Local music on the rise in 2009

As well as an impressive roster of visiting artists who have enjoyed immense international success, Grand Cayman played host to a number of rising local acts in 2009.

Local artists

In January the Live on the Paseo series was in full swing at Camana Bay, with a local act performing the three-hour gig for those strolling the Paseo or dining at Abacus. The Caymanian Weekender included in-depth interviews with local bands such as Ocean Drive, Smooth Bill, Suite Elite and Burmon Scott throughout the beginning of the year.

year end music

International superstar Alicia Keys headlined this years Jazz Fest in December.

In February, local bands also stepped up to the plate to help out the Brac, which was still feeling the after-effects of Hurricane Paloma’s devastation at the end of 2008. This theme of musicians donating their time for a good cause continued in March with the March on Stage series at the Hard Rock Cafe, which raised funds for the John Gray High School Music Technology programme.

Towards the end of the year, the Cayman National Choir and Cayman National Orchestra put on a performance for the crowds at the Voices for Hospice concert to raise funds for Cayman HospiceCare; an event which also coincided with the opening of Camana Bay’s The Crescent. And at the end of October bands gathered together as they do every year for the Rotary fundraiser, the Music Extravaganza.

In December, several local acts got the chance to perform on a major stage as warm-up acts for Jazz Fest. They were given the chance to audition for their slot in the Department of Tourism’s Battle of the Bands contest, and bands such as Big Eye Squirrel and Los Tropicanos enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime experience opening for acts such as Peabo Bryson and Alicia Keys.

Visiting acts

Grand Cayman was privileged to host a variety of international recording artists in 2009.

Starting the year off in January were Maxi Priest, Snow and Shaggy who returned to the island for a sell-out concert. At the end of the year Bahamian musicians Mr. Beeds and Manifest visited to spread ‘hip hope’, their inspirational version of hip hop, in local schools and through performing at concerts.

In March Shawn Colvin treated the crowds at Stay-Focused’s fundraiser with an acoustic performance of her hits, and Ziggy Marley gave the Caymanian Weekender an interview about his new album, Family Time, even though he wasn’t on the island. He explained, however, that he had been many times and he has always ‘really enjoyed myself and found the people to really like and appreciate my music.’

In May it was announced that Alicia Keys would be the headlining act for December’s jazz fest, which would also be held at a new location this year, off The Crescent at Camana Bay. Ms Keys gave a sold-out performance to a crowd more than 6,000 strong at the event, and other international artists such as Mike Phillips, Keith Sweat, Oleta Adams and Peabo Bryson had also joined her for the festival.

In May Grand Old House’s jazz pianist, Leyannes Valdes, persuaded her father, legendary jazz pianist Chucho Valdes, to join her in Cayman for a one-night-only performance. The pair performed piano duets and the crowd was also treated to several solo numbers by Chucho.

Also in May was the Rain Down concert which brought gospel acts such as Alvin Slaughter.

In June Beenie Man headlined the Fever concert, providing some entertainment over the traditionally quiet summer period, and the Cayman Music and Entertainment Association’s Muzaic 2009 festival also hosted reggae legends Third World, in July.

In October, gospel singer CeCe Winans graced Grand Cayman, performing at Hallelujah 2K9, a concert celebrating the 10th anniversary of the World Christian Fellowship Ministry in the Cayman Islands.

Classical music

Grand Cayman was also receptive to some classical tunes as well, from the Cayman National Choir and Orchestra trying something a little different with their successful sing-along held in April to Cayfest’s evening of classical performance event, which welcomed world-renowned violist Matthew Daline.

International news

The Cayman Islands was not immune to the effects of international news in the world of music, either.

In February, Chris Brown was accused of assaulting his girlfriend and fellow singer Rihanna. In reaction, and as a show of zero tolerance for domestic violence, local radio stations owned by dms Broadcasting banned Mr. Brown’s music from the airwaves.

In June Michael Jackson passed away, causing a ripple effect of mourning in Cayman as local musicians, dancers and radio DJs expressed their reaction to the tragedy, sharing the impact that Mr. Jackson’s music or performances had had on their lives.

For the kids

Recognising the shining stars in Cayman’s youth, the annual Talent Xposition of the Arts, held in June, featured several young performers strutting their stuff by dancing, performing or singing on stage.

Local teen singing sensation Jamesette Anglin walked away with the Miss Teen crown on Saturday, in part thanks to the astounding performance of a Mariah Carey song that she gave as her talent, the part of the pageant she said she was least worried about.

In September, local band Bona Fide hosted a Caribbean music workshop for kids at Camana Bay, teaching them the rhythms of reggae, soca and calypso and encouraging their participating in the local arts scene.

At Jazz Fest in December, young Rico Orrett-Ebanks, son of local singing legend Nina Orrett, took the stage and wowed the crowds with his abilities.