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 Park
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 Band
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 Brisees
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 Ltd.