Homeboy, Michael Robinson got a warm reception from the appreciative audience which ranged from teen fans wearing MR (Michael Robinson) t-shirts and caps, to seasoned jazz moms and dads, first-timers, and a slew of local artistes who turned out to support the local boy.
Robinson delivered an energetic set of his original songs and covers, including Michael Jackson’s Human Nature, Al Green’s Let’s Stay together and Usher’s Nice n Slow.
He performed quite a few songs from his recently released Shades CD, among them Living Life, Couple Up, Caribbean Way, Afi Come Back, and Frenzy. Barbara Cadet made a cameo appearance on set, which climaxed with Hooray, featuring Sir Lancelot. With a growing fan base and a hunger for success, Michael Robinson has his sights set on a full-time career as a recording and performing artiste.
Steel Pan maestro Andy Narell, who has made St. Lucia his home for the last few years, warmed up the crowd for master lyricist, storyteller, and singer David Rudder.
By the time David Rudder hit the stage the crowd had swelled, the drinks were flowing, and patrons were in the mood to party. Well, party they did! A roll call revealed a fair numbers of Trinis in the audience. A few Bajans and Jamaicans also turned out for Caribbean Night.
Rudder took that Friday night crowd on a musical journey from the 1950s when pan ruled the mas in Trinidad, to Brazil (Bahia Girl), and 1990 – a powerful commentary on world events which is as relevant today as it was then. It was vintage Rudder in ripping form, belting out Calypso, Trini to de Bone, and Hammer.
The audience became a mass choir in High Mas, with every hand waving to the heavens. Rudder obliged for an encore with an improvised medley of Bahia Girl, Haiti, and Rally Round the West Indies. He predicted better fortunes for the new West Indies Cricket Test Team.
In a post-performance interview, Rudder credited his longevity in the music industry to his love of history, country and family. He said: “I’m a student of history. I’ve always loved history, and history tends to tell you where things are going. So you could reference the past to get some idea of what’s going to happen in the present, and the future.”
Prior to St. Lucia Jazz, Rudder performed in his native Trinidad. He is booked for New Jersey in June, and a few other bookings for the latter half of the year. Rudder, who lives in Canada, says retirement is nowhere near his agenda right now, revealing casually that he has to put his last three children through university.
Reflecting on his performance, Rudder said: “It was great as usual. Every time I come here, I get a nice vibe. Coming to St. Lucia is like coming home. I was one of the artistes to be part of the St. Lucia Jazz experience in the early years, and it’s good to see the tradition is continuing.”
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