The Parkinson Memorial Secondary School hall came alive Wednesday night during Camp Fusion’s benefit concert for terminally ill calypsonian, William “Smokey” Burke.
The show opened with the song Colours sung by Smokey’s niece, Natalie Burke. The campers danced to the hit which was choreographed by Shelly Durant-Forde. The annual camp, organized by the Pinelands Creative Workshop, caters to children aged eight to 16 and seeks to expose youth to various art forms.
A large audience which came out to show their support egged on the young ones into the next performance by Alicia Hinkson of Tell Her I’m Sorry.
The colourful Sun ‘Til Sun was performed by the Intermediate Dancers and choreographed by Kimberly Jordan. What We Do was performed in Crop Over costumes by the campers. As expected, this number received a rousing round of applause.
Performances paid tribute to Natalie Burke who delivered her local hit song In De Middle. Songs which paid homage to the Calypso great during the night included Why I Sing Calypso by Nadia Mitchel Gittens and Jahzara Clarke and “King Kaiso” by Nadia Mitchell-Gittens. Mitchell-Gittens held the spotlight for the night as she performed a duet of “Are We Almost There” with her husband and Master of Ceremonies. They were beautiful as they embraced each other and swayed across the stage floor.
In the first half, the Minister of Education, Technical and Vocational Training and Leader of Government Business Santia Bradshaw delivered remarks, saying she realized that people were recognized when they were ill or dead.
“Too often, we wait until that moment has passed to say we salute you. We wait until the last moment to say that he or she made an impact.” Pinelands however, she said, has done the opposite where they salute people in the early. “We have recognized Natalie and Smokey Burke while they are here with us.”
Brathwaite added that she wished that the arts could get the same space and attention as academics.
“We really want Pinelands Creative Workshop to take centre stage where it should in terms of education. It must be supported because we have seen so many people come through this organization. There are many people who can balance the two areas,” she said.
Stedson “Red Plastic Bag” Wiltshire, a friend of Smokey Burke, described him as a versatile writer and singer.
“Smokey’s songs are deep. I think many people miss what is sung in his songs because they don’t want to think. Smokey Burke has built the very fabric of entertainment in Barbados. He has written folk songs and R&B,” Wiltshire said.
A smiling Burke said that he was very grateful for the turnout. Burke said he was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, which he survived. He then suffered a stroke last year which impacted his left side. However, Burke promised to be in the performing arena for Pic-O-De-Crop next year.
“My Dream”, one of Smokey’s songs, was performed by Malika Sobers who brought the curtains down with that number. (MR)