Legendary Local and International Music Icons Ignite the Passions of the Crowd Over Three Nights of Stellar Performances
St. Kitts (June 30, 2010) – The stars on stage far outshined any stars in the sky for all three nights of the 14th Annual St Kitts Music Festival, held June 24-26, 2010. Despite occasional clouds and even some rain, the musicians proved they were world-class acts, putting on inspiring performances that brought fans together in shared moments of sing-alongs, celebration and pure arm-waving fun.
“The St. Kitts Music Festival has truly grown and matured over the years into a distinctive, rich combination of talent that crosses boundaries of age, musical styles and location,” said Senator Ricky Skerritt, Minister of Tourism & International Transport.
“Having rising local artists perform so brilliantly alongside international superstars was incredible, and the mix of music that this event showcases exemplifies the power of music to unite people while also reflecting the diverse culture and heritage of our region.”
On the first night, local calypso legend King Ellie Matt sang his unifying signature tune, “St. Kitts I Love You,” without musical accompaniment and got the whole crowd to sing along with him. Earlier the same night, classic reggae group Third World started off the line-up playing vintage favorites in recollection of their 37 years together. Local icon King Star Shield along with Caribbean soca couple Bunji Garlin and Fay Ann Lyons followed with a final “prophetic” performance from renowned Jamaican master, Capleton.
Still energized from the previous evening’s show, the crowd showed up eager for what night two might bring. Continuing the Festival’s tradition of incorporating widely varied genres of music, Fethi Tabet commanded attention by playing the seldom heard traditional Arabic luth in powerful compositions from North Africa, the Mediterranean and South America. Up next, Ky-Mani Marley evoked the memory of his father with fan favorite, “No Woman, No Cry.” Two rising local artists followed, with Jah Fire captivating the crowd with his smooth reggae sounds and hip-hop artist S.M.I. treating everyone to many of his recent hits. By the time rapper and veteran hit-maker Fabulous took the stage, the ever-growing crowd was ready to party and showed their appreciation for hit songs, “Everyday” and “Throw It In The Bag.” In a fitting conclusion to the night, Jamaican reggae artist Tarrus Riley brought down the house with a show-stopping performance that included works from his three albums plus tribute to the late Michael Jackson on the first anniversary of his passing. Despite light showers, Festival goers’ enthusiasm was not dampened and they stayed on until his last notes before literally leaving Warner Park stadium singing.
The third and final night of the St. Kitts Music Festival saw the energy level rise to super-charged. First, the unique sounds of Creole Folk music from Stevy Mahy enchanted the crowd. Local dancehall gospel artist Pepper Ranks shared his charisma and powerful lyrics, then local artist C-Money got the crowd moving even more with his song, “St. Kitts Sweet.” Reprising “St. Kitts I Love You” in her own reggae style, 18-year-old local star Rolensha followed with her new hit, “Just a Little Lovin’.” Then came the act that many were so eagerly awaiting – young local star Infamus, performing for the first time to such a large and international crowd. Cheered on ardently by fans, Infamus raised the bar for all performers when singing his hit “Feel Like Crying” and slipping easily into a reggae version of the tune, then catching another rhythm and breaking into a soca rendition of his song, “Crying.” Ten time Grammy award winner singer and songwriter Babyface offered up a combination of his hits he wrote and those he recorded including “Gone Too Soon,” “Every Time I Close My Eyes” and, from his Boyz II Men days, “End of the Road,” as showers dampened the ground but not spirits. But Jamaican dancehall icon Sizzla would not let the rain cool him down, living up to his name with a commanding performance that totally engaged fans, singing along to his drum beats to bring the Festival to a “sizzling” grand finale.
Throughout all three consecutive nights of performance, the friendly, block-party atmosphere at the St. Kitts Music Festival prevailed. With vendors spread around the venue’s perimeter and the addition of a new Carnival stage featuring folkloric performances by the Moko Jumbies, the carnival players and the Okolo Tegramantine drummers, among others, between the main stage acts, the action was never-ending. While many simply enjoyed the music, food and an authentic “lime” – the Kittitian term for ‘hanging out’ – there were also new post-Festival options added this year. On Sunday, there was the option of extending the Music Festival experience at the Spice Mill’s seaside concert “Spice Fest” or taking in an exciting afternoon’s card of horse racing at the new Beaumont Park racetrack.
Now in its 14th consecutive year, the festival attracts both residents and visitors alike and is known for featuring rising local talent alongside internationally-renowned acts. It features a mix of musical styles on the popular market, including R&B, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Reggae, Soca, Contemporary, Calypso and Gospel to name a few. Past artists have included such prominent acts as John Legend, T-Pain, Michael Bolton, KC & the Sunshine Band, Wyclef Jean, Ne-Yo, Air Supply, Billy Ocean, Sean Paul, Boyz II Men, King Konris, Stephen Marley, Regina Belle, Maxi Priest, Biggie Irie and Lord Nelson.