Yonda Sisters & Soukous Band, Ronald 'Boo'
Jazzari with Happy Lewis, Sisterhood, Joyeux
Cable & Wireless Diamond Steel
@ Fond D'Or Heritage Park, St. Lucia Jazz Festival
May 15 2006
review in order of stage appearance.
Click an image
Forty minutes drive from the capital, Castries, Fond D’Or
is a venue on the east coast road, which slopes down in the distance
to the Atlantic side of the island.
Its rolling hills, ruins of an old mill, led to a stunning
backdrop for the stage which was set up at the pit of the slope.
Flanked on both sides with food and drink booths, it would have
been difficult not to see the stage, or for anyone to run out of
This was a beautiful HOT Sunday afternoon - the day was perfect
for a varied mix of music for locals and tourists alike.
Opening act - Sisterhood blessed the high stage at Fond D’Or.
This homegrown quartet has performed at many musical events throughout
the Caribbean over the past few years. They have captured the style
and essence of the many varied music genres that has shaped the
Caribbean. Unfortunately the group’s vocals left much to be
desired as they struggled with harmonies on a couple of cover versions.
The superb performance by the now well travelled, Ronald ‘Boo’
Hinkson, was worth the wait. Hinkson is a born and bred St Lucian
guitarist who is respected for his craft, consistent performances
and welcoming presence worldwide. Tanya Maria’s “Come
With Me”, performed by Hinkson, band and local girl –
Stephanie Marshal, who joined him briefly, went down a storm –
(not literally thankfully). This was followed by a magnificent set
with Atura Tapin on saxophone. Soulful vocals followed from Irvin
‘Ace’ Loctor who’s T-shirt proclaimed ‘I
The sun was beginning to set as Martinique band Joyeux arranged
their individual conga drums below the stage. Their animated singer
swiftly aroused the crowds’ curiosity with French Creole renditions,
starting with a song which explained why ‘Ma mere est contente
parce que je suis content’ – (my mum is happy because
I am happy). The heavy conga drums seemed to hypnotise the crowd
as they surged forward to watch the musician’s rapid-fire
hand movements. The singer left no doubt as to why he was happy
with gestures that enticed local girls, as well as visitors to wine
and writhe to the rhythm. A truly electric, vibrant atmosphere against
a colourful backdrop of drums, colourful fabrics and dance.
At the end of their set, the now charged crowd were on a new high.
Their expectations were now raised. The following act - The Yondo
sisters and Soukous Band would need to be on fire.
This band from Zaire, with a sedately dressed female singer in
white trouser suit started off slowly with a calm French song. Dismay
could be seen on the faces of the revellers as the next song followed
But not for long! “Ca Ka Fait?” She screamed at the
crowd (How are You?). The beat changed tempo and the jacket opened
to reveal a provocative white basque. Two dancers in ra-ra skirts,
who matched and then augmented her seriously sensual movements,
joined her. They gyrated and thrust hips forward at high speed -
much to the delight of male and female patrons alike. The flavour
was African zouk sung raunchily by the now-jacketless singer using
her microphone stand as a dancing prop and occasional imitation
dancing partner. I wander if it would have refused her approach
if it could talk?
A fire-eater rushed the stage, dressed in African tribal garb.
His fire stick, reached his male nether regions as opposed to the
mouth. The crowd watched in awe and danced along with him as he
escaped his predicament with a permanent grin on his face. His encore
was with a spinning bicycle wheel on his head as he danced to the
audience cheers. “Don’t try this at home, folks!”
The atmosphere was thick with high expectation and pulsating rhythms
- All blended with the musky warm night air massaging our bodies.
The Yondo Sisters continued to dance, gyrate and excite all who
had the energy to watch. Who needs a work out after all that?
Sisterhood – vocals, Ronald ‘Boo’ Hinkson –
Irvin ‘Ace’ Loctor – vocals, Joyeux – drums
& Robin Francis