WOW lacking in gala
Green, Janine, Mosiac Steel, Poleon, Raanan among bright sparks
The best of the best of Bajan talent was showcased at the National Independence Festival Of Creative Arts Gala at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex last Sunday night. But, as overheard from many on leaving the Wildey Gymnasium, the Gala was still missing that wow factor. Most of the NIFCA Finals nights were more exciting.
The award winners took to the stage, giving their best; but there was hardly a performance that left a buzz. I daresay the Gala was merely mundane. The running order even begged the question: were the best acts actually chosen to perform at the later stages of the NIFCA season?
Nevertheless, the Gala made for a relaxing Sunday evening, with a few bright spots –– for those who didn’t have the chance to attend any of the Finals.
Spoken word artist Adrian Green was undeniably one of the most anticipated and probably most well received acts of the night. From the time his name was announced the audience was in a frenzy, maybe because members knew this lyricist always delivers. And that he did!
From the first line in his poem –– “Some words men don’t like to hear, and words some women hope the don’t ever have to say . . . it too small . . .” –– the crowd erupted with laughter. Green then added: “Barbados too too small . . . ,” which sent the crowd into another fit of laughter.
After his performance, the crowd gave him a standing ovation. He received silver for for his Too Small piece.
Janine White, known too for her explosive spoken word performances, was also well received. She delivered The Red Hibiscus, one of her two poems (the other being Isa Bajan), both of which received silver.
Janine also received a certificate in directing for her piece Tribute To Vi, which was performed by her young protégé, seven-year-old Tahirah Gibbons.
Tahirah, small in stature, but big of heart, delivered a splendid performance, having the audience repeating her now famous hookline “when I grow up, I want to be a hawka”. She received a junior gold for her piece, as well as other incentive prizes.
The gold award-winning Mosaic Steel Orchestra, under the direction of David “Ziggy” Walcott, was one the night’s big highlights. Performing the popular Barber Of Seville, the group had put their own spin to it, for which they had got the only NIFCA Gold music award this year. Director Ziggy also received a prize for best arrangement, as well as the James Millington Award Of Excellence.
Gold also went to DJ Simmons for his theatre arts piece Last Saturday Night, which he performed on Sunday night.
Also delivering their gold award winning piece Animal Farm Circa 2014, choreographed by Aisha Comissiong, was Dancin’ Africa.
Justin Poleon and Megan Navarro too received NIFCA Gold –– at the very highest level –– for their dance piece Turned To Stone, and onstage again showed why.
Silver awardee Raanan Hackett was also splendid in his rendition of Reach by Gloria Estefan and Diane Warren.
By the time penultimate performer Cherece Richards was into her song, the audience was already much lighter than when the show had begun. NIFCA Bronze medallist Cherece gave a chilling performance of Mary Mary’s Yesterday, one of her two songs (the other being United In The Caribbean) for which she was rewarded. She also received Most Promising Newcomer To NIFCA.
Praise Academy Of Dance were last on stage with their Celebration Of Praise. These young ones, among the more energetic onstage, clearly had a blast. Too bad most of the audience had already left or were making their way to the exit, and couldn’t appreciate the dance.
For the second year, Cy Hutchinson received the Governor General’s Award Of Excellence. Worth $7,500, it was presented by Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave.
Other rewarded performers were the Haynesville Youth Group, Pehnyo Dance Company, Mequissa Baptiste, Element, Louise Woodvine Dance Academy, Patrice Gill And Friends, Sistaz, Blackman Gollop Primary School.