The second day of the Naniki Barbados Music Festival was not enticing as the first, but it was nonetheless pleasurable.
The headlining performer for the climactic two-day music festival was a Brit with Barbadian roots, Soweto Kinch; the extremely high energy Canadian jazz band Shuffle Demons and reggae fusion band featuring Kalead and singer/violinist Kayaweh also dominated.
Canadian band, Shuffle Demon, had the audience aghast at their energetic and unpredictable performance. The group which includes frontman Richard Underhill, Matt Lagan, Kyle Tarder, Pat Collins and Stich Wynston caught the crowd’s attention with their hilarious yet politically tuned single Cheese on Bread.
Underhill shared that the group discovered that “cheese on bread” was a colloquial saying during their stay in Barbados and devoted the single to “beautiful Bajans” in the audience. The band performed some funky songs such as One Good Turn, Sell Me This, Earth Song and He’s The Drummer from their 2012 album Clusterfunk as well as their classic hits Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting and Spadina Bus.
During their closing performance, Shuffle Demons came off the stage and led a conga line across the lush and beautiful lawns of the Naniki, St Joseph resort. Most memorable was the surprising dance performance by drummer Stich Wynston which had the small audience in stitches.
Saxophonist, poet and MC, Soweto Kinch, was the opening performing act and he did his job well, keeping the audience entertained with songs from his 2019 album Black Peril and 2016 album Nonagram. The audience grooved to singles such as Mitosis, Montpellier, Waved and Nostalgia to name a few. Honouring his Barbadian ancestry, he kicked it up a notch with soca tune Kay Lay Lay Pom Pom originally by De Opels.
The musicality and diversity of Khalead and Kayaweh were entrancing. Backed by Oneka Small on percussion, Pedro Williams on drums, Ronald Phillips on guitar and Watu Tafar, they delved right into a conscious reggae vibe with Sizzla’s No Pain. Kayaweh’s violin enhanced the classical nature of the group’s hour-long set as they fused Burna Boy’s Ye with their distinct sound. The band also played Bob Marley’s Soul Rebel and their original singles Free The Grade, I Forgive and Numb. Giving life to the drums, Oneka performed her single Merciful King and Watu sang Icy.
Kayaweh’s violin blended seamlessly with the other instrumentalists, but when she sang, a different kind of prowess was shown. Her voice was like wind chimes, calling the attention of those on the lawns and hiding underneath the trees. Accompanying Khalead in I Forgive and Déjà vu, her vocals were really spellbinding.
The band closed the show around 5:40 p.m. but the crowd called for an encore. This resulted in an impromptu freestyle performance from local vocalists Lexi Davis and Vanessa Bongo who were called onto the stage and briefly showcased their vocal abilities. (IMC)