Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 20th 2014 Contents SIMON LEE
Amagnificent ram goat, accom-
panied by his all-in-white Bobo
Shanti minder, noses the sand
of Laborie s Rudy John beach, on
St Lucia s south west coast.
Beyond the susurrus of the lazy waves per-
cussion, St Vincent floats twenty miles offshore.
Onstage, Denis Lapassion and his band from
Cayenne, French Guiana caress the warm cur-
rents of a late Sunday afternoon with cadences
from the Amazon rainforest and feisty Kwèyol
The beach buzzes with picnicking families;
village fishermen resting their nets in favour
of shots of rum and robust fatigue; old tanties
selling homemade delicacies; kids clamouring
for surfside pony rides and travellers from afar
with a thirst for Creole Jazz.
This is the 17th edition of Jazz in the South,
the flagship project of Labowi Promotions, a
not-for-profit community organisation estab-
lished some 20 years ago by a small group of
Laborie-based cultural activists, with the objec-
tive of enhancing "social togetherness and har-
mony" and promoting "economic development
through cultural events and expression."
The community-based jazz festival has an
enviable track record of presenting some of
the best Caribbean jazz performers, as well as
African artistes like last year s headliner, Malian
vocalist Fatoumata Diawara.
Like many homegrown cultural initiatives
in the region, Jazz in the South is underfunded
to the extent that this year s festival has been
trimmed down from four concerts to this single
performance plus Erol Josué s Haitian dance
and Jacques Schwarz-Bart s sax master classes
in Castries. But what s been lost in quantity
has in no way compromised Labowi s highest
quality standards. The afternoon into night
descarga promises some of the region s most
gifted young and young-at-heart performers,
with the best surprise left for last.
True to the Labowi tradition of programming
international with rising local talent, the Vieux
Fort-based Shomari (Maxwell on keyboards)
and Wendell (Richards on sax) Jazz Project,
take the stage in the wake of Lapassion.
In tune with the gentle waves, the young
ensemble take a slow glide through Marley,
Sparrow, Marvin Gaye s What s Going On,
their creolised version of the Sting hit---trans-
formed into An Englishman in Vieux Fort and
the Lord Melody classic kaiso Mama Look a
As the sun dips into the sea taking the tem-
perature with it, young Martiniquan pianist
Gregory Privat and his Children of Cyparis
quintet, featuring Gaudeloupean master per-
cussionist/drummer Sonny Troupé, invoke
both bélé and gwo ka rhythmic traditions with
the elegiac suite, Tales of Cyparis.
Martinique like Cuba has a long tradition
of virtuoso pianists---from Marius Coultier to
Paulo Rosine, Alain Jean Marie to Mario
Canonge. Gregory Privat, son of José, who
succeeded Rosine as pianist in the legendary
Antillean band Malavoi, is a worthy heir who
plays far beyond his already impressive cre-
Privat uniquely sifts the ashes of his island s
volcano, for a narrative with which to frame
the flow of his music; a subtle yet volatile flow,
which with a sudden change of tempo is capable
of shifting from the lyrical to the explosive
eruption of Mt Pelée in 1902,
an event of both geological and cultural
It was the town of St Pierre, close to Mt
Pelée s base, that was the cradle of Creole jazz,
when in the 1880s bélé musicians descended
from the surrounding mornes to infuse Euro-
pean dance forms with Afro-Creole rhythms
to create the biguine.
While the 1902 eruption utterly destroyed
this elegant "Paris of the Antilles" and its
30,000 inhabitants, there was one survivor,
the inveterate tafia sucker Cyparis, whose
drunkenness ensured his safety as he d been
locked up in a solitary "cachot", with walls
thick enough to withstand the inferno. Cyparis
was pulled from the ashes to become a star
turn in Barnum s circus as "le grand brulé",
another object of exotic fascination.
Privat s Tales of Cyparis, both commemorates
and celebrates this survivor. Onstage Privat s
rippling runs, evoking the biguine of those
incendiary days, rode a backing track of Jean
Bernabé voicing Cyparis memoir, with Troupé s
furious gwo ka beats and plaintive guitar adding
brio and colour to what will be recognised as
a modern Creole classic.
For the full star-studded night sky finale
Guadeloupean saxophonist Jacques Schwarz-
Bart led his Jazz Racine Haiti ensemble in an
invocation to the Vodou lwas, voiced in spine-
tingling style by Haitian oungan, vocalist and
dancer Erol Josué.
Schwarz-Bart s most recent album, from
which his set was selected, has made him a
major contender in this year s French Grammys.
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
Jazz in the South:
Gregory Privat, Etienne Charles and Jacques Schwarz-Bart at Jazz in the South.
Indian film director Rupesh Paul has
revealed he is making a film about
missing Malaysia Airlines Flight
Speaking at the Cannes film festival,
Paul told the Hollywood Reporter the
drama - titled Vanishing Act---"will
not affect any passengers families".
The search is continuing for the Boe-
ing 777 plane, which disappeared on
March 8 with 239 people on board.
The film is expected to be ready for
an autumn release date. Paul insisted
he was not exploiting the ongoing
"The controversy will help indi-
rectly, but we are not cashing in on the
flight," he said.
The director added there had been a
lot of interest in the film, particularly
from Asian markets.
Paul is in Cannes to promote several
of his films including Kamasutra 3D
and The Monologues Of A Sex Maniac.
Never one to shy away from contro-
versy, his first movie was titled The
Temptations Between My Legs. (BBC)
Missing Malaysian plane film planned
Continues on Page A30
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