The organizers of the Soleil St Lucia Summer Festival should take a bow for the successful staging of the first festival, St Lucia Jazz, under the new brand. The festival, which has been around for 25 years, went back to its roots this year with a heavy focus on jazz music which was quite spectacular over four nights of performances.
The first night showcased all local talent and they did not disappoint. In fact, that night was one of the best. The music, both instrumental and song, was first class. The show featured seasoned St Lucian jazz artiste Ronald Boo Hinkson and the Young Stars. Patrons who filled the new state-of-the-art convention centre at the new Royalton Resort and Spa, were thoroughly entertained and got their monies’ worth.
Hinkson, first on stage, warmed up the audience with renditions of songs like Peace of Mind and Comet. From then on, the night only got better and better and showcased some of St Lucia’s best.
Young saxophonist Rashaad Joseph, just 17-years-old, was the first Young Star to grace the stage and showcased ability well beyond his years.
He brought the crowd to life with his two selections – Justin Beiber’s Love Yourself and Alicia Keys’ If I Aint Got You. After the performance by Joseph, a poet by the name of Kyvon Edwin also got the audience going with his piece. The 19-year-old, who had first hand training from the late Nobel Laureate Sir Derek Walcott, sought to keep his mentor’s legacy alive and did an excellent job..
The audience was thrilled next by the sweet sounding voice of Shanne James. She put a jazz twist to the popular soca song Allez, by St Lucian artiste Teddyson John who, by the way, was in the crowd at the time. John then joined the young singer on stage and what followed was music to the crowd’s ears. Hearing a rendition of a different version of the well-known tune was definitely a treat.
Hinkson then continued his set and was joined by two experienced vocalists, Shannon Pinel and Irvin Ace Loctar, who kept the audience thoroughly entertained well into the night. They then brought the show to a close with an instrumental version of the popular soca song Full Extreme by Trinidadians, the Ultimate Rejects.
The festival continued on the Friday night with two shows — one back at the Royalton and the other at Pigeon Island. Hundreds packed into Pigeon Island, donned with blankets and chairs, for the second night of the festival. And those gathered from around the Caribbean could not get enough of the legendary Trinidadian soca star, David Rudder.
He graced the stage just after midnight and entertained adoring fans for about an hour, singing some of his greatest hits including, Calypso Music Feet Don’t Fail Me Now Give Praise, and Power and the Glory. The crowd was filled with Trinidadians who flocked to the front of the stage for Rudder’s performance. They sang his songs word for word and were quite interactive with Rudder, much to his delight.
Two songs, though, particularly stirred the crowd and the emotion could be seen on their faces as they sang along to Where the Man With the Hammer Gone. When Rudder sang the unofficial Trinidad anthem, Trini to De Bone, one would have thought the show was in Port of Spain as the crowd sang along word for word.
Before David Rudder, a St Lucian, Michael Rudder, and his band treated the crowd to many R&B originals and covers which excited many of the ladies. His set included songs like , Living Life Haffi Come Back Make You Mine and Island Love. The home-town artist was well received by the St Lucians who sang along with him to each song.
Earlier that night, at the Royalton, patrons were treated to pure jazz music by Malika Tirolien and Danilo Pérez’s Panamonk Revisited: 20th Anniversary with Ben Street and Terri Lyne Carrington.