Barbadian Christian recording artist Neesha Woodz is now in St Vincent and the Grenadines to perform at the last two big days of that country’s 13th Annual Gospelfest, which opened on April 12 and climaxes on Sunday with a National Gospel Showcase, featuring song, drama and dance.
Neesha will rub shoulders with international gospel singing evangelist Bridget Blucher, as both of them perform tomorrow night at the Clive Tannis Playing Field in Bequia and at the Gospelfest finale in Victoria Park on Sunday night. On Sunday, Neesha will also get to share the big occasion with other top acts like former calypsonians Felix Dalpin Findlay and wife Monica Valley Dove.
This afternoon, Neesha was being described on St Vincent radio as the biggest rising star from Barbados.
When she returns home, she will be intensifying her preparations to minister at Barbados Gospelfest 2015, which runs from May 24 to 31.
Another top local act scheduled to take part is the award-winning band Promise.
Under the theme Changing Nations, Touching Lives, this year’s Barbados Gospelfest will also bring together
some of major international and regional recording artists.
These are the globally acclaimed Israel, New Breed and Akintunde from the United States; the Brooklyn-born saxophonist, composer and entertainer of Bajan parentage, Curtis Haywood; Esther Farinde and Ekklesia out of Britain; Gershwin Lake and Parables from Anguilla; the Martiniquan vocal group Kreyol Gospel Parts; and Positive and Sherwin Gardiner out of Trinidad and Tobago.
Permit me to highlight at least one of these artistes not that well known to most.
I will put the spotlight on Curtis Haywood.
Saxophonist, composer, entertainer, counsellor, Curtis Haywood was born in Brooklyn, New York, of Barbadian parentage, and studied the saxophone, trumpet and drums with his father at the age of six or seven.
Not only was this a love of his, but it also became a saving grace for his condition of asthmatic bronchitis, which rendered him many painful nights. During high school, he backed Joseph Niles in a full steel band, rotating from bass to tenor pan.
He continued sharpening his craft at Berklee College Of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, and has since been blessed
to share the stage with a list of who’s who in the world of smooth jazz, classic R&B, and gospel.
Donating a portion of his CD proceeds, Curtis remains connected to the world of need through charity partnerships with Feed The Children, Self-Help Africa, Community2Community (a relief effort in Haiti), as well as through his local congregation at Christian Cultural Centre in Brooklyn.
A list of his performances includes with the 2014 Jazz On The Vine Festival at Raphael Vineyard, Peconic, New York; 2013 New York’s WBLS 107.5 Radio’s New Year’s Eve Cruise; 2013 (comedian) Sinbad Show in New Jersey; The Intruders in New Jersey, 2013; 2012 Central New York Jazz Festival in Syracuse; 2011 Hartford Festival Of Jazz (featuring Cindy Bradley, Steve Cole, Matt Marshak); 2011 Vistancia Wine And Music Festival in Peoria, Arizona; and 1990 Capitol Jazz Festival (with some members of the group Joshua.)
Haywood has also performed with Take 6, Temptations, Ray, Goodman & Brown, Blue Magic, Stylistics, Melba Moore, Melissa Morgan and Kirk Franklin. His stylistic of music is influenced by such greats as King Curtis, Grover Washington Jr, David Sanborn, Kenny Garrett, Bob Mintzer and Kirk Whalum.
That’s it for now. Until later, I pray blessings on you.