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Divine Echoes, Stalin, Nurse deliver at Central Bank concert
Veteran calypsonian Dr Leroy Calliste (Black Stalin) and acclaimed pianist Louis Nurse performed with the Divine Echoes Orchestra on Saturday night at the Central Bank Auditorium in Port-of-Spain. Divine Echoes, a 30-piece orchestra and the largest big band in T&T, was formed in 2007 and operates under the Office of the Prime Minister. An unconfirmed report said it will be disbanded when members’ contracts expire next month.
However, despite the uncertainty surrounding the band’s future, patrons were treated to an evening of glorious music from the collaboration of Nurse, Stalin and the orchestra. In the opening segment, featuring Nurse on piano, the band’s five lead singers (three females and two males) graciously executed a varied repertoire of selections beginning with Marjorie Padmore’s God Bless Our Nation, Lionel Ritchie’s Endless Love, Dancing Mood and Explainer’s Lorraine.
The group also went on a nostalgic journey back to the 1970s and 80s in a showcase of timeless songs, accompanied by some nice retro dance moves. Ladies Night, Get Down On It, Ain’t No Stopping Us Now and All Night Long were some of the selected songs.
Then came a creative latin treatment of Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry, an almost perfect replication of the music score for Glen Miller’s all-time favourite In The Mood, a commendable interpretation of David Rudder’s Soca Music, a version of Bread, Peace and Justice of which the creator Ella Andall would have been extremely proud and finally a joyful, rhythmic take on Kerwin Du Bois’ I’m A Bacchanalist.
Following the interval, Stalin emerged and for the next hour, in his inimitable style, regaled patrons with a slew of hits inclusive of Sufferers, Look On The Bright Side, Black Woman, Black Man Doh Get Nothing Easy and Freedom Song. No performance by Stalin is complete if his tried and tested favourites are not showcased. The occasion was no exception, as he was compelled to offer Caribbean Man, Wait Dorothy Wait, More Come, Bun Dem and the calypso that still evokes raw emotion in listeners after more than 20 years, Black Man Feeling To Party.
If there was a downside to the absolutely enjoyable evening’s outing, it was the failure of the sound mixer to balance the band with the vocalist’s microphone. In many instances the music came across way too loud, impinging on one’s ability to clearly discern a song’s lyrics.
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