Danny Engoba, Les Coeurs Brisees
Senor Mandril, Giraldo Piloto & Klimax
Ronald “Boo” Hinkson & Friends
The Royal St. Lucia Police Band
@ Fond D'Or Nature & Heritage
St. Lucia Jazz Festival
3 May 2008
Click an image to enlarge
(top & right side)
For the first time in
17 years of St Lucia Jazz the opening was held away from Castries
(the capital) causing much local controversy, as well as a few raised
eyebrows from regular island visitors.
This was an afternoon / evening
programme held at the natural east coast venue – A 30 minute
scenic drive from the capital city of St Lucia. Patrons relaxed
under the hot afternoon sun. A varied music set was on offer amongst
the historic remains of an old mill. You could sit in the shade
if you so wish and look down on the sloping land towards the raised
stage. Though visitor numbers were clearly down on previous opening
events, Island visitors and locals relaxed, chatted and enjoyed
the sun, food and ambience.
The Royal St. Lucia Police
The Royal St. Lucia Police Band
started proceedings with their own style of blues, jazz, local quadrille
and meringue. With three new female members on board they seemed
to have extra vigour. They continued with a zouk (French style soka)
rendition of Glen Miller’s “In the Mood” which
encouraged some members of the crowd to get up on their feet.
Lucian born Harvey Millar is influenced
by the likes of Eric Gale, George Benson and Wes Montgomery. His
band included two local talented keyboard players; Monk jnr (17years
old) and the accomplished Emerson Nurse. With the masterful Teddyson
John on drums, Millar and co stirred the crowd with their reggae
enthused jazz R&B flavours. Lucian singer Tamara made a welcome
appearance to sing the Isley Brothers “For the Love of You”.
Senor Mandril are five youngsters
from Mexico with an eclectic blend of Latin American, funk and jazz
known as ‘Organica’ in the USA. The crowd seemed a little
confused, but applauded politely as their eyebrows twitched. Senor
Mandril is a vibrant group with great potential, but I felt St.
Lucia was not quite ready for this unique blend of genres.
Boo Hinkson & Friends
Boo Hinkson made his usual appearance
with vocalist Stephanie Marshal. Thankfully Marshal added Joan Armatrading’s
“The Weakness In Me” to her limited repertoire this
time round, and the brief but welcome inclusion of the smooth inviting
sax of the much-underrated Bajan born Aturo Tappin went down a treat.
Giraldo Piloto & Klimax
Giraldo Piloto & Klimax hit
the stage and immediately caused a stir amongst the female patrons.
This Cuban based 11-piece band added a much need kick to the generally
relaxed proceedings with serious Latin swing and Cha-cha-cha. The
three young male singers wined and gyrated their way through their
set as they sang non-stop. Giraldo Piloto & Klimax were later
invited to perform at other venues throughout this festival causing
a bigger stir at each appearance.
Danny Engoba Les Coeurs
Click an image to enlarge (top & right side)
Danny Engoba Les Coeurs Brisees
are 13 individuals (1 occasional male vocalist, 5 very lithe pretty
young women, 3 male dancers 4 musicians). In true Caribbean style
it was the women who attracted the most attention with their sexy
suggestive hip thrusts and ‘athletic positions’. They
writhed and wined on their shoulders, each other and the stage floor.
A truly ‘colourful’ display from every angle here.
It was a shame that time was not
really on their side. Due to other late performer arrivals, performance
times were rescheduled and slotted in accordingly. By the time Les
Coeurs Brisees hit the stage even the most hardened festival patrons
energy had started to flag. Les Coeurs Brisees continued to perform
as patrons began to make their way home. After all – this
was just the start of the festival, much more to see, feel and hear
over the coming days and nights.
Report by Carole Clemesha
& Robin Francis
© Michael Valentine Studio