ESSEN­TIALS

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Vir­gin Hol­i­days (0344 557 3859; vir­gin­hol­i­days. co.uk) of­fers seven nights at The Club Re­sort, Bar­ba­dos & Spa from £1,535pp. In­cludes Vir­gin At­lantic flights from Lon­don Gatwick, all-in­clu­sive ac­com­mo­da­tion at the re­sort and spa, with trans­fers. Price is per per­son based on two adults trav­el­ling and shar­ing a Gar­den View room, de­part­ing on

May 7. Also book­able at the 110 Vir­gin Hol­i­days out­lets in Deben­hams and House of Fraser stores. The Caribbean Choir Work­shop is free of charge (25 places) avail­able at The Club Re­sort on the fol­low­ing dates: May 7-11 and 14-18. Fur­ther dates are planned later this year and for Septem­ber 2019 on Bar­ba­dos and other Elite Is­land Re­sorts lo­ca­tions on An­tigua and St Lu­cia.

For more about Mike King and his singing work­shops, see my­coolk­ing.com

qual­i­fied to call it a “gig” now – was, I think, a suc­cess although not an un­qual­i­fied one: mov­ing sud­denly from the cool, dry air of the re­hearsal room to a more am­bi­ent space proved a bit of a shock. It felt more com­fort­able in the throat, but we needed to take it up a gear to be heard.

Voices for Lu­pus showed up as promised (to­gether with a Ba­jan sen­a­tor who was a pa­tron of the Hope Foun­da­tion Bar­ba­dos, the char­ity be­hind the choir).

All the “visi­tors” – in­clud­ing our tourist friend Clement – got a cou­ple of solo lines in a clev­erly slowed-down, gospelly ver­sion of Bob Mar­ley’s One Love.

In these and the ensem­ble parts, Mike took us be­yond the karaoke thing where you can’t quite be your­self, just a sort of pale im­i­ta­tion of the orig­i­nal singer, and if you’re not care­ful you end up do­ing some sort of hideous Keith Lemon par­ody: we really do feel like we’re in­side the songs singing out. The most en­rich­ing thing, some­how, is to sing along­side the re­sort staff – it’s a very in­ti­mate act to ex­pe­ri­ence with a group of peo­ple we might oth­er­wise have en­gaged with on a much more su­per­fi­cial or trans­ac­tional level. There is, as pre­dicted, an ex­tra-in­tense hugathon af­ter we fin­ish – and even talk of a staff choir form­ing.

Af­ter the con­cert, Mike has a treat lined up for us. “I’m tak­ing you to the Gap,” he an­nounces. Vi­sions of chi­nos, but­ton-down cham­bray shirts and sen­si­ble sum­mer print dresses dance be­fore our eyes. It turns out he’s speak­ing of St Lawrence Gap on the other side of the cap­i­tal Bridgetown, where the dance halls and mu­sic bars are. We watch a blis­ter­ing set by the NG30+, “30” de­not­ing a trio, “+” the fact that there are more than three – in fact, ap­prox­i­mately seven – of them. They’re tremen­dously good: brass-led, wildly eclec­tic (ev­ery­thing from soca to hip-hop to disco, to John McLaugh­lin-type jazz, to a mari­a­chitinged ren­der­ing of the Game of Thrones theme tune, gets thrown into the blender, then splurged back out, with wit, en­ergy and Spring­stee­nesque lev­els of com­mit­ment).

Mike, who clearly has the muso’s in­stinc­tive abil­ity to track down the most hap­pen­ing band in any given lo­ca­tion, is beam­ing like a Cheshire cat. We sit or stand by qui­etly, Banks beers in hand, sagely nod­ding, watch­ing our fel­low per­form­ers with a com­radely eye.

SINGING BASE

A room at the Club Re­sort on the is­land of Bar­ba­dos

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