Sunday, August 14, 2011

SINGERS IN ACTION

The electricity in the atmosphere was palpable and the closer you got to the venue at The Manhattan Center, more popularly known as Hammerstein Ballroom on 34th Street in the heart of Manhattan, the more it crackled. Whether it was the line that stretched almost three long city blocks to 11th Avenue or the air of anticipation; one immediately sensed that something special was about to happen.

I’m talking about the Singers in Action (Love within the Music) concert produced and promoted by Jammins CEO George Crooks. Part of the proceeds from this successful event will be donated to sponsors AFUWI. Other sponsors for the night: Western Union, Heineken, Grace Remittance Services, Lime, The Door Restaurant, NY Liberty Star and Tavon Entertainment can certainly congratulate themselves on a well put together event. In a daring move away from the stage-shows of old – Jammins hit on a winning formula of showcasing three well known artists, which really appeased the massive crowd.

The patrons outside the venue were all abuzz and trying to enter the venue early for the show slated to start at 8 pm. Getting inside the venue was fairly easy for those with media and press passes and a quick glance around the cavernous venue confirmed that the event would be sold out. The hall was already two-thirds full and as the night wore on, I would estimate there were upwards of 4,000 patrons jammed into every conceivable space. I even witnessed two partygoers (or they may have been staffers) 4 stories up standing in a balcony where I think even pigeons would fear to fly!

First on stage, Wayne Wonder, wearing his trademark shades, black suit and crisp white shirt, came out swinging and had the ladies singing along word for word with his anthemic ‘Love and Affection’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E15PE3EvGHA, ‘I still believe’, ‘My Everything’, ‘When I’m with You’ and ‘Saddest Day of my Life’. The men got in on the action with his ‘Bashment Party’, ‘All This Time’, ‘Movie Star’ and ‘Searching’. In paying tribute to the incarcerated Buju Banton with whom he has collaborated, Wayne performed ‘Bonafide Love’ and ‘Untold Stories’, at the end of which he made his impassioned plea to “Free Buju Banton”. He ended his set with ‘When I’m with you’. The crowd was definitely warmed up and responded well to Wayne’s performance as he took them down dancehall memory lane.

Billed as Jamaica’s ‘songbird’, the man known as Kevin “Sanchez” Jackson stepped out on stage, looking sharp as ever in crisp white linen suit and electric sky-blue shirt and tie with diamond encrusted chain. His first song - ‘Crazy Baldheads’ really summed up the mood of the world-wide economic and political woes. Sanchez is another singer who has a vast catalogue of songs, and he certainly kept the crowds enthralled and hanging on his every word as he crooned and belted his way through hit after hit. Unfortunately, I missed most of this performance attempting to get an interview with Wayne Wonder who had just exited the stage.


After waiting, for what seemed like an eternity and missing the greater portion of the Sanchez performance, to interview Mr. Wayne Wonder, the headline act was getting ready to thrill the crowds as anticipation reached fever pitch. I think the majority really wanted to see and hear Beres Hammond. As a performer, the man never fails to please, from his first offering – “Can’t Stop a Man” to his final song – “I’m Giving Thanks“; with all the other hits in-between – classics like “Step Aside Love”, “I feel Good” “No Disturb”, “One Dance”, “Double Trouble”, “Putting up Resistance”, “Ain’t it Good to Know” and the classic nostalgia-themed “Rockaway”, which he sang as a tribute to those artists who have since passed on. Beres knows how to work a crowd and a stage and had the audience, especially the ladies, in a frenzy.

In a nice touch, he serenaded one of his management team, Lorraine Campbell singing ‘happy birthday’ as a birthday cake is brought on stage for her.

Backed by The Harmony House Singers and backing band, they all seemed like they were having as much fun on stage as the audience watching them. High jinks and antics are weaved into the performance as the percussionist used his drumsticks to pound out a beat on the neck of the bass guitar – magic! Playfully flicking the long locs of the rhythm guitarist who took his cue to do a solo set, so that Beres can take a well-deserved break.


When he sings “Doctor’s Orders” – one wonders whether he is joking as he staggers around the stage, but one thing that is not in doubt is the man’s stamina.  Performing for more than 30 years, he never fails to please his audience and On Thursday August 11, his audience certainly went home satisfied and bellyful with great performances.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sheron Pearson's Conduit Show

Every Sunday since March 2010 I have hosted a programe at http://www.e2onair.com/.  I call the show The Condjuit as I believe that I am the conduit through which information, news, views and music flows from me to those who log on to listen to my particular brand of edutainment.

I've had the pleasure of conducting some great 'conversations', I won't call them interviews as in keeping with the format of The Conduit - everything is organic and just flows as it will.

Here's my latest interview with artist Rohan "Raggalox" Robinson.