Ashaala shines at Jazz N Cabaret

By Basil Walters
Observer writer

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

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American gospel singer Ashaala Shanae delivered big at Jazz N Cabaret In The Gardens at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston Sunday evening.

Dressed in a sleek outfit that pressed all the fashionista buttons, she energised the event once she hit the stage, performing Alicia Keys' Unbreakable. Her performance peaked with Marvin Gaye's classic What's Going On, after which she addressed trending topics of racial disunity, crime and violence affecting her country and Jamaica.

“It's a trying time for our country (the United States), for our nation, myself, even as a black woman. You know, I'm multi-ethnic...Latino, Black, but when I drive down the streets the reality is I'm kind of scared, it's really scary these days to drive even as a woman of colour on the streets…I never thought that I would even have to say this publicly, but it's the truth…. It's getting really bad and I'm sure for this country, many of you are praying for your sons and praying for your daughters, praying for your country, your nation, praying that crime will get better, praying that poverty will get better, praying, praying, praying. We just have to continue, firstly, be the change that we want to be ourselves, right? Not just to complain, complain but be a part of the solution,” Ashaala Shanae told the receptive audience.

Following that inspiring narrative, she did Unforgettable and Summertime. At the end of her remarkable stint, the Jamaica Observer caught up with her.

“Music is so powerful. Even the song I sang tonight by Marvin Gaye; Marvin Gaye had a message, he used his art to tell people what was going on back then. I think music is such a powerful avenue to really tell people what is going through the expression of arts,” she explained. “It's conscious, it's bringing awareness, and I think we should do it more. I really think that we should get back to the message in the music.”

Ian Andrews, fusing comedy and music, also stood out. During his repertoire, which consisted of Love Is In The Air, I Believe in You, My Girl, Go Down Moses, and Unchained Melody, he showed self-deprecating humour.

“Quite recently, and I'm not kidding you, a lady on the street called out to me and said, 'Hi, Mr Ian Boyne',” thinking he was the late broadcaster.

Andrews was at his tasty best when he served a container of strawberries to patrons while doing a rendition of Strawberry, made popular by Jerry Butler.

Other noteworthy contributions came from curtain-raiser Rosemarie Lee with Until, Someone Loves You Honey and I'm Telling You. Dje's offering included Fever, All About Bass and Cruising while Azuri gave a jazzy set around Blue Skies, Satin Dolls, Sweet Love, I'm Feeling Good, and Dreamland.

Saxophonist Verlando Small held his own on Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You, Someone To Love and Neo's So Sick of Love Songs.

Singer/trombonist Everton Pessoa closed the evening with The Wizard of Oz's Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Third World's Sense of Purpose and Try Jah Love, followed by Fly Me To The Moon and a medley of Don Drummond classics.




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