A debt of gratitude to both the group FuZions and Tanika Walton for reminding those who were at the third NIFCA semifinals on Monday night at the Lester Vaughan Secondary School, that the festival is indeed about showcasing Bajan talent and culture.
With most vocalists choosing to perform songs from North American artistes and dancers opting to dance to all other genres of music, it was simply refreshing to see two outstanding acts which took the audience back to the early days of NIFCA.
No, NIFCA is not all about singing folk songs or performing to local artistes’ music but some vocalists can try their hand at singing original pieces as opposed to the constant singing of Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Alicia Keys, to name a few.
If nestled in the audience of a NIFCA show is an international tourist or even a CARICOM national, there must be something on the stage that shouts Bajan. Too many acts are the same and too many are straying away from the essence of what the ‘tradition of excellence’ in NIFCA truly is.
That said, here is where FuZions saves the day. The group is a quartet of beautiful singers who did something different on Monday night. They took local songs, rearranged them, and sang in harmony. Their two performances were not only unique but outstanding. They first fused Edwin Yearwood’s Voice in My Head with John King’s How Many More.
During their second performance, they performed a medley of folk songs such as John Belly Mah Mah, Pack She Back To She Mah and Come Down When Ah Call Yah. It was harmonious. It was an extremely creative way of delivering some old time Bajan favourites. The group was dressed in all black for both performances with blue and yellow jewellery to accessorise their outfits.
Tanika Watson was impactful and entertaining as well. She came dressed as Mudda Sally, in national colours, as she delivered her theatre piece It’s Me, Mudda Sally. With a vendor’s tray in hand and sometimes sitting on a stool, she told the story of Mudda Sally in an informative piece. She explained in a hilarious way how the character was linked to slavery and that she was not complete unless a Tuk Band was nearby.
A trio from A DaCosta Edwards Primary School was excellent. The Woodwind Quartet consisting of three boys and one girl serenaded the audience with their flutes, recorders and clarinets as they did Bajan Minuet and Trio. The first timers were flawless.
Musician Leandro Layne was also outstanding in both his performances. His first piece was Impromptu No.2 on the piano and the second act was Gabby’s Riots in The Land on violin.
While Tariq Griffith is a great singer, he failed to deliver a standout performance Monday night. Maybe he was feeling the after effects of competing in the Richard Stoute Teen Talent Show (in which he came third) the night before. However, neither his rendition of You are the Reason or Can You Feel the Love Tonight were impressive.
Others who performed were: Donna-Lisa Yearwood (She Used To Be Mine and Ah Caan Sleep); Kaleah Trotman (Redemption Song); Lael Charles (Let’s Celebrate and What Is Gender Violence); Renee-Simone St John (Lord I Believe and One Moment in Time); Anomaly Dance Academy (Remember Mama’s Words); West Terrace Primary School Choir (Marching On); Christ Church Girls School Choir (Ten Thousand Reasons); Sheriah Gibson (When We Were Young); Praise Academy of Dance (Today); Regina Rock (The Holy City); Telia Williams (Daddyless Daughters); Jalissa Edwards (Never Enough); Shireifa Joseph (Alive) and T’afari Steede (When Brown Girls Dream). (IMC)