Strong entertainment from distance

Entertainment

Strong entertainment from distance

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

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The restrictions on mass gatherings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have forced the entertainment fraternity to find creative ways to deliver performances in these times of quarantine.

Local telecommunications firm Digicel stepped up to the plate on Sunday afternoon with free streaming on its Instagram and Twitter platforms of a performance dubbed the Digicel Online Cameo Concert featuring three popular acts, Jamila Falak, Dre Island, and Jesse Royal.

According to Digicel Jamaica's Chief Marketing Officer Nasha-Monique Douglas, the event was the company's way of entertaining its customers as they maintain social distancing at this time.

“We felt that this was a great way to keep our customers connected to the things they love. Because we know that many of them enjoy listening to their favourite local artistes via our D'Music app, we decided to extend the enjoyment to the virtual concert stage where they got a front row seat to connect, watch, and share with this amazing acoustic experience,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

The event which commenced at 5:00 pm showcased intimate performances by all three. Approximately one and a half hours later hundreds of lovers of entertainment had joined the live stream and enjoyed the finale which was a freestyle jam session featuring all three acts as they spoke to the virtues of following the rules in a bid to 'flatten the curve' and reduce the risk of spreading the deadly disease, COVID-19.

Falak, whose instrument of choice is the upright bass, first came to public attention with her take on All About The Bass, the song originally done by American singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor. Her silky smooth, jazz-inspired vocals only served to enhance her performance as the opening act for the trio on Sunday.

The numbers began to rise as more people tuned into the live stream, which was produced by local entertainment outfit Solid Agency, once Dre Island took the microphone and sat on a stool in the middle of the set. Music industry players such as producer and songwriter Mikey Bennett, and fellow performers Lila Ike, Romain Virgo, Vanessa Bling, and Kabaka Pyramid were among those sending messages of encouragement and support during the live stream.

Dre Island dropped a easy, smooth but potent set. His raspy vocals conveying a truth and sincerity as he delivered track after track, among them his popular We Pray. In between songs he encouraged his audience, giving thanks for the opportunity to share his music.

“I am please to be able to share good vibes and energy with the people at a time like this. Condolences to those who have lost a loved one to this virus. It's hard out there, but love is always sure,” he told his audience.

His set which lasted just over half an hour was brought to a close with the poignant Be OK which featured Jesse Royal, and provided the perfect segue to introduce him as the closing act. The “Small Axe” was in his usual militant mood delivering tracks including More Than You Receive, the new track Natty Pablo, his signature tune Modern Day Judas and his breakthrough hit This Morning.

A number of international acts including Jennifer Hudson and John Legend have given impromptu concerts via social media in wake of the lockdown and this move by Digicel shows what is possible given the circumstances. Digicel could not confirm just yet whether there will be a series of such events.

“We are overwhelmed by the response to the Digicel Online Cameo Concert, and we are still focused on reviewing all the feedback from the event. We have several other plans to keep our customers connected while they maintain social distancing, and we will let everyone know about them soon,” said Douglas.


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