Friday, April 19, 2024

St Lucia Jazz Festival ends on high

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The big weekend of the St Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival ended yesterday with a bumper crowd that was serenaded to by the O’Jays, cajoled by Ronald “Boo” Hinkson’s indigenous music of the Caribbean, made to groove by the jamming music of Brian Culbertson.
They also felt the pain of international R&B artiste R. Kelly who lost his nephew on that same day.
The festival offered some great performances, a mix of St Lucian talent, Caribbean rhythms, world music, Jazz and R&B.
The internationally renowned O’Jays showed no signs of age. With a tight choreography of steps, jumps and spins, the band, led by original members Walter Williams Sr and Eddie Levert Sr with the newest member Eric K. Grant, came onstage to thunderous applause and got straight down to business performing their biggest hits from albums of the past such as Stair Way to Heaven, Unity,  Love Train among others.
The trio interacted effectively with the crowd and the audience sang along to familiar tunes.
After this year’s festival, Brian Culbertson and his band will be the name on everyone’s lips. They ripped Pigeon Island apart with a set that included original music and cover versions. The instrumental solos were very entertaining and the crowd begged them not to leave.
Hinkson’s set was refreshing and a nice touch was Barbara Cadet, who showed her versatility as a Saint Lucian musician, entertaining the audience on the saxophone.
Show closer R. Kelly had the crowd waiting restlessly as they looked at a stage filled with band pieces for an hour.
When he entered to ear-splitting screams he went straight into singing his first two songs then stopped to take a good look at the crowd which had swelled and stretched to every corner of Pigeon Island.
The surprised Kelly then proceeded to sing every song that he knew would move the crowd such as Fiesta, Move Your Body, Wine For Me and Keep It On The Down Low.
He launched into I Wish and at the end proceeded to tell the crowd that as he landed he received the tragic news that his favourite nephew was killed.
That seemed to open the emotional floodgates and he fell to the ground sobbing and had to be consoled by his entourage. They then directed him to eixt the dark stage, all while the crowd kept chanting his name.
Kelly took a towel and wiped the tears and came to the centre of the stage to deliver two more songs. After an hour of performing and shook the hands of many.
A sensational performance and climax to the end of a revamped festival.  

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