Saturday, 19 October 2019

IT WAS THE SINGING: Nexus’ 2019 concert season serves up a rich musical bellyful

LIFT EVERY VOICE: The choir treats concertgoers to selections from a diverse repertoire.

THE 100th anniversary of the birth of Louise Bennett-Coverley is a big deal that ought to be celebrated. Just ask the Nexus Performing Arts Company, whose ongoing 2019 season at the Phoenix Theatre in New Kingston includes a rousing tribute in song to the late great cultural icon.

Under the direction of Artistic Director and chief arranger Hugh Douse, the segment, which brought the show to a triumphant close, include sprightly renditions of folk gems and such tunes from the Jamaican songbook as “Evening Time,” “Dis Long Time Gal,” “Dog War,” “Rocky Road,” “Moonshine Tonight” and “Wheel-O Matilda,” eliciting vociferous applause from a small but very appreciative and well-entertained audience.

Next to Ashé and the Mona-based University Singers, Nexus has secured its place in the musical theatre/performing arts realm as that troupe melding classical and contemporary, reggae and blues, sacred and spiritual, gospel and secular tunes to treat their loyal audiences to a rich musical bellyful.

The 13-voice choir stayed true to form throughout the show we saw last Sunday evening, with numerous costume changes and the kind of choreography that elevates performance.

Moving interpretations of “Precious Lord,” “Bright Soul,” “The Lord’s My Shepherd,” a pleading “Lamb of God” and the multi-octave “Senzenina (A Weh Wi Do?)” made way for the ovation-worthy “Break Every Chain” (featuring two splendid female soloists) and a funky/jazzy take on “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” 

Ahead of an African segment, a reggae medley featuring cleverly arranged songs by Chronixx (“I Can,” “Likes”) and Bob Marley (“Who the Cap Fit,” “No Woman No Cry,” “One Love”) took the spotlight. Further kicking things up a notch, a spirit-filled Revival segment (“Journeyman Jesus,” “Daniel Saw the Stone,” “Keyman” and more), before the curtains came down with the selection of songs dedicated to the one and only Miss Lou.

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