TT’s unique jazz festival North Coast Jazz is set for May 25, at the Sir Solomon Hochoy Park in the heart of Blanchisseuse on Trinidad’s north coast.
Organisers of the festival, now in its third year, said this year’s instalment will be dedicated to the late Shadow (Winston Bailey), as demonstrated by the festival's promotional slogan Outta De Shadow.
The cast, which includes Kashiff Kwartet, Gates Praise, Natasha Joseph, Mya Scott, 3Canal and Shadow's son Sharlan Bailey, will each deliver a jazz version of material taken from Shadow's wide repertoire.
North Coast Jazz is conceptualised and produced by a team headed by former mayor of Port of Spain Louis Lee Sing and includes radio presenter John Gill and real estate agent Margaret Gittens. The team is working on improving the experience, combining a hand-picked cast, local craft and cuisine set in a picturesque environment.
North Coast Jazz Festival carries the tagline “Born Here, Played Here.”
In a media release Lee Sing said: “Some of the feel-good experience of North Coast Jazz has much to do with the natural beauty of the village of Blanchisseuse. There is magic in many places along the North Coast, but none as magical as Blanchisseuse, with its beaches, flora and fauna.
"Above all of Blanchisseuse’s magic, is its people who seem to possess all the charm that TT once had. Today the sum of all this charm, resides in that tiny but unique village named for the washerwoman – Blanchisseuse.”
To date the festival's casts have been distinctly local. The production team underscores that given the huge cadre of local musicians of all genres, it feels it has a responsibility not only to expose such talent, but to create a stage for that talent to play.
Its chairman often speaks of creating a bed and breakfast industry for the villagers of Blanchisseuse and has been aggressive in encouraging residents to add to visitor room stock. On this initiative Lee Sing says: “Each year we are seeing small increases in the number of rooms available and we are working with the community council to both encourage more rooms and to ensure the standard of rooms offered represent good quality.”
North Coast Jazz also offers a movie night and turtle-watching programme on the evening before Jazz on May 24.