James De Lovell’s Bridgetown Concert – Launch of “Interpretation of Traditions”

It was hailed as one of the most anticipated shows by a single Bajan musician in recent times, and so it seemed, judging by the turnout. About two hundred people packed the Tiami Dockside Bar last Friday to see musician James De Lovell perform music from his latest CD; Interpretation of Traditions.

Guests would comment later on the fact the organizers were able to deliver on their promised 8:00 pm start…even though the MC was “running a little late” and had to be replaced at the opening by a noticeably frazzled Dj Hurricane. Reggae artist Albert Olton opened the show with his hit song Rock with You and he was able to interact with an appreciative audience while waiting for the show’s MC Fran Wickham to appear on stage.

The first half featured some really interesting collaborations. For example, Winston Farrell performed his classic Bus Man with Dj Hurricane and Adonijah on hand drums. Then there was Alan Sheppard jazzing up the Spice hits while giving a brief lesson on six-eight timing, and Tony “Rebel” Bailey on guitar as Adonijah delivered his new rock single Gloria Jean complete with the requisite high-pitched scream.

The first half featured some really interesting collaborations. For example, Winston Farrell performed his classic Bus Man with Dj Hurricane and Adonijah on hand drums. Then there was Alan Sheppard jazzing up the Spice hits while giving a brief lesson on six-eight timing, and Tony “Rebel” Bailey on guitar as Adonijah delivered his new rock single Gloria Jean complete with the requisite high-pitched scream.

All solid performances and delivering positive and inspiring messages, but of the opening acts, it was Adonijah also doubling on djembe, and Indrani who stole the show. Indrani mesmerized the audience with her version of Redemption Song, and two originals, Star, and Bang. They probably caught themselves some new fans in the screaming audience.

(L to R - James De Lovell, Juanita Clarke, Dj Hurricane) After a brief break, the second half was all about the man of the night James De Lovell and his young band The Performance. A dynamic presence for such a small man, De Lovell spoke in clear tones boldly announcing every so often that “…we is Bajans! We could do anyt’ing we want!...” and telling patrons to “…keep it straight!”.

(L to RJames De Lovell, Juanita Clarke, Dj Hurricane) After a brief break, the second half was all about the man of the night James De Lovell and his young band The Performance. A dynamic presence for such a small man, De Lovell spoke in clear tones boldly announcing every so often that “…we is Bajans! We could do anyt’ing we want!…” and telling patrons to “…keep it straight!”.

Adrian Green came in powerfully for Get up Stand Up, with Lovell chanting on the mic, presenting some tough concepts, and truths in his verses. Another highlight of the event was Winston Farrell & Dj Hurricane teaming up on Stand Up.

The show was interesting on several levels. Firstly, De Lovell is a top performer. He engaged patrons, taking them on a thrilling journey from his now notorious Hybrid Kit, to the standard trapset and the hand drums, showing why he is regarded as a master of rhythm. His Under Pressure was a mind-boggling combination of independent limb co-ordination and tight rhythmic fusions, while Del Congo featuring a wicked solo by Tuk Grand Master Wayne Poonka Willock had the audience shouting for more. Secondly, “Who is that girl?” was the question, after De Lovell’s Performance Band drummer, 21-year-old Juanita “Juanz” Clarke’s powerful performance.

Third point of interest and perhaps the main, was the music. Sweet fuh days and undeniably Bajan, De Lovell’s album Interpretation of Traditions really came to life onstage with an energy and a stubborn Bajan groove which could be appreciated anywhere in the world.

"Indrani ... stole the show, (she) mesmerized the audience with her version of Redemption Song, and two originals, Star, and  Bang."

“Indrani … stole the show, (she) mesmerized the audience with her version of Redemption Song, and two originals, Star, and Bang.”

The show was neither for the faint of heart nor those easily offended and some jaws did drop, but it was clear from the screams, whistles and eventual sounds of agreement from the house that De Lovell is on to something here. Speaking on the album, he said that he plans to use his music and show to “…revive and re-establish the identity of the positive plain-speaking Bajan who is proud, fearless, and honest.” The launch ended with the promise that those who missed it would soon have another chance to see Interpretation of Traditions Live!

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