Rhesa’s reggae to the East
Bajan artiste tells of stage life in Kuwait
Rhesa Garnes, from an early age, knew that music, more specifically singing, was her passion.
“From as far as I could remember myself, I was on a stage. My first solo was at six years old in church. I was in the studio, at the age of nine, recording a Christmas album,” Rhesa told Bajan Vibes.
“I’ve always wanted to share my talent, because I always knew that I had something special. But there were times in my life that I second-guessed myself and, yeah, I decided to get a normal nine-to-five job.
“I worked nuff, nuff different jobs. I was a cashier; I worked as a waitress; I worked at the airport. I just was trying to find what it is that would make me feel comfortable . . . . And this is the only thing that really makes me feel like I’m alive that sorta way,” Rhesa declared.
She has come a long way, today performing with Buggy Nhakente and the band Fully Loaded, doing a lot of back and forth between Barbados and the United Arab Emirates –– Qatar, to be more precise.
“We have been back and forth since September, 2012. We started there just trying to introduce the Caribbean with the reggae music . . . and it has grown. When we first started, we used to get about ten patrons coming to see the show. Now we are up to 500 –– when we left.
“We play a beach event at the St Regis Hotel. They set it up for their own purposes, but we happen to get the link and it has been good so far.
“It seems like the people are really hungry for that vibe, for that freedom and that positivity. Being in the East, you have a lot of people come to Qatar from different places in North Africa, other places in Arabia, Lebanon. They are coming from places that you could consider to be riddled with strife, war. They are dealing with that tension and the reggae music, that vibe. It is helping them to destress,” she opined.
The mother of three, in describing the Qatar experience, explained that it wasn’t quite what she expected.
“It was not what people around me who were concerned about my travelling, like my family, were expecting. Yeah, they were expecting these restrictions [that] I couldn’t go anywhere; I had to dress a certain way.
“You have to dress modestly and respect the Islamic culture. I remember one time I was wearing a short pants, and security came to me and asked me to kindly escort myself back to the car park. It was just out of sight. Plus, it was close to Ramadan –– the holy month.
“Yeah, you would see the sheiks in their white and the ladies in their black, but it is a metropolitan place with people from all over the world; with people coming to make money and exchange cultures. We met a lot of Filipinos; we met a lot of Indians; we met a lot of Sri Lankans.
“I guess we linked up because of that island vibe; and they love reggae. It was a shock to see the response and to hear the people singing the songs . . . and we got people that came every week,” Rhesa said.
But there is more to this multitalented artiste than just reggae music.
“That started out from when I was young in the church –– my love for Jesus, the Lord, that higher power. Whatever you want to call Him, and this is something that I want to share in my music as well. Moreover, being reggae vibes-conscious is just a universal consciousness, and that is what I am trying to bring out in my project.
“The first single is called Imagine. It is about seeing yourself as being connected; the same as each other. Seeing the world as a better place because of it,” Rhesa posited.