Kittitian Superstars to perform alongside African Grammy Award winner

Charles Miller Jr and Makeila Armstrong performing at the Alliance Française of St. Kitts and Nevis in Greenlands. Picture by Peter Ngunjiri

St. Kitts May 10, 2010 – They are both Kittitian Superstar material. He was first runner up in 2007 and she was the winner in 2008. They have known each other from the Kittitian Superstar stage, but the sitting down together of Charles Miller Jr and Makeila Armstrong on a cool breezy last New Year’s Eve has left the Federation speechless.

Charles who has been performing at Island Xpressions since September last year at the invitation of production guru Samal Duggins talked Makeila into a duo performance. She agreed but it took her to new levels when they sat and penned lyrics that ended up being the much talked about song, Speechless.

The song has tickled Rita Schneider’s musical palate and has forced her to reward them by ensuring that they will appear on the same card as African Grammy Award winner Dobet Gnahoré from Ivory Coast who will be in concert in St. Kitts on the evening of Thursday May 13 at the Blue Martini at the St. Kitts Marriott.

Rita Schneider is the director of Alliance Française of St. Kitts and Nevis, and her organisation along with other sponsors, has made it possible for the Ivorian singer, dancer and percussionist, Dobet Gnahoré, to perform in St. Kitts at a concert where funds raised will go towards earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.

Rita Schneider (left) and Samal Duggins (right) pose with Charles Miller Jr and Makeila Armstrong as the duo prepares for the big day on Thursday May 13. Picture by Peter Ngunjiri.

Charles and Makeila are excited. “We have never performed alongside a big name, we plan to be cool. It is not a competition of sort. We are going there to do us… we will perform to the best of our ability, and show people who we are and interact with the crowd and feel like we are friends. Blue Martini is something like Island Xpressions as it has a kind of a family atmosphere.”

The duo is expected to present two songs, and Speechless will be the feature song. Looking back at how it was first received, they say that after writing it and doing an acoustic version, they performed at Island Xpressions which left the audience speechless, and once the audience regained breath it shouted “encore”.

“They were discovered at Island Xpressions,” said their manager, Samal Duggins. “I knew both of them for years. Charles performed there a few months by himself but when they did Speechless together, I got goose bumps and I said that is too much talent to be wasted and while I did not have enough time to fully stand behind them the way I would like at that time, I decided to work with them for the public to hear them.”

Director of Alliance Française of St. Kitts and Nevis, Rita Schneider, told how Samal Duggins walked into her office in Greenlands, and informed her about Makeila and Charles, saying that he would wish to have the duo appear alongside the Ivorian singer.

Grammy Award Ivorian singer Dobet Gnahoré on stage in St. Lucia last week. Picture courtesy Rita Schneider

“I had already put the programme together when Samal Duggins told me about them,” said Schneider. “He showed me what had been posted on YouTube. He knew about the visit by the Ivorian singer more because her concert would be raising funds for Haiti. Duggins who is better known for his rap poem ‘Mother Earth’s Dying Cries’ has written a poem on Haiti which he would present at the concert.

“I am happy to have them because Alliance Française’s mission is to encourage an expression of cultures. Now with the Ivorian performer coming to St. Kitts, I felt it would be ideal to have Kittitians perform alongside her, because I want to give local talent a platform. You never know how far they will reach. This promises to be an evening that should not be missed.”

Apart from the Alliance Française of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Ivorian singer’s performance in St. Kitts is through the courtesy of sponsorship by the (French) General Delegation of St. Lucia, Frigate Bay Resort, WINN FM 98.9, ZIZ Broadcasting Corporation, Blue Martini, St. Kitts Music Festival, Buddies Restaurant, la Belle Vie Restaurant, Diamond Security, Air Caraïbes, and Harper’s Office Depot.

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