Barbados’s answer to Miranda Lambert chosen for COSCAP Gala 2011 at Hilton Barbados: Malissa Alanna stuns Harbour Lights at Benefit Concert

You will recall I recently interviewed a new singing sensation of Barbados whose niche is Country, Malissa Alanna was set to blaze down a set of tunes at Harbour Lights and that she did, with close to 400 patrons there to assist in raising funds for DerekDriller Gill who is in need of surgery to augment heart treatment.

Keyboards, Musical Director and Website Designer... No, he is not from Krypton - this is Brad Griffith!

Auctions were held for sweet prizes like a weekend for two at local resorts among other goodies with the funds set aside to make so Driller can breathe a lot easier, literally. In addition to Malissa Alanna there were a number of other groups like the Red Men and Wednesday (this band had Norman “Sandpebbles” Barrow and Paul Gill as part of the ensemble) – these groups were consistent, consistent in a similar muddy sound and nothing particularly memorable about their delivery.

If Bajans sing many old ballads and serenades from the 50's Rockabilly era, is this any true surprise when there seems to be a hunger for music which is NOT asking you to jump up & down or wave some tattered piece of cloth? Martin punctuates the stories Malissa Alanna is belting to the crowd in full glory!

I am fully aware there are some hardcore Red Men fans who will be annoyed at what I say, but let’s face it when last did the Red Men drop at least two original tunes? Has Wednesday been chosen by COSCAP to play at their Gala on 23rd April? Neither can address these concerns whereas Malissa Alanna can respond to the same contentions easily and blow away in reply too…

Before I get there, I need to make a needed diversion here – I decided to deliberately make an effort to watch the Academy of Country Music Awards for 2011 on Sunday at CBS, I watched Melinda Lambert earn “Best New Artist” and Taylor Swift seize “Entertainer of the Year” without any Kanye West present – but what kept running through my head was why can’t Barbados? If this country can earn a Grammy via Rihanna, who’s to say Barbados can not do well in Country?

If such a theory has validity then the chance rests with Malissa Alanna, COSCAP does not grab any old person to award or allow to perform at their Galas, last year the Merry Men were recognised for their decades of service and a reunion jam like never seen before celebrated the occasion – Mike Sealy on guitar, Boo Rudder at drums, with Blak Kla Soyl on African Drums among others, playing a serious session.

This year on the next to last Saturday of April, COSCAP will honour Shontelle for her rise in overseas fame and Malissa Alanna is part of the line-up selected to perform for that night. She is truly deserving of such an honour, when you bear in mind her performance at Harbour Lights recently…

Malissa Alanna swooning the crowd with her renditions of covering hits from Country or regaling them with her own tunes; in the background - Andrew Bourne

The audio was good for her segment, the only hitch was Andrew Bourne unable to decide what guitar he was playing, the rest of the band was a tight unit; maybe just have the multi-talented Brad Griffith key in a Rhythm section? LOL! Martin Bourne was very clever in the lull, he started laying down all his styles he learned over the years while ex-Square One’s Sherwin lay down a sweet backbeat!

Malissa Alanna is new so when there was a lull while Andrew changed guitars, she could have engaged the audience with a li’l patter but this is a matter of experience and she will improve as she gets more accustomed to concerts. She did what Spice & Co. never got to happen with their audiences while at Harbour Lights – she had people swaying, humming and tapping their feet like they were hit with a Nashville version of St Titus’s Dance!

This Spice in their halcyon era, but even at their prime they did not move the audience at Harbour Lights the way Malissa Alanna did and this is not "Past Vs Present" but more phenomenal in a case of "Country Vs Calypso" {File Image with Permission from Bump & Wine Cafe}

While Spice & Co. is a super Bajan group, and has had massive hits like “In De Congaline” or “Bob’s Song” and “Irie Feeling” among many others, for some weird reason – whenever they played at Harbour Lights the patrons stood like stones and never said a word until the end of the set… However, Malissa Alanna broke that mold and pelted it to one side on the night of March 26th!

Malissa Alanna's voice is not yet in full bloom, can you imagine what will happen when she attains full power like Sugarland?

She had sweet covers of “Settlin’” and “Before He Cheats” (Carrie Underwood was indeed off the hook at the CMA 2011 on CBS, especially her duet with Aerosmith’s Steve Tyler) but Malissa Alanna totally astounded the crowd of all walks and strata of Barbados when she delivered not one original “I Remember” but two along with “Popular” and as soon as her set was over, the place cleared faster than a sale for iPad 1’s! It’s as if the clubbers came to hear her and were happy once they got her mini-concert!

It is understood her set for the 23rd at Hilton Barbados will not only be popular, but one everybody will whisper ‘I Remember…‘ for years to come, will you be there?

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One Response

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  1. You do not have the full story, I am not sure what to comment! They are a strange family, I know this is your blog. I see Malissa got many rave reviews on this site. There’s no doubt that she can sing, but is this her career path? You are only seeing one side of the matter. Please realise that family can have their own reasons for her success, probe a little more.


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