This weekend the Cayman Islands Music and Entertainment Association brings the public the annual Muzaic celebration of local musical talent. It plays out at different venues over the course of the weekend and will culminate in an awards ceremony on Sunday, 3 July.
“It is truly a festival in celebration of the best novice and professional musicians that the local music scene currently has to offer,” says Jean-Eric “Notch” Smith, president of the CMEA.
The CMEA also organises the Boxing Day Battle of The Bands and Hurricane Jam each year. There is no competitive element to Muzaic however. It is simply a celebration of local music.
Muzaic aims to be a musical mosaic, bringing together live bands, DJs, emerging talents and old-time favourites, covering genres from classical to hip hop and plenty in betweenorganisers say.
The event kicks off Friday, 1 July, with the Live Musicians Showcase from 5.30pm on the beach at Calico Jack’s and continuing late into the night. Bands slated to perform include Hi Tide, Blu Water, BackBeat, Bona Fide, Lammie, the Regeneration Band, Local Motion, Roots Connection and Thanks and Praises.
From 2-5pm Saturday, 2 July, some of Cayman’s youngest musical talent will be on stage at the Harquail Theatre in a show titled 4KBK (4 kids by kids), emceed by Alanna Rose and Andrel. Among the scheduled performers are Jaide Powell and Dru Alexander Bodden, solo performances; Marissa Powell and Joshua Mitchell on piano; and Joseph “Lil J” Seymour Jr. playing his single; After Skool Band and Undiscovered, plus a musical theatre piece by Musicians.ky
There are no restrictions on the youngsters’ choices of genre, instrument or type of performance. 4KBK is designed to encourage and nurture new talent, Notch says. “This event is a push towards embracing these younger musicians into the local music fraternity … and is an effort to not only showcase the kids who are close to, or at, professional level already, but to also encourage them further into a professional music career.”
More on Saturday
The DJ Showcase on Saturday takes place at Calico Jack’s from 5.30pm until midnight.
The island’s many popular DJs will get the crowds movin’ and groovin’ all night long.
The event culminates with an awards ceremony at 7pm Sunday at the Harquail Theatre. Awards will be given for: Long Service, Commercial DJ of the Year, International Success, Album of the Year, the Jazzy B award for Radio DJ and the Song of the Year.
In the Young Musicians category there will be awards for: Best Vocalist, Best in Brass, Best in Percussion, Best in String, Best in Woodwind and Keyboardist of the Year.
“This year I am hoping that Muzaic will further establish itself as a calibre event for the local populace, by locals, and that it will continue to build and grow in popularity and scope,” Notch says.
Boat cruises with live entertainment by local DJs are tentatively scheduled for Monday, the Constitution Day holiday. Cruises are weather dependant, so tune in to Vibe FM for updates.
Friday, 1 July
Live Band Showcase at Calico Jack’s. Gates open at 5pm.
Some of the bands: Lammie, BackBeat, Blu Water, Regeneration, Red, White & Blues, Bona Fide, Roots Connection and Undiscovered
Saturday, 2 July
Young Musicians Showcase at the Harquail Theatre, 2-5pm.
Entrance is free for under 17s.
Alanna Rose, Andrel, Jaide Powell, Chantelle Martin, Maddy Bowyer, Francella Martin, Melanie Ebanks, Charlee Walton, Beneil Miller, Eden Bowyer, Marissa Powell, Melanie Allenger, Zoe Robinson, Joshua Mitchell, Church of God Chapel Youth Choir, After Skool Band, Musicians.ky, Dru Alexander Bodden, Undiscovered, Joseph “Lil J” Seymour Jr., Beneficial Youth
DJ Showcase at Calico Jack’s. Gates open at 5pm.
Sartun, Super C, DJ Ralph, Fross, Style T, Alic, TNT, Billy Corduroy
Sunday, 3 July
Awards ceremony at Harquail Theatre, 7pm.
Cousins Sean Hennings and Shane Allenger, the duo that makes up Hi Tide, have been performing together since 1993. Citing Bob Marley, Santana and the Dave Matthews Band among their musical influences, they describe their style as Caribbean Pop.
The cousins, who are full-time musicians, are due to release their 10th album – called Hi Tide 4 – in September. Five years in the making, the album will be their fourth album of all original material.
On the subject of career highlights Sean lists, “Performing at the Jazz Festival here alongside those international acts. Also, having the Department of Tourism use some of our songs for their ad campaigns was an honour.”
Veteran performers, Hi Tide play every Wednesday at the Reef Resort and every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Deckers. They are hoping for a good turnout for Muzaic this year. “I think more people should come, especially as there are so many young performers this year,” says Sean.
For more information, visit www.hitidemusic.com
Bona Fide began life in 2008 with Rennard (drums) and Isadora (lead vocals and keyboard/guitar) playing as a duo. Then Rennard’s son, Yannick, joined them with his saxophone to make a trio. Edward and Mark then joined, followed by Glen and Fred alternating as guitarist, plus Adrian on sound for bigger gigs. They are now a full six – sometimes seven – piece band.
Each brings to the table particular skills and interests, giving rise to a musical style they describe as “eclectic rainbow – everything from jazz, funk, disco and soul through to Caribbean (reggae, calypso and soca). We are all so different: Rennard loves reggae, Motown and blues; Yannick enjoys R’nB, jazz and rap the most; Isadora likes everything except heavy metal; Edward enjoys listening to Ray Charles and is therefore influenced by blues – oh and country – (but sssh, don’t tell anybody); Mark was inspired by one of his friends to play the bass and enjoys all music that feels uplifting; Glen starts to dance when we play funk or anything with a good groove he just lights up and Fred enjoys and appreciates all genres.”
Bona Fide love to meet members of the audience at their gigs, especially the children, and say one of their favourite venues is Camana Bay for kids’ events. “The compliments, comments and criticism they give us make us smile for years to come and are better than any accolade from well-respected institutions!” they tell Weekender.
For more information, visit www.bonafidecayman.com
BackBeat members Blake, Astor, Chuckland and Kelvin are all self-taught musicians and each has well over 20 years experience in the music industry.
“My first professional and international experience was with Dave Martins Band, The Trade Winds 1980,” says Blake Hurlston. “In the ‘80s Chuck had another band that recorded and travelled overseas to different parts of the USA to perform. That band’s name was Blue Steel. Astor has played with just about every musician on the island and continues to do just that. In recent years Astor has been influenced by Cuban style music and practices a lot in his spare time. Kelvin has spent most of his time with a small Midi group called Wild Nites.”
Playing a mix of ‘70s and ‘80s classic rock, pop and Caribbean music, they say their repertoire represents Caymanian culture. Taking the first letter of each member’s name (B,A,C,K) they came up with the band’s name. “The name BackBeat because we’re bringing back the beat. Playing covers that made music,” they tell Weekender.
For more information, check Blake Hurlston on Facebook.
Tickets can be purchased at caymanboxoffice.com, J&M Electronics, Jacques Scott and Funky Tangs.
$10 individual tickets
$25 prepaid package (three nights, four events)