Yin and Yaw
LINUS YAW swaggered on to the stage at the Waterfront Café and when he strung his guitar around his neck, there was an excited hush from patrons.
It was pianist Ebe Gilkes’ night, and Yaw surprised the man he described as “one of my favourite artistes”, joining old friend and fellow musician Antonio “Boo” Rudder for an electrifying session in honour of Ebe’s 80th birthday.
Yaw has been gone from Barbados since 1989, but in the 1970s he was a big name on the local music scene, following in the footsteps of his father Clifton Glasgow, the master guitarist.
On this special night at the Waterfront, Yaw is dressed in his trademark, wide-brimmed, white straw hat, black and white voluminous trousers, black body-hugging shirt and one large pendant earring, making a distinct fashion statement.
As he came off the the stage to wild applause from patrons, many rushing forward to greet him, Yaw paused to speak to WE Magazine.
“Barbados is cool,” he remarked, “but I am an international performer.”
And he has the international gigs under his belt to prove this claim. He has played in Paris, parts of the Mediterranean, in Monte Carlo, in Dubai. He has appeared in London’s famous Soho nightspot Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.
“Periodically I have been doing some gigs with George Clinton’s Funkadelic; I have been doing some work around Hong Kong; and I play in Dubai sometimes,” said Yaw.
Since 1996 he has been living in Hong Kong with his Dutch-born wife Olga and their three children, but “I try to come home every two years”. He has been doing so from the time he first migrated to Canada in 1989.
Some people say this very talented musician was too big for Barbados at the time. They thought he needed exposure to a bigger stage.
Back home and observing the local music scene, he told WE “music should always be a challenge to young players. It takes a lot of dedication”.
And he has chided local radio stations for not playing “enough interesting music to challenge musicians here”, who he thought needed to be “more adventurous in the selection of instruments they play”.
Yaw’s early tendency to be adventurous with his style of playing guitar must have been what caught the ear of the big names in the world of jazz like Hugh Masekela, Ellis Marsalis, Dizzie Gillespie and Ronnie Scott. He had the opportunity to share the stage with them all.
At the Waterfront Café that recent special evening for Ebe, Yaw was having fun playing his piccolo bass, seemingly entranced in his own world of music as he jammed alongside his old friend “Boo” Rudder on drums.
The two plan to serve up a menu of funky jazz and blues on Sunday night at the Ship Inn, St Lawrence Gap.