Mon | Dec 5, 2016

Strong close to Soul Sessions' first season

Published:Monday | April 20, 2015 | 4:31 AMMarcia Rowe

For the past two months the series Soul Sessions: The Heart of Art added a new dimension to live music presentations at Redbones Blues Cafe, New Kingston. On Saturday the combination of concert and on-stage conversation with persons involved in the music industry ended with a vision of hope.

The two featured acts, Vanessa Lee and A-Game who are on the verge of graduating from the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts (EMCVPA), showed positivity and maturity in their lyrics and delivery.

The event started late, but once underway it was clear that the Soul Sessions season one finale would not be a run-of-the-mill event. There was no opening speech; instead, Stephanie Wallace got things going with a fine rendition of Whitney Huston' If I Don’t Have You. She followed up with an equally good delivery of Roberta Flack’s Killing Me Softly before welcoming the audience.

After being invited to the stage Vanessa Lee told the small audience “I am going to take you through a journey of peace and love", then performing Boomshela.

The reason for having tables, chairs and a couch on the stage soon became apparent. The Bajan artiste, who will complete her studies at the end of this week, was invited to sit at the table and was interviewed by Wallace. Among the topics covered were Lee’s 'bongo love' world view, writing, inspiration and love.

Lee was witty at times and always philosophical. Asked about love, she started her response with “love is the wings of the heart, love has a rhythm”. There was applause when she said “Jamaica is very central to the arts in general and if you want to flourish in the arts then Jamaica is where you have to be.”

At points Lee, who intends to heal with her music, did more original songs. There is a music video for Tween on YouTube; the blues sounding Earth and Sun asked “what has the earth done to deserve the sun?”; Knowledge is a subtle celebration of the ganja tree where Lee “gets her knowledge” and her final song was Betray.

Lee told The Gleaner that she did an Associate Degree in Drama in Barbados, before coming to the EMCVPA to read for a BA in the same field. After two years she switched to music. “My passion was always really just music. Before, I never did music because I believed that the theory would interfere with the soul of the music, but then I come to realise that it wouldn’t,” she said,

She has been doing music from a young age, but began professionally at 16 years old with the Barbadian reggae band Fully Loaded. She has performed across Barbados and in Jamaica has opened for Fab 5 and performed at Redbones. Lee intends to stay in Jamaica as she pushes her career.

A-Game has had some international experience performing with Di Bluprint Band, which has been renamed Road Life Band. A-Game, who is presently working on an album, was supported by Road Life on Saturday night.

He introduced himself in prose and musically as a “hustler with a cause”. He responded to questions similar to those asked of Lee, who had made her way to the couch on stage.

Asked what inspires his writing, the son of St. Ann said “I think what I speak” and the songs figuratively write themselves. On the matter of love, A-Game said love is his religion and that it is very important to him. In addition to his opening song the audience was treated to more quality material, including the uptempo reggae Working All Day.

A-Game closed the show and Soul Sessions' first season with No Time Fi Bad Min. Soul Sessions: The Heart of Art will return to Redbones for season two in June.