A Belizean band playing their country’s traditional music opened the Carifesta country night show on Wednesday, delighting the audience who turned up at the Queen’s Park Savannah with their unique sound.
Country Canada took the stage next, and showed off their Caribbean influences in music, song and dance.
With the theme Canadian Pride, Caribbean Pride, the show, narrated by Danielle Ellis, stuck to the theme beginning with the first act, Kalabash, a jazz sextet formed in Toronto in 1993. The band’s focus is on using pan as a lead voice in a jazz ensemble dedicated to experimenting with the layering of rich jazz harmonies over the folk and popular rhythms of the Caribbean.
Colleen Allen, who at times soloed on saxes, flute and clarinet, and Gareth Burgess on pan, delighted the crowd.
Joaquin Nunez Hidalgo (drums), Darryl Joseph-Dennie (keyboards),Andrew Stewart (electric bass) and TT-born bandleader Anthony Pierre ( percussion) also had their stellar solo moments
Kalabash also introduced Charmaine Forde to sing Nina Simone’s version of Love Me or Leave Me, which earned her lusty applause from the crowd.
Other performances by the Canadian team came from Roots & Branches Dance and Children Youth Dance Theatre.
Antigua and Barbuda followed with a highly entertaining performance. Their theme was Antigua Me Come From, Barbuda Me Come From.
Their well-known soca artiste Tizzy welcomed all to what her country had to offer on stage.
Then came their Hells Gate Steel Orchestra that pleasantly surprised all in the crowd with their highly entertaining playing of Tourist Leggo and Fire in the Backseat, songs from two prolific Antiguan calypsonians, Short Shirt and Swallow respectively.
That act also included some bele dancing, then folk singers. Another calypso/soca session feature the junior soca queen calypso queen Claudette Peters. The Antiguans’ finale comprised drumming with calypso dancing, and more calypso and soca music.
As the steelbands from the Pan and Powder made their way into the Carifesta village for the culmination of the event, dancers from Guadeloupe gave the Guyanese steelband time to get to their pans set up in front of the Grand Stand and the big stage. They played until BPTT Renegades were done setting up for a performance which brought a fitting end to both events.