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Fantastic experience at Tobago Jazz

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Tobago Jazz Experience (TJE) Jazz in the East at the Speyside Recreation Ground got off to a good start on Saturday. A crowd of thousands gathered in perfect weather for the event that saw a cadre of regional and local artiste putting their best work to a very appreciative audience welcome remarks came from George Leacock, head of the Tobago Festivals Committee.

Opening remarks by councillor Nadine Stewart- Phillips, the Secretary of Tourism, Culture and Transportation, followed. She said the TJE is a chance for visitors and residents alike to immerse in the authenticity of Tobago’s musical, cultural,culinary and natural offerings.

“Ten years ago the THA embarked on a historic journey to establish a flagship festival for the island and, from Plymouth to Pigeon Point, Signal Hill to Speyside, the Tobago Jazz Experience has see many transformations over the years. But one thing that remains constant, that destination Tobago has proven to be the perfect location to serve up music, vibes and entertainment with a side of beautiful beaches and lush landscaped, topped off with our signature Tobagonian warmth and hospitality.”

The show featured a wealth of soca, pan and reggae music.

Jazz in the East opened with an energetic performance from the Petrotrin Katzenjammers Steel Orchestra, Tobago’s oldest playing steel orchestra from Black Rock.

The packed savannah later danced and swayed in an incident-free night to the music of Stephanie Joseph, Kabasi, the husband and wife reggae duo of

John and Jackie Greenidge who perform as Nex Chapta, the controversial Gardah Knight, pannist Shaquille Broome and Leandro Noray.

Also gracing the stage were Freetown Collective, featuring the vocal talents of Muhammad Muwakil and Lou Lyons, 5 Star Akil, and reggae artiste Tanya Stephen.

The crowd went into a frenzy when Tarrus Riley, the night’s headline act, came on the stage. Riley jumped on the speaker boxes and warmly greeted his fans. Riley, a Jamaican-American reggae singer, dished out a wave of hits during his powerful performance. He was the winner of the MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Awards on 2009 and 2014.

The flow of traffic, and the crowd that consisted of a large number of well dressed ladies, was commendably handled by the police, who ensured there was a smooth flow of vehicles out of the area after the event closed.

Sunday Jazz Experience

American R&B singer Fantasia Taylor stole the show on Sunday night as the TJE continued at the Pigeon Point Heritage Park, Tobago. Known professionally as Fantasia, she was the first foreign artiste to hit the stage, appearing around 9.25 pm following a 90-minute delay to address technical problems.

Fantasia came on stage to much applause and encouraged patrons to get closer to the stage by entering a cordoned off area that was reserved for electronic media personnel. During her performance she knelt giving thanks to God.

Fantasia said she wanted to connect with the people and ventured into the audience where she was greeted by hoards of fans armed with camera phones, as well as climbed on top of a ladder and scaffold used by photographers to continue her act. The crowd went into further ecstasy and many reached out and touched her hands as she sang.

Fantasia also called out to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, seated in the VIP section, to get up and dance. He obliged and danced for a very short time before taking a seat next to his wife Sharon Rowley.

Shortly after closing her performance, Fantasia left for the airport in a white BMW SUV.

Dressed in white, Ne-Yo, another American artiste, hit the stage and dished out hit after hit for a full hour, he was followed by artiste George Hamilton.

The show began after 4.30 pm at the Pigeon Point Heritage Park with a cast of local artistes that commenced with Llettesha Sylvester. Saxophonist Francis Prime dished out some old goodies on saxophone and he was followed by KalPee.

The national instrument then held centre stage with an energetic and dynamic performance by 2018 National Panorama champion bpTT Renegades. The Tobago All Star Band took the stage, featuring the talents of world class pannist Duvone Stewart, arranger of Renegades. He was later presented with a portrait of himself by Chief Secretary assemblyman Kevin Charles.


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