By his own account, Eden Hurlston is not a limelight kind of guy.
But the spotlight is on him often enough as one of Grand Cayman’s busiest musicians and owner of Oneworld, which provides DJ, event and banquet services.
“I put my energy into playing locally,” he says. “That’s what I like doing – playing local stages, seeing the people I know.”
Eden also mentors and supports young musicians and helps them get on stage – up-and-comers like Kenroy Millwood of the band Undiscovered who has sat in on a few sets with Eden’s band, Little Magic.
Little Magic, which he started in 2002 with Craig Urchyshyn (now Oneworld partner), initially was the back-up for Caymanian singer Natasha Kozaily, and other island favourites such as vocalist Harmony Scott and violinist Kate Allenger.
Eden is now paired with Glen Scott on acoustic guitar in what’s been described as soulful fusion, with Eden on percussion.
“I play congas mostly, and hand drumming,” says Eden, whose music is infused with Latin influences. “I definitely love all Afro-Cuban styles and I learn a lot from that, from Samuel Torres, from different percussionists.
“Musically, I’m influenced by everything – Latin jazz, old rock, Hendrix, blues, Santana, the Beatles…Glen loves that as well.”
Glen, like Eden, has played or plays with a number of bands and musicians on island, including Bona Fide, Cool School and EZ Street. He’s on classical guitar now but started out on bass, learned a little percussion from Eden, and plays jazz fusion with Free to Be ensemble.
Eden got hooked on percussion as a teenager, picking up more free-style drumming when he lived in Berkeley and Oakland, California, and in Hawaii. Once back on island he was gigging with EZ Street, Zack Mack, Randy Chollette and others.
These days Little Magic is invested in a lot of charity events. It started with their appearance during the country’s first Human Rights Day observance last December at Camana Bay.
They like the fact that locals can attend an event and talk with representatives of a charity face-to-face and they can play their music in more casual surroundings.
“We’re all about bringing awareness,” says Glen.
Cayman’s music scene
When it comes to the music scene here, both Eden and Glen say the best aspect is the diversity of the community.
“There are so many contemporary Caymanian musicians playing lots of different kinds of music,” says Eden.
“It opens you up to play everything, that’s what I really love Cayman for,” says Glen. “There are a lot of trail-blazing Caymanian musicians here…”
What about the challenges?
That’s an easy one, they joke: Rain in summer.
It’s not clear there are many challenges, in fact.
“Every time you get on stage, it’s the best job that you have,” says Eden.
“You can’t beat it,” says Glen. “There’s enthusiasm and energy, the amount of people there are to play with and all these different styles…”
Eden adds, “There’s definitely been an evolution [on island], like a surge of new musical energy. I see amazing young kids, 14 and 15 years old, great talent, a real bubbling-up scene here.
“We can establish positive energy,” he says.
“And nurture it,” Glen adds.
And that’s more than a little magic.