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Romaro, the suave sax player

NATANGA SMITH, [email protected]

Romaro, the suave sax player

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FATE HAS A WAY of changing your dreams. Romaro Greaves was heavily invested in becoming a world class cricketer. Instead, he is on his way to becoming a world class saxophonist.

Growing up in St Peter with parents Robert and Mardelle Greaves and two younger siblings, the 26-year-old Romaro said cricket was all he could think about in terms of playing anything: “I was always messing around with music but as a young boy growing up I was heavily bent on becoming a professional cricketer. But living in a Christian household I heard a lot of gospel music which drew me in but since I am a country boy my dad was also into oldie goldies so I heard that a lot too.”

Music for Romaro started out with him singing as a small lad in church with his first musical instrument being a recorder his aunt bought him.

“I loved it and walked around with it a lot and tried to play whatever I could pick out from off the radio. Then at age 12 I picked up the saxophone, didn’t know what would become of it but I knew I liked it a lot and wanted to learn.”

At age 14 he took a trip that changed his life forever: “I went to Cuba with the Barbados National Youth Orchestra. One day I heard a Cuban teenager in a practice room playing in a way I had never heard a saxophone being played before and I was hooked and from that day and that trip I decided I wanted to be a musician.

And he did, with full support of his parents.

“My parents continue to support me in my interest and decision to be a full time musician. It was my mother who sent me to my first music theory lesson when I was 11 years old and she constantly prays for my life and career as well as keeps me in check with her honest critiques of my performances. It was my father’s prized CDs that I snuck and listen to in my discman as a teenager. It was he who carried me to most of my gigs as a young lad coming up and it was he who bought me my first saxophone which I still use to this day.”

Romaro is an established name on the music scene in Barbados, playing at small gigs to large gigs on the circuit, and just recently he shared the City Nights stage with Nicholas Brancker.

“I have had the honour of working with [Brancker] for some time and his musical genius is unquestionable but whose principles of attention to detail and quality, establishment of identity as well as his blunt and brutal honesty I most greatly admire.”

“I also admire US saxophonist Kirk Whalum. For amidst of being an incredible saxophonist and musician, he admirably stands his ground and states his claim as a Christian and man of God. Secondly would be local drummer David Burnett, who besides being one of the finest drummers you will ever hear anywhere, is one of the humblest and genuine individuals you’ll ever meet and who honestly cares and loves to help others.

Romaro who has also played in St Vincent, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Bequia, and Antigua, to name a few likes various genres of music but calls himself an old soul: “I can’t single out one genre I like as I like various types but I like mostly anything that’s old. May it be Motown to old school funk, a little country, old R&B to vintage reggae and old soca and kaiso.”

Romaro says he is not where he wants to be in his career, “However all of what I have done thus far and what I’m presently doing are all steps towards that as I set and conquer smaller targets en route to my ultimate goals. One should always try to associate oneself with the right types of people who would support, advise and assist you on your journey as it is hard being in the industry and it’s those types of people who help you not only when things are going great but more importantly when the tough and difficult times arise.

“More importantly music has been life-altering over the years as it has assisted me in finding, getting to know and understand myself.”

He makes special mention of being a part of soca artiste Farmer Nappy’s 2014 hit Big People Party: “I have a sax solo. It is particularly special to me as I was completely blown away when I visited Trinidad during Carnival and witnessed people in soca fetes singing note for note the sax solo I played on the song. It truly moved me that people who knew nothing about me loved and appreciated something I did.”

Romaro is in intense rehearsals for the Naniki Music Festival of where he will be a member of Brancker’s band.

At the end of the interview he was asked where does he see himself in ten years time.

Well, he plans to be touring, both as a session musician and as a recording artiste playing and performing his own music. So be prepared to be blown away.