So … Now to a night of … mostly … Bajan Female talent in the Spotlight … Honey Jam Barbados 2012 … written by Big Virge 19/11/2012

Okay folks, my last post is the perfect segue way to posting about my evening on Saturday !!!

Late hook-up, but, well worth it, so, quick thanks to DJ Simmons & Keisha “Empress Zingha” Griffith, for gettin’, “The V”, up in the plantation for a night of feminine vocals that roared, soothed, bellowed & sang to the rafters !!!!!

However, the ol’ fella that i’ve become, I really can’t remember everyone, so, you’ll have to excuse me if only a few names get full mentions ….

Anyway, Honey Jam Barbados huh ……. !!!!!

Well Well …. A feminine-driven, effort, to raise the profile of female singers, rappers, etcetara etcetera, here in Barbados …..

Hmmmmm ….. well, it’s great to see, that, when the ladies want to shine … they organize & mek sure that they do what they claim on the label !!!!!

Ms. Ebonnie Rowe has clearly spent a lot of time getting this show up to the standards that it now can boast, and, a very good job she’s done … !!! … if Saturday is anything to go by.

Hosted by the rather, Hot Lookin’, Caroline “Cici” Reid, from Slam 101.1 FM, there was a pleasant beginning for a Bajan event, it’s prompt start !!!!!!!

A factor that Ms. Reid was quick to accentuate, in her opening address !

So, some 15 plus years since it’s beginnings in Canada, Honey Jam Barbados is into it’s second year of promotion & events in Bim, thus, for me, a new boy in town, it was an opportunity to see some of the best musical talent that the ladies are bringing to the fore in the island.

Well, as an Englander of sorts, my visions of the worlds’ talent have been broad & varied, so, i’m not easily impressed now !!!

Thus …. I was more than pleasantly surprised to hear & see Niki Nicole, light up the event as the first performer, (A mistake if I may say Ebonnie), as she set an incredibly high standard with her number, a soulful, but funky groove, that, she bellowed mellifluously, through the extensive range of her voice !!!

A great performance & I liked the track, which I believe was original !!!!!

However, as said, she could of been, merely for the betterment of the show, placed, a little later in the line up, as some of the performers after her, clearly felt the pressure, especially the youngsters …..

Right … !!! … Now, here’s where, fa now, it gets difficult fa me, because other than Mia Cumberbatch & Gigi Ma’at, who were both highlights of the evening for me, names escape me now.

I have to give a mention to our Canadian visiting artist, Mellisa Bel, who, having won the right to come here to perform, having beaten off considerable competition in Canada ….

Well, I have to say, dat’s a white girl who can sing people … !!!!!!

Guitar in hand, she came to the stage and exuded confidence & assurance in her tone, delivery & expansive range … an original song & crowd pleaser, were done back to back, and she clearly has a love & passion for performing, which she worked well, in engaging with the audience ….

Good Job indeed Ms. B !!!

However, as with a lot of the white fraternity of singers, rappers etcetera, the clearly, “Well-trained”, vocal style, impressive as it is, lacks a certain something, a certain, “Authenticity”, in how naturally it comes out.

This could not be said for, Rochelle Griffith, who, I hope she’ll forgive me for saying, had this whole, “Black Pink”, vibe, going on for me, a really stylized performance & delivery, over music that I could see Pink using, and, don’t get it confused, I like me some Pink people … !!!

Not so much of the “Pop-ified”, stuff, but, when you go back to her break out stuff, like the club smash from back in her early days, “There You Go”, that’s no light comparison i’m making people !!!!!

The other special mention goes to Rhesa Garnes & Ropey Ranks, Beatboxing with singing, rapping, the whole shabang … !!!

…. changes to rhydem, vocals & tempo, very impressive, seemingly improvised at times, but, not in a way that seemed rehearsed if you catch my drift, emcees know where me der …..

Now, not that anything is that original these days, theirs’ was definitely, a very stand out performance, in amongst the 20 & then some performances availed for the slowly but surely, warmed up crowd.

All of that said, here comes the critique now people …..

I think that quite a lot of Bajans get carried away with some local artists, on the basis of their being, “Bajan”, and having some semblance of talent ….

So, in going back to the young emcee in my previous post, just look at the delivery, attitude & confidence in talented 16 year olds, outside of Bim people !!!!!

In recent weeks, i’ve seen a multitude of young, Bajan Talents, both male & female, from Nifca to the two 13 year olds, who graced The Plantation Stage, on Saturday, both, clearly nervous, but, with an abundance of potential that needs to be nurtured & developed carefully !!!!!

Barbadians, much like the English, need to be less self-absorbed with, “Their Own”, being The Greatest on the planet, as I sit here listening to D’Angelo, there is a reminder of the level of quality, skill, & devotion that these, Truly, GREAT ARTISTS, exhibit in their craft.

There were pockets of it at HoneyJam, alright, maybe, BIG Pockets, but, pockets, nonetheless, Bajans have to be realistic & look outside their vision of what’s hot, because the planet is big, with growing, “Big Egos”, some warranted, but, very few, worthy of the plaudits that are given because …. Ooooohhh, Universal Music dig them, or, BMG have signed them !!!

Listen to what the serious artists write about in their deeper compositions, the levels of industry bullpish, that, restrict & control talent, thus, when we as audiences observe, blind allegiance to artists, because we know them or they’re from where you’re from, does not define them as the best thing since sliced bread people !!!!!

Their skills & abilities, when assessed, against those within their peer group, is where your judgements need to be made from …..

….. as the young talents get younger & younger, people seem to jump on them as being hot just because they’re young & have a lil’ more than the average, well, don’t get it confused people, there are a lot of … average …

…. and …. VERY FEW …. Exceptional …. !!!!!!

The words …. “called & chosen”, spring to mind …..

Anyway, an extremely good night, overall …. No complaints, apart from maybe this one, if people are coming onto a stage where there are instruments behind them, well, backing track performances need to be eradicated, be it a house band or otherwise, one of the best tests of singers live skills is performing tightly with, live instrumentation, as one of the later Rock Bands found out, when, one of the guitarists, somehow, seemed to unplug himself, and, could not get back on track, until the song had almost ended … !!!!!

The rest of the group handled it well, the singer kept going, even though it had all fallen apart for the guitarist !!!

These are the marks of professionalism & talent to me, in many ways.

Oh and I have to add that … “Certain”, female, spoken word artists need to get their shine … !!!

I understand that there were some issues with it working this time around, but, get it clear Ms. Rowe, get some of these girls up there, because we all know that the Sista’s love to hear some Powerful Sistahood, type speech, from a powerful, unabashed woman.

The rise of the Bajan Woman, in the field of spoken word should not, and, can no longer, be ignored … !!!!!

However, as stated, a Really Good evening was had … !!!

…. as well as the numerous HOT looking sistas … As DJ Simmons, who got an honourable mention, like Mahalia, said to me,

“Virge, this is a great place to meet women !!!”.

On that basis, roll on Honey Jam 2013, as I now have to concur … The sights & sounds were well worth coming out for … !!!!!

I wish Ms. Rowe all the best, because it’s a good thing she’s doing for the ladies !!!

Long may it continue here, as the arts need to be properly supported, marketed & promoted, which, if we’re waiting for government & the wealthy folk of Barbados to connect with, well, chit may never happen ….

Congrats to all involved !!!!!

Peace & Love y’all ….

The Virge !!!!!

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