With a rich musical legacy built by the extraordinary talent and success of the likes of Jackie Opel, The Merry Men, The Mighty Gabby, Richard Stoute, Alison Hinds, Red Plastic Bag, Rihanna and countless others, Barbados has a lot to be proud of.
And the rich sounds that emanated from the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre this past Sunday at the opening of the sixth season of Mahalia’s Corner, clearly signalled that this tradition of excellence continues.
Energy, creativity and pure talent all made for a spectacular season premiere featuring young artiste Joaquin. The rising star, widely known for this year’s soca hit This Place, demonstrated his versatility in his eclectic offerings for the evening, which ranged from reggae to ballads.
The audience which packed the venue sang, cheered and danced along as it poured out praise for the gifted young performer who savoured the moment.
“I was a bit nervous before I went on stage but, from the first word, people started singing and dancing and this really motivated me to do even better and give my best on stage,” he told Bajan Vibes.
Joaquin, who shared that he was preparing to head to Trinidad and Tobago to participate in the 2017 Carnival, sees Mahalia’s Corner as the perfect training ground for nurturing fresh talent like his own.
“I think Mahalia’s Corner should be happening every weekend. You have a lot of talent in Barbados and you need to showcase the talent,” he said.
“Music in Barbados is going really far. Barbados is a gem and it is no coincidence that we have the biggest super star in the world – Rihanna. We have the best musicians in the Caribbean . . . we have the talent here, we need to embrace each other and push each other to get out there.”
While the night clearly belong to Joaquin, 16-year-old Jaeesha Samuel, the FLOW Spotlight artist for the evening, gave the audience chills with her rich, melodic voice.
Her calm persona as she mastered Rise Up by Andra Day masked her initial nerves well and showed that she is a promising talent.
“It was a good experience. I was happy to showcase my talent and people enjoyed the music . . . The crowd cheered me and helped me to finish my performance,” she told Bajan Vibes.
The youthful talent of Joaquin and Jaeesha is the reason Mahalia Cummins, lead Singer of Two Mile Hill (formerly NexCyx), created the musical showcase.
“Mahalia’s Corner started to expose new talent, expose new upcoming artists to the audience, give them a place to practise, a place to test their skills, a place to share their art, so it is not all about being flashy and performing, it is about exposing Barbados to the talent that we have that we might not know about,” Cummins said.
More than happy with the acts of the evening, Cummins told Bajan Vibes she was satisfied with the show’s success so far, noting that not only have young artistes come to the fore but also their careers have taken off.
“There was a guy in our open mike season, Kevin Melano, and just the other day I saw him release his music video and it really is a stellar video. We want to see more growth, more collaborations and Mahalia’s Corner is always the place that is open to that.”
The show continues next Sunday and will feature Buggy Nhakente.