Music talent to die for

There is talent aplenty in Barbados. And an abundance of it was showcased last night at the National Independence Festival Of Creative Arts Music Finals.

We can confidently say Rihanna will not be the only international singer coming from this little island in the middle of the sea. It’s only a matter of time before another emerges.

The night saw 21 performances, featuring some repeat artistes, all hoping to cop that gold award and some of the incentive awards –– the James Millington Award For Excellence In Music (Non-Professional), the Jackie Opel Award for the best written, arranged and performed piece, the Prime Minister’s Award For Originality, the Prime Minister’s Scholarship and the Massy Creator’s Award. The judges will have a swell time choosing the winner for the Originality award because on this night, creativeness shone through. It was very satisfying to watch and listen.

The name Raanan Hacket should not be unfamiliar to any, and it’s a name all Barbadians should get used to hearing. The current 8-12 Junior Calypso monarch gave a great performance of Reach by Gloria Estefan and Diane Warren for his first performance. He switched it up a bit in the second half, singing his now notable social commentary No Daddy, that won him the crown back in July.

Raanan Hackett singing his social commentry No Daddy.
Raanan Hackett singing his social commentry No Daddy.

The song will never grow old, and Raanan seems to just get better each time he performs it. And the crowd loves it! Raanan should be in the winner’s circle for sure.

The Israel Lovell Foundation were up next in the first half, and they too impressed –– the group of talented youth who enjoyed their time on stage. It is nice to see the young fellows getting involved in the positive.

Also focusing on the constructive was Glenville Bennett from HMP. His was a self-written and composed piece entitled When –– which he also arranged.

Shernell Clarke would add to the sweet sounds of music next with her first of two performances, rendering In The Valley and showing why she is a three-time NIFCA awardee. For her second half, Raining was delivered just as scintillatingly. She is sure to become a four-time NIFCA Award recipient.

Harrison College student Mequissa Baptiste kept the stellar performances going. She too offered two pieces, her first being What Love Really Means and secondly, Stubborn Love. Both were well presented, as she exuded confidence on stage.

By this time I was in awe of the singing talent of these young ladies, but what came next completely blew me away. Cherece Richards, of the Frederick Smith Secondary School, had me hanging on to her every word. Her first performance Yesterday by Mary Mary was done in angelic voice.

It contrasted with United In The Caribbean, which she belted out and had the audience eating it all up. Cherece got one of the biggest applauses of the night. She is definitely one to watch.

An instrumental presentation followed, with the talented Nicholas Stevenson on trumpet. He is deserving of a gold. Three students of Codrington School, with arranger Chrystal Cummins-Beckles on keyboard, delivered a splendid version of Jessi J’s Price Tag.

Nicholas Stevenson deserves gold for his talented trumpeting.
Nicholas Stevenson deserves gold for his talented trumpeting.

The Mosaic Steel Orchestra then brought the glorious sound of pan to the Frank Collymoore Hall. Simply outstanding with Barber Of Seville, they were a favourite with the crowd. They should medal highly.

The Mosaic Steel Orchestrea giving an outstanding performance  of Barber of Seville.
The Mosaic Steel Orchestrea giving an outstanding performance of Barber of Seville.

Partrice Gill & Friends too gave a commendable performance of their piece St Lucy.

And, The Sistaz, comprising four girls –– two pairs of sisters –– were excellent on the night, offering the orginal selection of CARICOM Song and a medley of actual Caribbean songs entitled Sistaz.

The Haynesville Youth Club brought the curtain down on what was a fantastic NIFCA Music Finals. They performed Phase 2, an original piece, leaving the audience cheering and screaming.

Haynesville Youth Club with their original song Phase 2.
Haynesville Youth Club with their original song Phase 2.

And, as I walked out Frank Collymore Hall, humming the tune to United In The Caribbean, I couldn’t help picturing myself on the NIFCA stage next year. Maybe not! But one can dream.

One thing, for sure, the presentations did renew my confidence in the talent this island possesses, and it would be to our detriment to ever overlook it. It would be most stimulating to see some of what dazzled last night at the coming Gala.

The Theatre Arts Finals was slated for tonight.

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