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Maxwell heads star line-up at St Lucia Jazz & Arts festival

MAX VOLUME: Singer Maxwell

AN ALL-STAR cast of acclaimed musicians poised to deliver the best rhythmic performances alongside portrayals from accomplished artists, is just some of the excitement that awaits music-lovers going to the 2014 Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival later this month.

The highly anticipated 23rd annual staging edition of the iconic festival was launched at a gala ceremony in February at the Sandals Halcyon Beach Resort. The 12-day festival from April 30 to May 11 will attract thousands to the historic Pigeon Island National Landmark, where main stage events will unfold.

Tourism, Heritage and Creative Industries Minister Lorne Theophilus speaking at the launch said: “This year’s event is building on a resurgence of fresh artistic direction infused into the festival in 2013, thus providing the perfect opportunity for scores of local artisans, entertainers and cultural enthusiasts to command world attention at scenic vistas across the island.”

Many firmly established community-oriented events will form an integral part of the two-week event. From the quaint and rustic village settings of Rudy John Beach Park in the southwest village of Laborie, to indoor concerts at popular bays, shopping malls, fine dining restaurants and pubs in the north; to the amphitheatre setting of the Fond d’Or Heritage Park in Dennery, the entire island is expected to come alive with the sights and sounds of the festival.

Artistic activities will incorporate Drama and Dance, Steel Pan, Spoken Word, Fashion Shows and other cultural extravaganzas at key venues stretching from the northern town of Gros-Islet to Vieux Fort in the South.

Director of tourism Louis Lewis said: “The 2014 line-up is an exhilarating mix of musical genres that would again allow the festival to deliver the world class experience for which it has become renowned.”

Performances at the Gaiety on Rodney Bay on May 8 will feature Cuban composer, pianist, bandleader and Grammy nominee Omar Sosa Quintet and three-time Grammy award winning American jazz singer -songwriter, as well as Tony-Award winning stage actress Dee Dee Bridgewater.

Main stage activities at the Pigeon Island National Landmark will sound off on Friday, May 9 with the aptly themed ‘Caribbean night’. Taking to the stage will be Trinidadian string band Alternative Quartet, local heartthrob Teddyson John featuring Alison Hinds and Jamaican reggae and dancehall legend Barrington Levy.


SET TO PERFORM: Alison Hinds

On Saturday, May 10, the line up will include American R&B soul singer, songwriter and producer Kem, American-born Puerto Rican Grammy and Latin Grammy Award winning Merengue singer Elvis Crespo. His smash hit Suavemente has become an anthem for Latin music. “Personally” sealing off the Saturday line-up is Nigerian R&B duo P-Square.

Headlining the Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival is American singer-songwriter, record producer and multi-instrumentalist Maxwell. Boasting several chart toppers, the Grammy award-winning artist music spans R&B, Funk, Jazz and Soul.

Festival-goers will dance and sing along to legendary American funk/soul band of Motown fame, The Commodores. The group is best known for their ballads, such as Easy and Three Times a Lady, but has recorded funky, driven dance-floor hits which include Brick House, The Bump, Fancy Dancer, and Too Hot ta Trot.

Also on the cards for Sunday May 11 is Jamaican reggae fusion recording artist Tessanne Chin, best known for winning Season 5 of the American reality TV singing competition, The Voice.

Other musical virtuosos forming the 2014 line up include Jamaican pianist Monty Alexander, St Lucian Expo that features the up and coming emerging talents of Michael Robinson and Anesha Antoine, and funky jazz and blues band Blue Mango featuring Emiline Michel and James Germain.

The Opening of Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival is carded for the ‘people auditorium,’ the Mindoo Phillip Park on 30 April. The line-up for that show will be announced later.

The festival is presented by the Saint Lucia Tourist Board and has a range of sponsors including telecom giants Digicel. Over its two-decade history the festival has attracted some of the most recognisable and sought after names in the music business.

For more information on the Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival 2014 along with show dates, and venues visit www.stluciajazz.org

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