The vocal talents of some of Barbados’ best female singers were put on full display, much to the delight of all in attendance, at Saturday’s Honey Jazz Barbados Gala; the Diamond Event of the Honey Jazz Barbados Festival, which ran from January 19th to 28th this year. This year’s performers were Gigi, Leigh Phillips, Angelique Archer, Vanessa Phillips, Kenyah Joseph, Ava-Marissa Lee, Jessica Rose, Valentine Meniaud, Rhea Layne and Canadian artist, Shakura S’aida.
I’ve said it before of Honey Jam/Jazz events and I’ll say it here again; these shows are an amazing showcase of just how much talent exists here in Barbados in the music arena and how very gifted our young people are. Every last one of the local women who graced the stage had beautiful, strong, melodic voices that they demonstrated a masterful control of and were charismatic in their impassioned performances.
Far and away the best of the night, however, was Kenyah Joseph, a Honey Jam alum who made her debut performance at last year’s Honey Jam concert where she was also among the breakout stars. This girl is amazing! She has such a big and powerful voice for one her age. When she introduced herself on stage she seemed timid, but once she started singing her confidence came through magnificently. Singing “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” from the musical Dreamgirls, she gave both Jennifer Holliday and Jennifer Hudson a run for their money. She received thunderous – and perhaps the loudest – applause from the audience and was the only person to get a standing ovation.
Other noteworthy performances came from Vanessa Phillips who sang “My Baby Just Cares for Me” and “Straighten Up and Fly Right” and got the second loudest and most enthusiastic round of applause from the audience, Ava-Marissa Lee’s performance of “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World” which featured a captivating guitar solo from Xavier Jhon-Clair, Jessica Rose who sang a brilliant original song that was the definition of perfection and Leigh Phillips’ dazzling performance with local dance group Riddim Tribe.
When a master steps on stage, you know. When special guest performer Shakura S’aida stepped on stage to perform “God Bless the Child” and “Let the Good Times Roll”, her presence was felt before she said a word. In the silent moments after she approached the microphone and before she spoke, her expertise and prowess was evident. S’Aida was an enthralling performer who was elegant and sophisticated. So much so, in fact, that I forgot to write notes. She showed everyone who preceded her How. It’s. DONE. She was effortless and had energy, charisma and passion.
Aside from the performances on stage, the band Focus from St. James Secondary School serenaded attendees during the red carpet reception and the intermission. Here too there were all female performers who showed talent and potential. They should, hopefully, one day join the Honey Jam artist development programme where they can receive the development and refining they deserve. They were joined by the latest winner of Richard Stoute Teen Talent, Trinity Clarke, who will also hopefully join Honey Jam in the future.
For photos from this event, visit our Facebook page here: Honey Jazz 2018 Gala.