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A few sparks at music finals

Wendell Callender

A few sparks at music finals

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Frank Collymore Hall was just more than half-filled for Part 1 of the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts’ music finals on Saturday.
It was a night on which the audience seemed to be groping for more sparks of brilliance than they saw emerging in the 491-seater hall.
One of the better acts came from Rafael Hinds performing as drummer in his presentation entitled Glorious. Accompanied by a keyboardist, saxophonist and bass guitarist who almost stole the thunder of the key participant, Rafael produced a great piece of workmanship. Timing, rhythm, passion and showmanship, exemplified by impeccable flipping of the drum sticks, were part of his package.
Rafael also played the keyboards while rendering Emerton and Bridgetown Market. However, it may have been more appropriate for him to be unaccompanied as the music from the flute, violin and pan at times impacted on the audibility of his instrument.
The Olakunde Steel Orchestra, an 11-piece outfit, was a thrill to watch. The group’s original piece Changes was a perfect reflection of its title. The flowing melody punctuated with changing tones, surprise elements and intricate arrangements were captivating.
In the Adrian Clarke composition Nice Time, the group once again captured the essence of the song and the refreshing and elegant presentation was appealing.
Shakir Maynard demonstrated his versatility in his two pieces. In the first, Billy Jean, he was a fair replica of Michael Jackson in terms of his showmanship, especially when he did the “moon walk”. However, in the area of voice, while not really faltering, he was no Jackson.
Shakir’s second selection, based on the requirements of the competition, was a better offering. The original song Apology, with him on the acoustic guitar, was good melodically and would have scored reasonably high for musicianship, voice, diction, creativity and presentation.  
For pure singing ability, Kaysha Springer was the most captivating. In her first song Greatest Love Of All, she manifested good vocal range, control and sheer sweetness of voice. She went a notch higher in her second, The Climb.
Chad Montplaisir was outstanding in diction, presentation and interpretation in performing the Dennis Brown composition How Do I Leave.
Other performers included the Serenity Steel Pan Group, Castamere, Leandra Layne, Mequissa Baptiste, Jane Small and the Israel Lovell Foundation Junior Drummers.
The second part of the music finals comes off tonight with the juniors going before the judges.