An album and a tour

The Silvertones of Barbados, now celebrating 32 years of spreading its gospel music ministry locally, regionally and globally, is in the process of recording its seventh album, to coincide with a major performing tour to North America starting in June next year.

Public Relations Officer Daniel Holder told High Note the group, which now focuses on the Caribbean music genre because of its demand in North America, had sent ahead promotional copies of its sixth album to be played on radio and expect to have its proposed new CD finished early in the new year, to take along for marketing and sales purposes.

While no title has yet been determined, that production will cover such music idioms as reggae, spouge, soca and shango.

“We’ve had an invitation to Eastern Canada, Toronto, Prince Edward Island, and we are going to Ottawa as well. Then we come out of Canada and we go into Boston and New York… If time and circumstances allow, we go into Florida, Central Florida in particular. Those are the plans in terms of travelling for next year,” Holder revealed.

“We are also looking at doing our seventh album CD, because when you go into an area like North America in particular, you need to have product to sell. This is part of recouping whatever monies you would have spent in air fares and so on.

“Of course, you would have gotten assistance from the organisers at that end; but we need to do our own fund raising as well.”

He said that having had discussions with their contacts in North America, they have provided a tour bus, so the Silvertones team do not have to bother about ground transportation while there.

“We are looking at doing a number of concerts in concert halls, as well as to be appearing at churches in Canada,” stated the gospel group’s spokesman. “Our music is heard in Canada.

“In fact, only recently we sent off our sixth CD to Canada to a radio station there. There is a programme done by a Jamaican who is there. We use whatever contacts we can get, because we don’t want that we go into a market where we are not known,” asserted Holder.

He is of the view, that if people were hearing the music before hand, they would attend the performances.

“I do know that people are particularly keen on Caribbean music and as you know, the group, in recent times, has been doing reggae, spouge — we’ve been doing Caribbean rhythms in general,” Holder declared.

His experience with the group, he related, having gone into Florida in 2009 and New York in 2011, was that people liked “something fresh”. He drew as an example international gospel artist, Ron Kannolly, who Holder remembered recorded an album of African music.

“And this kind of music is catching on and we are doing that kind of music,” the Silvertones executive stated.

In recalling the “overwhelming” response to the group’s music while on overseas tours, he pointed to a 2009 performance at the International Convention of the Nazarene Church in Orlando, Florida, which was attended by about 60,000 people.

“And there was something called International Stage … and every day during the convention, various artists would minister on this International Stage. Every day the group would be there, and I remember one time one of the ministering young men from the United States came on after the group, and he introduced himself and said ‘You know it is a very difficult thing to come on after the Silvertones.”

Holder said the group sold a lot of CDs at that convention.

The Silvertones official also informed High Note that the 18-member group was examining rebranding itself, as a result of a music workshop held recently, at which one of the professionals in the industry was invited to Barbados to discuss the “ins and outs” of the business with them and make recommendations.

He noted that their eyes were opened to the fact that gospel artists in Barbados had a long way to go to be on the cutting edge and that one person should not try to take on disciplines such as marketing and promotion all by himself, because each of these was a speciality area.

What used to be known as the Nazarene Silvertones of Barbados, has evolved over the past three decades into an inter-denominational outfit where it’s no longer solely a Nazarene act, but includes Seventh Day Adventists, Salvation Army and Pentecostals. The group also comprises nationals from Guyana, Africa and England.

One challenge the Silvertones is experiencing though is recruiting males. Right now, there are only three of them. The chorale is preparing for a big two-day concert here in late September at two venues. More later.

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