Maxi’s musical magic

If one wants to encapsulate an enchanting Caribbean night, then one could hardly do better than a canapé of majestic trees providing a canvas for moonlight; psychedelic man-made lights frolicking with accommodating foliage; rum flowing down welcoming palates; corn soup with a touch of ginger warming a lingering chill; bubbling fish cakes disappearing as fast as they appear; a cooling ocean-originated breeze; and West Indian people grooving to dominant drum and bass.

This was the picture on Saturday on the second night of the Naniki Music Festival at the idyllic Holder’s House, at Holder’s Hill, St James. Dubbed Echoes of the Caribbean, the occasion provided another opportunity for fans to be regaled by headline act Maxi Priest, to appreciate the immense talent of Albert Olton and to witness the huge promise of Daniel Medford.

Maxi Priest belted out hit after hit.
Maxi Priest belted out hit after hit.
Albert Olton sang a number of impressive originals.
Albert Olton sang a number of impressive originals.

Priest, who first touched down on a Barbados stage in the 1980s after being popularized on the airwaves by deejay John Barry, has lost little in the intervening three decades. If anything, his stage charisma has increased even more. He arrived on stage just before 10 p.m. after the sterling efforts of Olton and Medford and took fans down memory lane with a number of his signature originals and covers.

Fans responded with great enthusiasm when they recognized the opening strains of such selections as Just A Little Bit Longer, Should I, Wide World, Crazy Love and I Believe In Love. New songs such as Loving You Is So Easy, and bearing Priest’s lovers rock stamp, were also warmly received.

He was joined onstage by dancehall artiste Dennis The Menace for a rollicking session of dancehall favourites, as well as a tribute to late reggae greats Bob Marley and Dennis Brown with numbers such as I Shot The Sheriff, Redemption Song and Have You Ever Been In Love.

Dennis The Menace and Maxi Priest in the background during their dancehall session.
Dennis The Menace and Maxi Priest in the background during their dancehall session.
Onika Best caught the attention of the audience with her style and energy.
Onika Best caught the attention of the audience with her style and energy.

This session was a virtual jukebox rotation without the coins, as they churned out a mix of reggae, dancehall, and even pop numbers with reggae-influenced bass lines, to the raucous acclaim of those feasting on their every note before the stage. Priest brought his act to a conclusion with a riveting rendition of Say A Prayer For A World, his exhortation for an end to the mad violence being perpetuated globally by misguided Islamic and other religious extremists.

Earlier in the night Olton, who once showed much promise as a calypso artiste, rendered a number of original reggae numbers such as Guidance, Free Life and Shine The Light. Medford was equally impressive with Evil Forces and Human Rights. Many of the songs were taken from the album Human Rights and the sampling, which they delivered suggested the artistes are headed in the right direction.

The band Revelation was a credit to the occasion.

wadegibbons@barbadostoday.bb

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