Tabou Combo, Fuego Latino
Ronald “Boo” Hinkson, Barbara Cadet & Kalbas
@ Fond D'Or Nature & Heritage Park, St. Lucia Jazz Festival
5 May 2007
Click an image to enlarge
(top & right side)
This gorgeous east coast, Atlantic-side venue
was the setting for the Saturday afternoon performances of the first
weekend of Jazz. This venue always attracts local families as well
as enthusiastic visitors, who expect to see more Caribbean acts
than world-famous artistes.
Barbara Ann Cadet
This talented, local saxophonist, keyboard player
and singer was recently awarded a local merit medal for her contribution
to music. After a few minutes into her set, one could see why. Cadet
successfully blends African rhythms with French Caribbean style
(Zouk). Her tasteful jazzy rendition of the national anthem “Sons
of Daughters of St Lucia” received a standing ovation by locals
and Island visitors alike.
Ronald ‘Boo’ Hinkson
Hinkson is another popular St. Lucian musician.
He is a consistent guitarist who has shared the stage with many
accomplished world musicians such as Stanley Jordan and George Benson.
Hinkson immediately struck gold with his renditions of George Benson’s
Breezin’ and Al Jarreau’s Mornin’. And no, wonder
with Benson and Jarreau due on main stage within a few days! Unfortunately
the same cannot be said for his guest vocalist Stephanie Marshal
who struggled with Tania Maria’s “Come With Me”.
The performance started in the early afternoon with
the colourful sounds of Kalbas (derived from the hard-shelled calabash
used originally as eating bowls). They described themselves as a
‘universal fusion of our ancestors, out of Africa’.
They played enthusiastically, switching into the local Patois-speak
(mix of French / English) for most of their rhythmic local calypso
/ reggae sounds. The highlight for the chanting crowd was the introduction
of four local dancers in the traditional chequered material. The
two, well-proportioned women gave their slimmer male partners a
heavy exchange of bumping and grinding using different parts of
the lower anatomy to huge cheers from the crowd at every point of
contact! ‘Tout monde sa ca bon’ (Everyone should be
good!) was the final song of the set, which seemed to sum up the
feeling after this first act.
From the outset lead singer Raul Martinez made it clear that ‘We
are going to party’! After an afternoon of smooth Jazz, soul
mix, expectant patrons moved quickly towards the stage shaking themselves
down as if to warm up for a work out. And with a repertoire of Salsa,
Meringue, Soca, Bolero, R&B, Reggae, Reggaeton, Venezuelan Folk
and Latin Jazz on the programme, who needs a gymnasium?
The party was in full swing when two lucky ladies
were enticed onto the stage. No further encouragement was required…
hips and arms swaying in Latin ‘wine’ style. It was
a treat to see a Londoner with some serious rhythm in her hips!
The Fuego Latino performance was forty-five minutes
of high-energy heaven (for those who had the energy to participate).
The group's finale was their rendition of the 2007 Caribbean World
Cup Cricket Anthem, “The Game Of Love And Unity”
Brief interview with Fuego Latino by
Joel Perez formed Fuego Latino in 2004. His
inspiration was the need to fill a musical genre void in Trinidad
and Tobago. While Latin music and Latinesque bands exist in Trinidad,
the sound, the tempo and the styles they felt were lacking in authenticity.
I was amazed to discover this was their first
invitation to perform in St. Lucia. Judging by the feedback from
locals and visitors, I will guarantee this won’t be their
Fuego Latino musicians:
Musical Director and Timbales Joel Perez (Venezuela)
Congas - Ernesto Garcia (Venezuela) Bass - Edmond Thomas (Trinidad)
Keyboard - Simon Mendoza (Venezuela) Vocals - Damian Primus (Trinidad)
Vocals - Raul Martinez (Venezuela)
This long established band from Guadeloupe (French
Caribbean) has a funky, zouk style. Their contagious energy kept
this now worked-up crowd on their feet. With song titles such as
“Pump Up the Booty”, it is easy to see why!
Fond D’Or patrons eventually filtered away
smiling and still full of energy. No one could complain they did
not get their money's worth tonight!
Report by Carole Clemesha & Robin Francis
© Michael Valentine Studio Ltd.