Now in its tenth year, the Caribbean Fine Arts Fair (CaFA) partnered with the Bridgetown International Arts Festival, creating a hive of activity in the Inner Courtyard of the Central Bank on Saturday evening. This alliance added another dimension to the long-running artiste showcase, with a spotlight being shone on the performing arts.
With veteran cultural practitioner Andrea King at the helm, it was a production by artistes for artistes. The promotion of original material was at the forefront through the use of multiple styles and genres.
The show opened with a performance by the talented Alleyne School Pop Band. Dance lovers received a special treat from Kemal Marshall and Gentle Steps with the piece Feminine Divine. Olivia Hall’s dance choreography, The Other Coloured Girl, was well-received. NIFCA regulars the Gem.I.Ni Project also performed a riveting piece called Fragments of Me.
The courtyard setting allowed the performers to get up close and personal with the attendees. Dramatist Noel Williams got within sniffing distance of his audience in his portrayal of Beware of Black Dog, which was written by Matthew Murrell. As he prowled, he painted a vivid picture of oppression and abuse, plagued with uncertainty about an unknown reality.
Multiple spoken word artistes were a part of the impressive line-up, and they each added their own flavour. Among them was La Shawna Griffith, recipient of the Gine on People’s Choice Writer of the Year Award, who did a selection of pieces. Stoned with Cupid’s mix of rap spoken word was highly entertaining, and he was tantalising with the smooth delivery of his erotica offering. By special request, Cyndi Marshall performed her NIFCA award winning piece To Those Who Complain About Brain Drain.
Performer RhyMinister got the attendees actively involved in his freestyle presentation as he challenged them to bring any item and he would give them a verse on it without breaking his flow. They clamoured for any item close to their fingertips. One patron reached for his belt, after his hat failed to stump the artiste. Another dynamic performer was vocal beat expressionist D.Cross, who hails from Brooklyn New York.
Later in the evening, patrons enjoyed performances by the duo of Shadia Marshall and Andre Clarke of the band 2 Mile Hill with their interpretation of Lead Pipe’s Sometime. Soulful vocalist Jessica Rose was joined by Marlon Legall and Shea Best for a groovy rendition of Esperanza Spalding’s Black Gold.
Singer Orande Hamilton made an individual appearance performing Lights Up and Rebel. He reappeared later with Stoned with Cupid. Reggae vibes were added by vocalist Joe Young and Jahren, with the latter making a compelling call for peace.
The evening closed with a segment with Sonny Meraki and IHI. Those who are familiar with the former for his sweet vocals enjoyed him in his unfamiliar role as an instrumentalist. Though Sonny Meraki included a cover of Sizzla Kalonji’s Woman I Need You in his set, he added his own essence to it in keeping with the original material mandate.
The night closed with a jam session with many of the featured acts returning to the stage. (STT)