The launch of the first Honey Jazz Barbados Festival – an expansion of the Honey Jazz concert – promised an exciting four days of music and merriment, as those behind it highlight the immense amount of musical talent that Barbados has to offer. The second music festival and the third arts related festival for the month, it is safe to say that the oft neglected arts and culture spheres in Barbados are getting some much needed attention this year.
Producer Ebonnie Rowe gave an overview of what is to come during the festival; a Nina Simone musical tribute followed by a fund raising screening of the Academy Award nominated film What Happened Miss Simon? at Limegrove, ‘A Tisket, A Tasket’, a free Ella Fitzgerald tribute at the Lighthouse Garden of the Hilton Barbados Resort, the Honey Jazz Gala Concert at the Frank Collymore Hall and the After Polo Jazz Party at Holders Hill.
Rowe encouraged those in attendance to participate in the “Sponsor A Student” drive, the aim of which is to afford young music students the opportunity to attend the Honey Jazz Gala concert. She went on to explain that the Honey Jazz concert is meant to be a vehicle through which the island’s youth can be exposed to and gain an appreciation for jazz.
Performers at the various events include Kellie Cadogan, Betty Payne, Nikita Browne, Debbie Reifer and Rhesa Garnes, Stefan Walcott, Romario Greaves, Neil Newton and Andre Forde, the KC Quartet and Marius Charlemagne and NJ30+ Band.
Robert Chase from Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. stressed how events like Honey Jazz can develop Barbadian artists, who can then use their talents to raise the name of Barbados on the world stage and cited DJ Puffy as a recent example as one such person who has done so.
Interim CEO of title sponsor First Citizens Bank Barbados Ltd, Carole Eluthere-JnMarie, appropriately quoted the famous Shakespearean line “If music be the food of love, play on, Give me excess of it…” And play one they did.
A live band performed throughout the launch and it ended with an impromptu performance – complete with musical instruments – and a “battle of the sexes” scat off. As Rowe herself said, it was not your typical launch.
The Honey Jazz Barbados Festival will be held on January 23rd, 26th, 28th and 29th. For more information, visit their Facebook page.