Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Snazzy Jazzy Poetry Night at the Grenada National Museum

I’d been invited before. In fact, the Writer’s Association of Grenada (WAG) of which I am presently the Vice President,  has also been invited to read poetry at the venue.

On this Friday in question, I finally made it. I stopped being a hermit and went out! I couldn’t have picked a better way to break that vicious homebody habit either.

Now, as a person who dabbles in various bits of artistry myself, writing, (zomg really?  I know my paints from my pens pretty all right....a poetry and Jazz night? Oh yes please! 

I wasn’t let down either. 

The music was just as intoxicating as I thought it would be. The band members played almost like we, the audience, weren’t even there! As though it was just them, their instruments and their friends having a Friday night jam session in a room where the lights were low and the music, could glide across the area and then bounce back to you so that it filled every corner of available space.
I loved how the crowd was so diverse too, there were tourists, poets, local art museum curators, business people who had finished for the day, students looking for a ‘lime’, (decreolize: hangout) and musicians, just to name a few. 
One musician, a newly arrived Peace Corp. Member by the name of Sean, was called up in fact, to perform impromptu on his guitar. All the peace corp. members on island were celebrating Peace Corp. 50th Anniversary just next door and had trickled in to observe afterwords.

Sean sang a classic American hit: Sweet Caroline and then hit us with a sweet sweet back in the day hit by the Back Street Boys, my favourite band back in my teens so you know I was pleased!

Sean Park - last week's audience guest guitarist

I was so pleased in fact, I had to go again. They have it only on the first Friday of every month.
Have I express how impressed I am with the saxophonist? His playing, is so impressive, enhanced ten fold by his deliverance! For most of the song he is seated. Until, he suddenly stands and belts out a high note via instrument. Tilting his head back, rocking slowly forward then. 

I look forward to these moments the most because they don’t seem like they’re just done to show off but because he’s really going at it!
Speaking of going at it, the second time I attended, there was this guitarist who was lost in the music, he and his guitar were having an intense, heated conversation that we in the audience were privileged enough to witness.
Deep Guitar Guy

Toward the end of the night, he let us join in that conversation too, by way of urging us to clap to the beat while they played. We did, boisterously. 

The room came alive with music and a love of it. There even came a point in the night when a woman became so overwhelmed with rhythm, she stood and danced to the beat of the drums and all the other wonderful instruments on stage: sax, keyboard, flute, harmonica, steel pan. I can’t name them all by memory…

Let me just stop for a minute to say that I find there is nothing like the heavenly sound of steel pan music. I’m not particularly interested in it during carnival and so but when it plays soft music it seems to caress the air and convinces me that angels have steel pan as back up for the days when their harps need tuning… 
This week The MC (Sax Man) singled out another known artist in the crowd and called on him to ‘come on up’ not Sean this time, don’t know if this new young man was a tourist but he was wearing a white shirt that heavily resembled a ‘I heart NY’ t-shirt, which for some weird reason I thought was hilarious and I chuckled when I saw it! I guess cause I haven’t seen one of those in years, it’s like a classic or something isn't it?
He did go ‘on up’ and I enjoyed the song he played on guitar the most that night.
The week's guest guitarist

But he didn’t stop there, I observed him not return to his seat but take an open place next to the guy on the drums who, quickly took him under his wing and got him acquainted with the beat. I admired this guy, what a terrific creative attitude!
I had been late, having spent most of my evening chatting at the art gallery with Maryse and her little docile doggy Noisette (NuNu), from both of whom I learned so much! 

After that I filled my time with taking pictures on the carenage at dusk, meeting up with my old college drama director Mr. Amen, whom I haven’t seen since he migrated, and who knows what else, before I made it!
So this time I missed the poetry portion :( but it shall not happen again! 
What’s sad though is that they have little to no funding. There is a little basket at the door where patrons are kindly asked to donate how ever much is possible in efforts to keep this going and I urge anyone who goes to spare them some, however much is up to the value of your experience. 

Keep in mind though, this is fuelled by us the people, our little donations ensure this keeps happening. Too many artistic avenues have disappeared here in Grenada because of lack of founding…

I applaud whomsoever had the idea to do this for going ahead with it, also the band, for always delivering a soulful performance.

More of The Band

A. Belfon on the Sax and also MC for the night


It was a great night, an opportunity to be surrounded by art, positivity and a love of both. Needless to say, I think they’ve made a permanent visitor of me.

Maybe even...a performer? ;)

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