Friday, 4 March 2016

ANDREW’S ANTHEM: Five memorable musical performances at the Prime Minister’s swearing-in

BIG TUNE: PM Holness joins singer Nesbeth on stage for a performance of "My Dream."

They came to sing for him and play their instruments. Musical entertainers were part of the appealing package at the swearing-in ceremony to mark the ascension of Andrew Holness to the role of Prime Minister of Jamaica for the second time in his political career. A truly memorable occasion. In the end, music and message made for a harmonious power duo. Here are some of the highlights:

The most vociferous reception was reserved for this ascendant reggae hitmaker, of whom Mr. Holness is admittedly a huge fan. The PM is particularly fond of Nesbeth’s rousing hit “My Dream,” a fixture on the campaign trail recently and a thrillingly performed crowd-pleaser at Thursday’s inauguration. Echoing Holness’ message of big dreams and prosperity, the tune is the ideal anthem of the moment.

Instrumentalists exude a special kind of appeal, and Laraque is no exception. Putting his tenor sax to work overtime, the talented musicians had the crowd in his thrall, as he demonstrated a winning blend of instrumentation, pacing and control. By and large, a worthy protégé of the great Dean Fraser.

Repping the gospel fraternity, the seasoned songstress (whom we haven’t seen on stage in ages!) reminded us that she’s still a force to be reckoned with, giving a commanding rendition of “Great is Thy Faithfulness” that brought the crowd to its feet. We eagerly anticipate new music (and hopefully an album this year) from the enduring songbird.

His performances are usually excellent examples of first-class artistry and sturdy singing, so we prefer to think it was a case of nerves and stage fright that made Commander McFarlane flub some of the lines in the opening verse of the National Anthem, as he brought the curtains down on Thursday’s swearing-in. Thankfully, the retired commander quickly recovered and gave that powerful finish that his fans are accustomed to.

Like fine wine, Strachan’s talent seems to only get better with age. Sporting a more rounded figure these days, the coloratura soprano (gorgeous in a champagne-coloured gown) delighted the audience with refreshing interpretations of “I Saw My Land in the Morning” and “Jamaica Land of Beauty”, with arrangements beautifully done by Paulette Bellamy. Amazing Ana strikes again!

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