PRESS RELEASE:-Saint Lucia (June 23, 2017) – This past weekend St. Lucia hosted the inaugural Roots & Soul music festival, the second of six in the Soleil Saint Lucia Summer Festival series.
The lineup for Roots & Soul 2017 included an all-star cast of musicians emanating from the regional, international and local music fraternity, the latter being almost 70% percent of the lineup, thereby satisfying one of the main objectives of the Soleil Saint Lucia Summer Festival and Events Company of St. Lucia (ECSL). A key objective of Soleil is to create greater opportunities to showcase local talent by expanding St. Lucia’s events portfolio through multiple events and across genres and art forms.
Roots & Soul Saturday opened with Chrycee and her enthralling voice, emotive lyrics, vivacious personality and distinctively chic style topped off with fiery red tresses framing her slender face. Chrycee’s delivery centered on memoirs of her life, more specifically her “love life” sharing with the audience, intimate personal experiences that inspired her original pieces, “Hooked”, “Monster” and “Steel Chest”. So riveting was her performance of “Steel Chest”, it brought Chrycee and by extension her adoring audience to tears. Chrycee is scheduled to perform in the UK and Denmark during the month of July 2017.
The Dynamic and explosive St. Lucian rapper Kayo (who is based in Halifax Canada), wowed the audience with his energetic performance and powerful lyrics. Kayo’s emotive lyrics encouraged the audience to be self-motivated, self-assured and to channel positive energy, no matter the challenges in life. Some of his memorable pieces included “Endless Summer and “Bakara”. Kayo also performed his well received “Winter in St. Lucia” a single released one day before Roots & Soul.
The evening got even more interesting when our local reggae band 4th World took the stage. Their purist style of reggae music was a throwback to the old days of reggae, and inspired heavy chanting and much skanking from their “roots conscious” fans.
The Saturday night climaxed with a riveting performance from Christopher Martin who emerged clean cut, in a tailored suit, a semblance of Daniel Craig in 007 Skyfall. In true Casanova style, Chris Martin stole the hearts of every female fan in the audience, their screams piercing the night sky with every note he sang, every graceful leap and grind. Chris held nothing back, bearing his “bod and all” even reappearing for an encore of Just Like You – an ode to his dad – which he dedicated to all fathers in the audience. Chris Martin’s remains one of the most memorable performances for Roots & Soul 2017.
In spite of the threat of the inclement weather at the start of Sunday’s Roots & Soul showcase, the culmination of the weekend was an astounding success. Dianna Philip’s debut on main stage fell nothing short of a performance fit for the most sophisticated of audiences. From her “pink shirt clad” backing musicians to her stylish Afrocentric backup singers, all synchronized with her every move, Dianna owned the main stage as if she had done this a thousand times before. She oozed confidence, belting with much control and ease, lyrics to some of our most memorable and loved covers like Alice Smith’s “Fool for You”, Bill Withers “Lovely Day” and Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Like A Star” which she dedicated to her father who succumbed to pancreatic cancer on April 10th, 2017, also her birthday. Dianna debuted her original “Smile” an emotive neo-soul piece that will be part of her soon to be launched album.
Rob Zii Taylor and Phyness who are no strangers to the main stage did not disappoint, showing great form with every delivery. The duo is in great demand, having just returned from Dominica where they performed at the Dominica Creole N’ Jazz Festival. The duo is also enjoying the success of their most recent release “Let it Go” originally written & performed by James Bay & Paul Barry.
American R&B Singer Musiq Soulchild took the stage and delivered a solid set of soulful originals. His smooth and sultry vocals filled the air with sweetness subduing the crowd to an easy groove. Musiq Soulchild was followed by Etana “The Strong One “who glided onto the stage and elegantly delivered hit after sweet pulsating reggae hit, moving the audience from one emotion to the next. She closed off with her mega song “I Am Not Afraid” which was the sum total of her entire performance. Her powerful and engaging showcase reaffirms that Etana is arguably, one of the leading female voices in contemporary reggae.
To cap it all off, Roots & Soul hit the ultimate ‘high’ with the Royal Family of Reggae – Morgan Heritage, who are to reggae music what Kassav is to Zouk. Like good wine, Morgan Heritage seems to get better with time, even ushering in a new generation of the Morgan Heritage legacy. Jemere Morgan, son of Gramps Morgan, took that Roots & Soul stage alongside his father, uncles Peter and Mojo, and his aunt Una. Morgan Heritage took the audience on a journey that was both nostalgic and revolutionary.
“The resounding success of the first ever Roots & Soul Festival, has confirmed for us that this event is firmly established and must remain a staple to the Soleil Summer Festival Calendar” notes Thomas Leonce CEO of the ECSL.
The Soleil Saint Lucia Summer Festival series continues with Carnival, to be followed by the County and Blues Festival in September.
Full details about Soleil – the Summer of Festivals can be found at www.stlucia.org/