ily of artistes who un­der­stand the power of mu­sic and the need to work to­gether in that self­less lov­ing man­ner that as­sures suc­cess. Bar­bara al­ways amazes me, the way she fuses with her sax and pro­duces mu­sic that is heavenly. Tracy made the point that within Boo, as within Saint Lu­cia, there is the abil­ity to reach the in­ter­na­tional pin­na­cles, the global moun­tain­tops. In this case she spoke of her Grammy nom­i­na­tion based on Boo's com­po­si­tion “Magic in Love.” The point was made by Boo him­self when he spoke of Ar­turo Ta­pion and re­in­forced that a sup­port­ive net­work is a cru­cial in­gre­di­ent for suc­cess.

The love of women was cap­tured by all the songs, es­pe­cially the “Song of Love.” The clos­ing with “I'm ev­ery women,” a Chaka Khan song, was a cel­e­bra­tion of wom­an­hood. All the women joined at that mo­ment, on their feet, and danced in uni­son in a man­ner that should man­i­fest all the time. They de­clared that our women must be re­spected, must be sup­ported, must have equal­ity and must be loved. It re­minded us men that we must de­liver on this; it is the only way that we can as­sure that our seed will grow to be a great so­ci­ety. Lov­ing our women is a dec­la­ra­tion of love of cre­ation and the Cre­ator.

The love of Saint Lu­cia was ever present in the show; the mu­sic was vir­tu­ally all in­dige­nous, high­light­ing our in­dige­nous cre­ativ­ity. “Show the world” made a bold state­ment that we are in­dige­nously World Class. “Jeremie Street” cap­tured that com­fort­able feel­ing we have as we walk in our com­mu­ni­ties along streets and paths that our el­ders, long gone, had walked. That feel­ing of be­long­ing and easy flow of mem­o­ries with as­so­ci­ated emo­tions like walk­ing in your worn and com­fort­able shoes that makes you un­der­stand that these feel­ings and this love is for­ever. “Show the world” was a con­cert of al­most three hours, with­out in­ter­mis­sion. It was a brief mo­ment of our heaven, of what is pos­si­ble. It was a con­cert that ad­vo­cated for an an­cient, yet new and rel­e­vant, way of liv­ing. It re­in­forced what we know to be true. The con­cert pow­er­fully yet gen­tly asked us to live life on one foun­da­tion, live life on the one foun­da­tion of love. “Show the world”, ap­pro­pri­ately sung by Greg Chabon asked us to let our love come pour­ing out; it sang to us that we should have done this some years ago.

I left “Show the World” with a hope and a prayer that what is pos­si­ble can man­i­fest in re­al­ity if only we could find love. I am re­minded of Dr Martin Luther King, in his book “The Strength to Love” there is a ser­mon that makes the point that we need to be a peo­ple with “tough minds and ten­der hearts”. Life's most per­sis­tent ques­tions re­main with each of us “what are you do­ing to­day to make, this world, this Saint Lu­cia, a bet­ter place?” and “Do you have the strength to love?”

Peo­ple are still rav­ing about ace gui­tarist Boo Hink­son’s ‘Show the World’ con­cert held two weeks ago at San­dals Grande.

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