PHENOMENAL women representing cultures from around the globe proved beyond a shadow of a doubt on Saturday that “woman is boss.”
An all-female cast of musicians, singers and dramatists lit up the stage at Naparima Bowl, San Fernando, on Saturday evening when the By Women Only for Everyone concert was unveiled.
The Trini women, including Heather McIntosh and Nihilet Blackman, stood tall alongside their neighbouring counterparts who are participating in Carifesta X1V.
Haitian singer/songwriter Ayiti Coles fed off the energy of the small audience as she invoked the voodoo culture of her people.
In her flaming red frilly pants outfit, contrasting against the fair colour of her skin and the glistening ebony tone of her musicians, Ayiti (which means Haiti), moved across the stage to the infectious rhythm of her native land, delivering original compositions including Voodoo You Do.
Described by the late Raymond Choo Kong as the best actress in TT and the Caribbean, the award-winning Cecilia Salazar demonstrated why she is worthy of the title, especially coming after Ayiti’s electrifying performance.
In an excerpt from the one-woman play by Tony Hall, Miss Miles – The Woman of the World, Salazar brought to life the famous television personality, socialite and anti-corruption advocate Gene Miles and the infamous gas station racket.
She had the audience in stitches as she spoke of “general erections” and engaged them about whether she should testify before the commission of enquiry.
Despite her small frame, in a black jacket with a polka dot belt around her waist, over a black dress and feathered hat, she left no one in doubt as to her “importance.”
She was carried away from the stage by a masked man, but not before performing a Black Stalin composition on the topic, paying tribute at the same time to the iconic calypsonian.
Crossover chutney artiste Sally Sagram also demonstrated the versatility of the Trini entertainer as she delivered a fusion of American and East Indian cultures with her delivery of Kees Dieffenthaller’s Hello in English and Hindi. She raised energy levels and had the audience of mainly women clapping and moving their hands in East Indian dance styles with her second offering of a spicy chutney rhythm.
“I love my TT culture! Make some noise for the ladies who graced this stage. Woman is boss,” Sagram said at the end of her performance.
Since her viral video of her piano version of Kees Dieffenthaller’s Savannah Grass, people have started taking greater notice of Johanna Chuckaree-Lohmeyer, and of course, she could not grace the Carifesta stage without performing this and other gems.
The freelance pianist, music arranger, piano teacher/coach, also accompanied the dynamic duet of Wendy Sheppard Muinos and Rosezanna Hernandez-Winchester for several selections, including I Rise.
The announcer was not wrong when she described soul soprano singer Lleettesha Sylvester as having a voice to make one sit up and listen. Sylvester, a musical educator and coach who last performed in the successful gospel musical Mahalia, raised pores with her effortless version of Lovely Day and Living the Life Golden.
Keba Williams, a Trinidadian making her mark in Miami, also made the journey back home to captivate the Naparima Bowl audience as she has been doing in Portugal, France, England and Spain with her amazing vocals.
Those who missed this show, which also featured Xavier Strings, Candice Caton, Ophelia, Amy Dwarika and the SJC Voix Chorale, among other amazing female acts, missed a treat.