The right Hennessy mix
It was the art of perfect blending last Saturday night at the sixth annual Hennessy Artistry show. It was an event that would have made any music legend and lover –– both in this life and the next –– nod in approval. There was something for everyone: from R&B to dancehall to reggae. You name it; they sang it.
Thousands of reggae lovers converged on the grounds at the cricket mecca Kensington Oval; and if the packed VIP and general areas were to be used as any gauge, it might be reasonable to ask: what recession? Their economic woes and cries set aside, patrons came out in their numbers to see R&B crooner Joe, and Jamaican artistes Konshens, Tarrus Riley, Sizzla and Etana, and Bajan Buggy Nkante. And, they would be in for big –– and pleasant –– surpriseThe crowds were also in for a big surprise closer to the end of the show.
Etana, making her debut on a Barbadian stage, was the first out of the blocks, and she set the tone for what would be a fantastic night. With her enchanting vocals she went through her repertoire of songs, including her hits People Talk and I Am Not Afraid, to marked appreciation of the audience.
Jamaican MC Ms Kitty and Barbados’ own Peter Coppin kept the crowd that was now building up between acts well entertained. Ms Kitty was in her element, expressing her love for Barbados on this her first visit, and in her humour switching quite often between Standard English and Jamaican dialect –– which the crowd lapped up every bit of it.
Buggy Nkante was next on stage; and he did not disappoint. He is definitely a favourite. Buggy, who resides in Qatar, expressed his delight in being back home and performing for his fellow Bajans.
He told Bajan Vibes after his performance that it was heart-warming to have Barbadians accept his music. He offered songs like A Man Is Just A Man, Long Live My Enemies, Better Days Gonna Come and See Them From Afar.
At about 12:10 a.m. R&B crooner Joe took the stage, his fans positioning themselves directly in front of him as best they could to take it all in. These fans, among the more mature in the crowd, sang his songs word for word. However, old or young, the Bajan patrons, who usually take longer to warm up to R&B acts, did enjoy Joe’s performance.
Joe, his smooth voice taking them back in time, belted out songs like More And More, All The Things Your Man Won’t Do, If I Was Your Man and I Wanna Know. And it all turned into a lovers’ paradise in front of the stage, expanding backward through the crowd, as the couples hugged, cuddled, slow-wined –– even kissed –– as was captured on the big screen during Joe’s performance.
Many a single person in the audience was carrying a green-eyed monster on the shoulder.
But come Joe’s exit, the people were now ready to party, and just about two words into Ms Kitty’s introduction they figured who was coming next –– and they went wild. Konshens was up next to woo the ladies.
As the handsome, red-headed, smooth-singing artiste touched the stage, the only thing the females, who had now gathered at the front, didn’t do was step over the barricade –– and that was not for a lack of trying.
The Gal A Bubble singer kept his fans on their toes as he delivered hit after hit like –– Winner, Stop Sign, Ah So Mi Tan, Forward, Pretty Devil, Badman Settings, To Her With Love, Do Sumn and I’m Coming. His admirers followed his every command during his instruction songs like Boost Har Up and Pull Up To Mi Bumper.
The ladies must have forgotten they were dressed in heels and their finest, because when Konshens started singing, the hands of nearly all the females were on their knees, and they were pooching back. Konshens’ adoring fans were sorely sad to see him leave the stage.
But the love man was next, and he was hyped up as ever. Taurus Riley, with his silky smooth vocals, had the ladies swooning, or singing along enchantedly –– not surprisingly. He delivered hits like One Drop, Stay With You, My Day, She’s Royal, and others. Taurus also paid tribute to the incarcerated reggae legend Buju Banton, singing a medley of his songs.
The ladies could not get enough of Taurus, and they went into a further frenzy when he brought back Konshens onstage to perform their duet Good Girl.
Now well into Sunday morning, patrons were far from tired –– and quite ready for more. They knew who was left to come –– Sizzla –– and they couldn’t wait. From the sound of his voice with “I’m missing you . . .” the reggae lovers –– male and female –– went wild. But they were in for a surprise to boot. The organizers of Hennessy Artistry definitely went all out with this one. They had brought Bounty Killa on as a special performer.
And so he appeared with Sizzla. Bounty Killa was his ever impressive self, the crowd clearly satisfied with the pleasant surprise.
Sizzla would continue to thrill the audience with his 45-minute session. And judging from the many screams and “bup-bup-bups” and raised gun fingers throughout the crowd, it was evident every minute of Sizzla’s performance was being taken in.
The organizers of Hennessy Artistry truly got the mix right more than ever this year, giving patrons their money’s worth, as they left The Oval a bit after 4 a.m. quite satisfied.