What a whirlwind! The Tobago Jazz Experience has celebrated "its biggest festival" to date, according to Tobago's Tourism Board's Events Coordinator John Arnold.
Taking place the last week in April for the last five years and set on a backdrop of expansive palm trees and breathtaking blue waters, the Tobago Jazz Experience is an event that everyone should be a part of at least once in their lifetime.
The week culminated with a weekend of astounding performances. Friday night, World Music Night, started off with local sounds from Dil E Nadan who performed Celebration among other Soca sounds as the band kept the audience on their feet. The night moved on to showcase the sultry Grammy winning pop artist, Brandy, who graced the stage with a memorable black and white sequined shorts outfit -- showing off her super fit body and high energy, alongside her two dancers.
The tempo was slowed a bit with an unforgettable seductive performance by nine-time Grammy winner, John Legend. As he stepped on stage with a crisp white metallic blazer and tuxedo pants and chin held high, his presence was undeniable. He then took his rightful place in front of the piano and began to sooth the audience with a set of melodic songs from each of his five albums. A lovely surprise during his time on stage was his hypnotic rendition of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On." Legend played hit after hit and towards the end of his show brought almost 10,000 guests, comprised of Trinidadians, Tobagonians and international tourists, to their feet with his number one hit, All of Me.
On Saturday, attendees enjoyed Youthtopia, a compilation of young artists playing, Jazz, smooth R & B and Soca, including pieces from New York Jazz artist R'Kardo and America's sweetheart, Tessanne Chin, the winner of the Voice and rising local artist Olatunji, among others. Beyond the body rocking music -- local artisans, chefs and sponsors -- including BMobile, Heineken and Caribbean Airlines, provided other activities to keep the attendees busy throughout the evening. My favorite dish sampled at the festival was "Doubles" -- a light and fluffy pastry-like tortilla filled with sweet curried chickpeas. However, the artisan, designer that grabbed everyone's attention was Trinidad and Tobago's Ted Arthur, who displayed magnificent hand carved and molded leather shoes, bags and accessories in bold colorful tones of blues, oranges, reds and greens.
Sunday was Beach Jazz Fiesta and proved to be a special night indeed with smooth Jazz by Tony Paul and R & B from Chrycee and the Soleil Band, Geneieve, multi-platinum singer -- songwriter Keyshia Cole and Earth, Wind and Fire.
A laid back Keyshia Cole captured the audience with her smile and authentically raw performance.
However, it was Earth, Wind and Fire that gave one of the most amazing shows of the festival. They succeeded at keeping the energy level at an all time high from the moment they stepped on stage.
The soulful group, still with three of the original members, presented an experience that will be remembered for years to come. They sang and danced choreographed routines to each and every song, from their top tens to more subtle favorites. Within each performance, the band gave the audience a solo drum, guitar or saxophone performance, leaving you completely content and filled with excitement. They were a true testament of what master entertainers are and brought the end of the weekend to an extraordinary close.
Look out for more information on the lovely island of Tobago in our upcoming summer issue.
Nova Lorraine is the founder and editor of Raine Magazine. www.rainemagazine.com