Caribbean Praisefest 2015 –– The Barbados Edition is finally here, and the overseas acts are already on our shores, raring to go at tomorrow night’s big event that celebrates the creative musical genius of regional artists.
But this Nouvelle Vie-produced extravaganza is not just a concert; it is an opportunity by the organizers to give back to the Barbadian society. That is why –– as was done last year when the Break Every Chain Concert raised $15,000, and $10,000 went to the Child Care Board’s residential care community reintegration programme –– part of the proceeds from tomorrow’s Caribbean Praisefest will also go towards that same initiative.
It is critical therefore that people support this regional celebration of music in massive numbers by flocking to the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium for Saturday night’s 7:30 p.m. start, so they may be treated to the wonderful songs of local acts like De Warrior, Neesha Woodz, the Coleridge & Parry School Choir and New Dimensions Dancers.
But that’s not all. Here to perform from across the Caribbean are the legendary chorale from St Croix in the US Virgin Islands, Shine The Light, along with Fenton Harry from St Vincent and the Grenadines and Kevin Downswell out of Jamaica.
This afternoon, I interviewed Downswell before he left Jamaica for Barbados. Here is how that went:
What are your personal expectations for ministering in Barbados at Caribbean Praise Fest?
Hmm, the last time I was in Barbados I was guest at the Barbados Gospel Fest. That was about two to three years ago. The energy of the people of Barbados was exceptional. They knew almost all my songs and sang them with such passion and expressiveness as if they were the ones on stage. I loved that; I really did! This time around, I believe it’s gonna be at another level, and I’m truly looking forward.
What should Barbadians expect from your ministry at the event?
The greatest level of worship, the greatest level of energy, from a heart completely open to what God wants.
What songs do you feel you must sing for the Barbados audience?
I’ve been told that songs like If It’s Not You (Then Lord It’s Nothing), You Make Me Stronger, The Meaning Of Life ( my newest single), That’s Enough and Change Is Coming are among the most loved from my repertoire. So I’ll do my best to have those in my list of songs.
Will this be the first time you are ministering in Barbados?
What would you like people to know about your latest release?
My latest Single The Meaning Of Life was released late January of this year, and what is happening with it is already mind-boggling. Christ says “the thief comes to steal, to kill and to destroy, but I have come, I’m here now, that you may have life and have it more abundantly”.
He became sin so we would be made the righteousness of God. He took our poverty so we could be made rich in Him. So in essence, Christ came to restore us to true living, to remind us where true life lies –– in Him. The meaning of life is Jesus . . . .
A journalist once asked a famous individual what he wished someone had told him in the beginning of his career; and the celebrity responded: “I wished they had told me that when I get to the top, there is nothing up there.”
We need to all assess what we are all really after in life, and make sure that Christ is at the centre of our passions and dreams.
How many albums and how many singles do you now have?
I’m currently working on my third album and currently have two singles on the road: Christian Soldier and The Meaning Of Life.
Any more releases coming this year?
There are a number of things planned for this year, including the release of my first book; the release of my third album; and so much more which I will not divulge too much of at this moment.
To date, what’s your favourite song which you have recorded?
That is always one of the toughest questions, because I write all my songs, and all of them are quite dear to me. I also realize that almost all my songs from my two previous albums are loved by someone. Some might be more popular than others in certain regions, but when you travel to places like Europe and Africa, a lot of times the songs that are popular here in the West are not the popular ones there.
So I have to be careful not to just decide I’m gonna love one song over the other because it’s more popular
in a certain region.
All of my songs are very dear to me, and I am truly humbled to see how God has been using them to touch and transform lives across the world.
Do you write all of your songs?
Yes, I write all my songs.
Tomorrow’s Caribbean Praisefest event is only a small part of what’s turning out to be an especially busy weekend for people who want to get out of the house and enjoy some wholesome activities.
Tonight from 8 o’clock, there has been another vibrant session of CITA Radio’s Jam 4 The Lamb at the usual venue of the MERC Complex in River Road, St Michael, just off the road south of StarCom Network. The featured musical act on this occasion? Richard Antonio and his band. An added attraction is the step-up dance competition.
Tonight’s show goes until midnight.
By the way, Jam 4 The Lamb happens every fourth Friday.
Also tomorrow is Incredible Praise –– Worship Without Borders, coming off at Sanctuary Empowerment Centre, MPower Complex, Country Road, St Michael.
Headliners include the island’s number one gospel band Promise, recording artist Gozzy, the vocally powerful Sherryann Maughan and Kris Ann Hutson.
Neesha Woodz and De Warrior are also down to perform at the 6:30 p.m. praise and worship session.