FRENCH Caribbean group Kassav was happy to finally be a part of Carifesta for the first time although the group has been in existence for many years. This was what Jocelyne Béroard, Martiniquan singer in Kassav told Newsday after their performance at the Island Beats Super Concert on Saturday at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain.
Island Beats was one of the last events in the Carifesta celebration of Caribbean arts and culture.
Guadeloupe and Martinique are both overseas regions of France. Béroard said Kassav would have loved to be a part of Carifesta sooner, but France would not allow them to participate.
“France did not want us to go under the colours of Martinique and Guadeloupe because they wanted us to represent France.
“But when we are in France, we don’t really represent France. For me, I’m here, I got a French passport, but I am Caribbean and I’m from Martinique.”
Kassav was one of the three main acts at Island Beats. They represented the zouk music of the French Caribbean. TT’s superstar Machel Montano represented soca, and Jamaica’s Shaggy represented dancehall and reggae.
The show, scheduled to begin at 7 pm, started an hour late. With 11 acts appearing, the show also ran past the scheduled 3am end time.
Calypso Rose started off the event with her song Young Boy. She told the audience how much she loved singing in TT even though she recently performed in England, Germany, Morocco and Austria. During her performance of Fire Fire, she threw three bottles of pepper sauce into the audience. One fell in between the stage and the fence in the general section, and a woman hopped the fence to get it.
Ricardo Drue, who was born in Antigua and grew up in TT, took the stage after. He was followed by Nailah Blackman who announced she had recently released a new EP titled The Reel and pleaded for support.
“It’s on all platforms. I want you to download it, stream it, support the artform of the Caribbean.”
Three-time Soca Monarch winner Voice, Barbadian soca sensation Allison Hinds and Blaxx and the All Stars finished the first set. After that, chutney music was lapped up when Neval Chatelal, Nishard M and Rikki Jai took to the stage.
Montano and Shaggy performed after Kassav, but after Montano’s set people began to filter out of the audience which left Shaggy singing to a half-empty venue.