Review of Beats and Bites- a Sisserou Singers production
Different as always, and classy, is the way I would describe the Sixth Form Sisserou Singers latest presentation " Beats & Bites" staged this time at the Fort Young Hotel. This choral concert was staged under the distinguished patronage of President Savarin and wife last weekend. Part proceeds of this well-attended concert, wine and cheese cocktail went towards the Lupus Foundation of Dominica.
The setting at the Fort Young with the sea serving as backdrop on a clear and pleasant evening, lifted the ambience and presented a wonderful environment which evoked a mood deserving of these most talented youths mentored by Pearle 'Aunty Pearle' Christian.
As usual the Sisserou Singers paid homage to the creator in song to begin the show with "Make a Joyful Noise Unto the Lord." The group's former president Kareem Bertrand was entrusted to do a solo. His first line was a bit shaky but by the time he got into it we knew we were into something special as section 1A climaxed with "Glory" from the movie Selma. Former Sisserou Singers- calypsonian Webster Marie and Kharlen Silva were brilliant with their ballad and Rap-Hip-Hop combination respectively. Earlier Amanda Lawrence and Janae Jackson brightly shone their talents on the song "True Light."
'Miracle', 'See you again', 'Haven't I met you yet', 'Like I'm gonna lose you' were all executed with harmonized and choreographed precision, featuring solos by Tracy Peltier, Kerwin Jno Baptiste and Shanice Langford. However, it was the vocal combination of Tasha Peltier and debutant soloist, Ogelly Moses which really stood out at the end of this section evoking some well deserved applause.
I noted the ease and dexterity at which 1st soprano Miss Jaycees Caribbean Tasia Floissac vocalized "Let it go" from the Disney animated movie "Frozen", but I was soon diverted to the most spicy choreographed presentation; Gloria Estefan's and Enrique Garcia's "Rhythm is gonna get you." This performance got everyone moving in their seats. Before the applause could subside, however, Webster Marie was back with his 2017 Calypso classic "Nice Boy" followed by an Amanda Lawrence rearranged "My House," a Soca composition made popular around the region by Farmer Nappy. Section 1C stood out, and set the tone for the popular folk section while patrons helped themselves to some wine & cheese supplemented with biscuits and fruits.
Lavinia, the musical comedy written and directed by Alwin Bully, with musical arrangements by Pearle Christian, followed after the 30 minute break as the feature presentation. This folk segment featured storytelling in drama, poetry, kont, beff, ring games, comedy in all its traditional brilliance.
Folk songs of Jean Lawrence Maturin highlighting Copen Lapen and Cope Tig, the traditional Jamaican banana song classic 'Day O' and even Venezuelan 'Bad woman' were all featured in the "Lavinia" story line. The songs accentuated and gave color to the unfolding story of a young woman caught in a three-man choice for marriage.
The choice for Tasia Floissac who starred as Lavinier in this mini musical, was not made easy as she had competitors in Jessie Mahon played by Vernandra Christian who used the 'cocoa tea' to win over Bonti, the farmer. Then there was Ashley, fresh from England who promises much but his own infidelity got the better of him...or rather his face, Esmeralda, made sure of that.
Unable to make up her mind, Lavinier travels the rocky Dominican terrain to town and country for a desired 'space', to clear her mind. Soon it became very clear that she could not settle for the pretentious Ashley and his 'Dry Wedder House' which contained as many leaks as his stories and English accent. True love was also not found in Bonti- played by Felicien Antoine, (who, in a startling turn of events, denied ever knowing her) but rather in the simplicities and honesty of Sonny boy, Aunty Mattie's helper, who finally chose "Home Sweet Home" for the couple to settle.
The unfolding of the drama was aided by live music from congas, flute, bass and piano from leading musicians Fred Nicholas, Michele Henderson- Delsol, Jodie Dublin, Jodie Johnson, Leanne Christian, Kathy Buffong, Shirvon Baron, Corey Gordon and Aunty Pearle herself among others. Meanwhile the youthful Vinlyze Daley and boy- wonder Jarrett Jean Jacques were outstanding in poetry and keys respectively as they added support between sections.
I took another bite and some red wine as I departed the Fort Young; it was only then that it dawned on me-this was the rationale for naming the production "Beats & Bites"! Well, I enjoyed both- an evening well spent.