THERE’S little denying that the small and free jazz show that started out as a fringe activity of the St. Lucia Tourist Board over 15 years ago has from 2006 flourished to become a unique experience that matches the much acclaimed Friday night and Saturday shows of the St. Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival.
The event which goes under the name Soufriere Creole Jazz has prided itself on its ability to showcase artistes who have a quintessential Creole flavour in their music. As a result past line-ups have included Grammax, Quavers, Meshach, Fourth World, etcetera. However, Creole music is by no means all that is featured, as every year listeners are assured an eclectic mix of music St. Lucians really love.
According to Project and Operations Manager of the Soufriere Foundation, Dominic Alexander, “Soufriere Creole Jazz is more than a show; it is an exposé of what Soufriere has to offer, from its music to its rich culture and its people to its impressive physical attractions. During the one-day festival, the whole community comes alive with a hive of activity in which the show takes centre stage. Thus, we advertise not a show, but an experience.”
Last year, over 4,000 persons descended on the picturesque town to enjoy its natural attractions and the music of Kassav. And Kassav did not disappoint. The Paris-based group with its distinctive blend of Creole, African and European music to produce a pulsating and infectious style called zouk, thrilled the crowd.
This year, the Labour Day holiday event will feature international lovers rock and reggae artiste, Jah Cure. The latter is well known in the region for his musical hits Prison Walls, All By Myself, Call On Me, etcetera. His latest hit, a cover of John Legend’s ‘All Of Me’, is a dancehall favourite. In order to maintain that Creole flavour the festival will be showcasing bouyon music. The original members of WCK, who now go under the name, “Original Bouyon Pioneers”, have been tasked with the responsibility of taking the crowd down memory lane with their hit songs Balance Batty, Nomn La, Mete Veye, Rollin, and others.
However, Soufriere Creole Jazz is not complete without that rich St. Lucian influence. This year, former soca and groovy monarch Teddyson John will raise the tempo with his popular renditions, while, Soufriere’s very own, Future Lights, producers of hits such as SocaBouyon Jam and Juke and Go Down, will attempt to remind the audience that even after 15 years they are still a force to be reckoned with.
It goes without saying that there is no jazz without jazz and so this year, Barbara Cadet, has been given the huge responsibility of surpassing the expectations of jazz lovers.
The growth and the success of the event have largely been due to the benevolence of the sponsors. This year, the Soufriere Foundation is pleased to welcome the Digicel Group as a main sponsor. Digicel’s funding of Soufriere Creole Jazz is not new but represents a return after a hiatus and a focus on funding of the national event.
Other sponsors for this year’s event include perennial sponsors Bank of Saint Lucia, St. Lucia Distillers, and Windward & Leeward Brewery. Radio St. Lucia, Blazin/Rhythm FM, Media Zone, Caribbean Publishing, Sagicor, CGM Gallager Insurance, Paradise Springs and Ladera Resort have also come on board to make the event happen.