Allison “Empress Aje” Bernard’s Mother’s Day show, Iba II: The Transformation, promises a range of music for people of all ages. The event will take place on May 7, the day before Mother’s Day, at the Naparima Bowl Amphitheatre, beginning at 6 pm.
Bernard said she chose to hold the show the day before Mother’s Day as she knows traditionally people stay home and celebrate their mothers on the day itself. She said the show pays homage to mothers and by extension the divine feminine energy they possess. “Iba is a Yoruba word meaning to give praise, to give thanks, to hold in high esteem. Mothers are divine, they carry that divine feminine energy. The role of a mother is to nurture. Mothers carry society, and it places a lot of strain on them, that’s how we were brought up. Mothers literally carry generations, because they reproduce, they are the womb for civilisation, so mothers have a huge role in terms of carrying the home/society. From Biblical times, any holy book you read, you see that they are reverenced.”
Bernard said the theme of transformation came about because of the changes everyone would had to make due to the pandemic.
“Between 2020 to now, we would have all transformed, whether financially, emotionally, in some way, because of the effects of covid19. So the show is speaking about howwe transformed, and how mothers have had to transform to carry society. It is a show that is bringing an energy of change and transformation, so Iba II, while we are celebrating the feminine energy, it also speaks to that essence of change, of transformation, for our own survival and upliftment.”
Bernard said the show would feature uplifting music for people of all ages from a range of artistes, including herself, Terri Lyons, Freetown Collective, Banjela, founder and arranger of Jeunes Agape choir Lois Lewis, Wasafoli West African Dance Group, tabla player Shiva Manick, and past Best Village winners Soul Oasis Cultural Ambassadors, with guest artiste Mavis John. She said the live band, led by musical director and bass guitarist Rodney Alexander, included Emile Fortune on keyboards, Kwami Morrison on guitar, percussionist Tamba Gwindi, Sean Singh on djembe, and Kevin O’Keiffe on drums.
“The songs, the music will be uplifting, real soul food, music to dance, music for everybody, to sing along to, it’s not that older people or younger people wouldn’t hear music they like. It will be a fantastic show, with a welcome party when you come in featuring drumming, and Carnival characters. Our host is comedienne Louris Lee-Sing.”
Bernard said the tickets have been priced at $200, which she thought was an exceptional price considering the lineup.
“So far tickets have been going fast and the response has been really great. We have a mixture of people buying tickets, as the artistes all have their own crowd that follows them, and that’s good because I don’t want to attract just one set of people, so it’s happening the way I wanted.
“I want to be able to reach everybody, financially, cutting through financial, religious, and spiritual boundaries. I don’t want to be known for attracting one set of people, no I want to reach you because of the type of artiste I am and the type of music I sing, so my shows must be affordable to everybody.” She said the show will be held in the amphitheatre of the Naparima Bowl in order to make people feel easier about coming out to a concert during the pandemic.
“I chose the amphitheatre because people expressed a desire for open-air shows because the truth is covid19 hasn’t gone anywhere, and people prefer open-air shows where they have the fresh breeze, they feel more safe than to be in an enclosed, air-conditioned environment. We have secured parking at Naparima College, so patrons can park there.”
Bernard said the show is scheduled to last for two-and-a-half hours, beginning at 6 pm.