It was expected that Queen of Soca Alison Hinds would pull out all the stops and deliver a top-notch performance at last Sunday’s Mahalia’s Corner.
It was also expected that 2 Mile Hill featuring sweet-singing Mahalia would serenade the packed room at Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
What was not expected, at least not by Bajan Vibes, was that local artiste Kweku Jelani would blow the crowd away, literally, with his impressive skills on the trumpet and his powerful vocals.
What was also not expected was that the Open Mic segment, featuring four local acts, would be just as entertaining as all the other offerings for the night.
This year’s season of Mahalia’s Corner got off to a truly fine start and patrons in both the general and lounge sections of the audience could attest to that. With standing ovations, screams and shouts of approval throughout the night, it was clear that after the three-hour show, a good time was had by all.
2 Mile Hill got the ball rolling at 8:25 p.m. Short and sweet are words that would best describe their set. The band performed songs like Fugee’s cover of Killing Me Softly, Special to Me, Trinidad carnival hit song Overdue and their signature song Let It Go
The stage was then cleared for the Open Mic segment which saw four brave Bajans come on stage to showcase their talent before a very appreciative audience.
Melissa Goddard did a though-provoking spoken word piece called Convocation. Jaime, who declared she was not a singer by profession, did an excellent job in singing Best Part, which she dedicated to her sister. Akelee Hall played the guitar to Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud while ‘Nark’ delivered a jaw-dropping rendition of John Legend’s Ordinary People
But it was the featured Spotlight artiste of the night, Kweku Jelani, who showcased a different level of talent as he sang and played the trumpet. He showed versatility playing and singing reggae, jazz and other genres of music. Kweku’s vocal range is as impressive as his playing on the trumpet. And it was a joy to watch him do both. The audience showed him just how much they enjoyed it with a standing ovation.
But even after all that entertainment, the night was not over yet. A queen was still to come.
At 10:15, the Queen of Soca hit the stage in true regal form. Alison was dressed in black leggings, long green shirt dress with an opening at the front, gold heels, and accessorized with pearls.
She started her hour-long musical journey by going way back. She sang one of her first hits, You Make Me Feel Special. The former singer with the band Square One was at home with the Mahalia’s Corner crowd. She talked, she laughed, she danced, and she interacted with members of the audience. On previous occasions, as she did Sunday night, Alison admitted she prefers to perform in front of an intimate crowd, especially at home in Barbados.
The island’s ambassador’s set included many of her hit songs throughout the years: Carnival Baby, Family Iron, Bazodee, Fuluma, and ladies anthem Roll. And while the crowd sat for the majority of her performance they all found it difficult to do so for her final song. As she belted out the word “posse”, everyone knew what was coming next. Alison’s hit song Togetherness does just that to any crowd: bring them “together” in nostalgia.
The LESC massive were on their feet singing and dancing with hands in the air. Smiles were on the face of patrons as they left. After all, the Queen had delivered, and they were also treated to some awesome surprise acts as well.
Mahalia’s Corner continues Sunday featuring Three Kings: John Yarde, Alix Cage and Raphael Saul.