A week of Jazz & Creole
The Jazz and Creole festival represents a new sound and one which is growing exponentially since its introduction to supplement the two major festivals in Dominica, Carnival and the World Creole Music Festival (WCMF). Now Dominica's Jazz and Creole is making a name for itself and has carved its own niche. It can no longer be referred to as a fringe event but, in fact, it has created its own fringe event prior to its main staging at the Cabrits National Park in Portsmouth.
This year June 8, 2014 was no exception as Grammy personalities such as the African singer Angelique Kido (who has done work with Alicia Keys, Carlos Santana, Peter Gabriel in crossover collaborations) formed part of the line-up.
Meanwhile, Puerto-Rican born, Miami-based Marlow Rosado Y la Riquena who won Grammy last year for Latin music, graced the main stage at the Cabrits National Park. He has an immense repertoire and boasts of over 60 recordings to date.
Thirty-five year old Heston Francis, one of Dominica's international stars who warm the hearts of ladies all over the world with his raspy soulful vocals, some compare it to the great Marvin Gaye, also did his thing. Heston, though not formally trained in music, has been coached by no less than Usher and Whitney Houston to name a few. He reached the peak of his career when the album "Love Junkie" soared to number one on the UK charts.
Featured also was the Eighth Note Band and Breve two of Dominica's finest in that genre. What's interesting for me at such an event is the pleasant coastal drive it allows for persons from the city and urban areas, to the picturesque historical enchantment of the Cabrits, overlooking Prince Rupert Bay, the fresh welcoming breeze, the local cuisine in abundance and the classy performances.
What makes Jazz so interesting and currently enjoying a growing fan base in Dominica is that the artistes don't have to sing for the music to speak to you. The expertise and feelings expressed in the musical execution is all that's needed. But when a singer is involved of equal ability then no music is more heavenly …I think.
There were fringe activities throughout the week preceding the main event at the Reggae Lounge, at River Stone Bar and Grill and at the Evergreen Hotel. The latter regularly presents Jazz 'N Creole Soiree featuring the best saxophonist on island and I dare say, one of the best in these parts, Jussi Paavola, who performed with the Jazz Quartet while another all-time regional great , Dominica's Julie Martin combined with brother Arthie on pan as Joy Stoute caressed the notes with her smooth vocals.
Meanwhile, Quanti Bomani a Californian saxophonist and Kayjah Charles who sang at the talent round of the 2013 Miss World competition were the highlights amidst the varied succulent dishes at Evergreen.
Last weeks' Jazz activities presented an opportunity to take the family out for some clean fun, wonderful music, atmosphere and another way of supporting a fledging festival in a nature island setting.
In closing, I would like to congratulate another extraordinary Dominican, Ambassador Michele Henderson- Delsol and her team on winning the prestigious CARICOM Song Competition. I also wish to offer best wishes to the out-going Festivals Coordinator, Nathalie Clarke, who served admirably, having overlooked what is expected to be her last formal activity with the Commission.