Muzaic Festival applauds local artists

Both musical and visual artists were lauded this past weekend with the Cayman Music and Entertainment Association’s annual Muzaic Festival.

The festival began with a kick-off party on Thursday night at Treasure Island, during which fans got the chance to have a meet and greet with visiting reggae band Third World before they took the stage on Friday night.

On Friday evening the art exhibition opened with a reception during which hors d’oeuvres and wine were served to guests who perused the artwork created specifically for the occasion by such local artists as Gordon Solomon, Randy Chollette and Luis Molina. The exhibition was curated by Mona Lisa Tatum Watler, and live musical entertainment was provided by Henry Leslie on keyboards and Glen Scott on guitar.

Friday night saw Third World take the stage, introduced by a host of local artists, including Mr. Notch – or Jean-Eric Smith, president of the Cayman Music and Entertainment Association.

On Saturday afternoon a number of local children performed at the Harquail Theatre, where the art exhibition was on display, to provide further entertainment for those who came out to look at the artwork commissioned for the festival.

Sunday night closed the weekend’s events, with a red carpet awards ceremony which applauded the efforts of a number of local musicians.

George Novak, also known as Barefoot Man, Charles Gregory (also known as Greggie G), Mitchell Ebanks (also known as Jah Mitch) and Gary Ebanks all received Long Service awards for having contributed to the local music scene for more than 40 years.

Hi Tide received an award for international success and service, which was preceded by a video montage of their work, while Karen Edie – who performs under the name KK Alese – won for regional success.

Jamesette Anglin was presented the Young Service award by Dwayne Seymour. Ms Anglin thanked the Association, promising the audience ‘you’ll be seeing much more of me.’

Ratskyn received an award for being the longest active band in Cayman. A video montage of their history aired prior to the presentation of their award. All three members thanked their parents for putting up with their loud music and rehearsals when they were starting out.

In an emotional part of the ceremony, Kenny Rankine presented Sherman ‘Jazzy B’ Bodden with the Radio DJ award that Jazzy B was given posthumously. His daughters Shanice and Kendra received the award on his behalf.

Eddie Scott was given the Icon Award, which is awarded to someone who is a cultural ambassador for Cayman and has given more than 80 years of consistent performance as an entertainer. Last year, the award was given to Julia Hydes, who was in the audience at Sunday’s awards.

Third World was honoured with an award for their contribution to Caribbean music. That award was presented to the band at the concert on Friday night.

Mr. Smith gave a president’s address at the start of the evening, expressing his anticipation of an increase in membership numbers now that the redrafted constitution has been approved.

‘For the first time in the history of the Cayman Islands there are now comprehensive provisions and guidelines made for the legal operation of foreign national musicians on island,’ said Mr. Smith.

‘The time has come for the Cayman music industry to raise the bar locally to the international standards established in jurisdictions similar to ours.’

He also anticipated a future for the Association that saw the organisation become more established on island.

‘As your president, I look positively forward to the day when the CMEA finally has an office, a headquarters, somewhere we call home,’ said Mr. Smith.

Mr. Seymour also took to the stage to give apologies for the absence of Mark Scotland, minister of culture.

Mr. Smith was happy with the way the weekend went, but was disappointed with the turnout at the various festival events.

‘Unfortunately we did not receive the local support needed to make the concert on Friday night a financial success, as all of these other events were free to the public,’ said Mr. Smith. ‘It makes me sad that people locally did not support the likes of a legendary reggae band such as Third World and the awesome local bands that represented Cayman so well at the concert.

‘Yet, currently in our country people will overwhelmingly support a concert that features artists whose lyrics denigrate women and other ethnic groups. It only proves to me the need for more policing of our entertainment offerings and an awareness of the uphill battle that live music faces in the Cayman Islands currently.’

The Observer on Sunday, Andy’s Rent-A-Car, The Ministry of Culture, Heineken, Appleton rum, Paramount Media and the Department of Tourism were all sponsors of the festival.

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