There is no denying that Barbadian soca artiste Damian Marvay knows how to keep a crowd’s interest. Last Sunday night at Mahalia Corner’s Christmas Edition, the groovy crooner had the crowd eating out of his palm with his popular tunes and engaging personality.
The hundreds gathered in the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre formed a chorale during Marvay’s opening performance of This Christmas. He kept the atmosphere lighthearted as he shared anecdotes about Christmas during his childhood and his school days with members of 2 Mile Hill and delivered a freestyle in the midst of his performance to the surprise of the audience. During his festive performance of Red Plastic Bag’s Christmas calypso Maizie, Marvay went into the audience and pulled soca artiste Nikita to her feet to join him in song, much to the audience’s delight.
His soothing and honey-dewed vocals were highlighted during his performance of O Holy Night and his duet with Barry Griffith of Crazy Love. But what really brought the crowd to their feet was his performance of their favourite soca singles, Know Your Face, Antidote, At Large and his finale Survive The Weekend which they sang word for word. Before the audience knew it, Marvay’s set was over and they were wanting more. The Christmas edition left some calling for another concert.
From the opening, 2 Mile Hill had the audience wanting more. They performed Christmas tunes such as We Don’t Have Snow, Every Year, Every Christmas, Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas and pop hits like Boo’d Up. Mahalia and jazz singer Betty B gave an impressive rendition of And This Is Christmas. Betty B also debuted her recent single Practice. One of the night’s highlights was Mahalia’s beautiful duet with James Leacock of It’s Christmas.
The traditional Caribbean Christmas was not forgotten as the crowd was entertained with tunes such as Piece Ah Pork.
The open mic night is a staple of Mahalia’s Corner especially since it provides a platform of young local talents and it did not disappoint. The group Harmony from the Alleyne Secondary School was outstanding with their acappella of Mary Did You Know and Rise Up. Karolina Karlsrud and Chad Montplasir from Operation Triple Threat also gave a stellar performance of All I want For Christmas Is You.
Barbadian jazz vocalist Kelli Cadogan gave an impromptu soulful performance during the open mic of A Natural Woman.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley could be seen enjoying the festivities as well as Hugh Riley, Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO).
Riley revealed that it was his first time attending Mahalia’s Corner and applauded the endless talent that stood on the LESC stage.
“The seasoned professionals were outstanding; and throughout the event I kept thinking about the obvious generosity of 2 Mile Hill in showcasing emerging talent under the same spotlight, on the group’s own major stage! Some new performers were understandably nervous, but now they have 2 Mile Hill to thank for being such an excellent role model and for giving them a possible life-changing opportunity.
I wish all of Barbados could get a sample of what we experienced last night, visitors too. In fact, for our guests to see how we have fun together and how we share the joy of our culture with each other and with friends, is a powerful and important component of the tourism product. Those are some of the things that make us such excellent hosts,” said the CTO Secretary General. (KK)