A power-packed concert by powerful women and men
The 17th annual Powerful Women and Men Perform for Charity Concert, which was staged at the National Indoor Sports Centre on Sunday, left the large audience satisfied. There were smiles on many faces as it ended and the comments on the show made by the patrons as they filed out were generally favourable.
They had a lot to talk about. The concert, which ran a bit over three hours, inclusive of a 20- minute intermission, comprised more than two dozen performances and a fashion show.
A handful of the performers were professionals who get paid for their work, but the great majority were, as the name of the concert suggests, women and men who were powerful in professions other than the performing arts - for example, in politics, law, business, education and medicine. But a visitor to the island would be hard pressed to single out the professional artistes from the amateurs.
The visitor would probably conclude that Jamaicans are natural performers - which may well be true, and would account for the fact that the island is known internationally as a cultural powerhouse. That is no doubt why the Japanese dancehall artiste known as Rankin Pumpkin came to Jamaica and was able to become so popular that she got included in the concert.
Hers was one of the most anticipated acts, and she acquitted herself well, entertaining not only with her almost unintelligible dancehall lyrics with a Japanese accent but with her prancing about in a colourful costume. Arguably, though, she was outperformed by her partner, attorney-at-law Ian Wilkinson, Q.C.,whose outlandish costume included a fur coat and whose guttural voice was reminiscent of Buju Banton's. The act ended with Rankin chasing Wilkinson offstage with a long sword.
Other vocalists who performed outside of their professions were Natalie Neita Headley, a politician, who sang a well-received Natural Woman; about eight members the family of politician Pearnel Charles, Jr. (singing Our Father who Art in Zion), and later many more, including his father; businessman Christopher 'Papa CD of Ready TV' Dehring; hotelier Donahue Jarrett (who was accompanied by Patra, a retired professional, who sang Bumper Baby); and a singing ensemble of police men and women collectively called Operation 150. The trained or professional singers included Carole Reid, Kodi-Ann Brown, Lt. Comm. John McFarlane and King Sound.
Variety on show
One reason the concert was so entertaining was that it contained a variety of acts. In addition to the vocalists, there were dancers - like politician Dr Fenton Ferguson who, with a crinoline-skirted Blossom Pickersgill, danced rock and roll very well; Victoria Mutual Wealth Management CEO Devon Barnett; and businesswoman-journalist Patria Kaye Aarons.
There were also performers of the spoken word - like public relations practitioner Jean Lowrie-Chin, who recited two of her poems; Nadean Rawlins and Lloyd B. Smith, who acted out a skit about Face Book; Dr Michael Abrahams, who dramatised one of his protest poems, Break The Silence; and journalist Barbara Blake Hanna, who spoke of a dream conversation she had with Bob Marley about societal problems.
Some performers played musical instruments. Prof. Celia Christie Samuels showed off her prowess on the clarinet with Sly Mongoose, and Dr Winston De La Haye played drums with the professional Bongo Herman.
There were also treats for the eyes. Nearly 20 powerful men and women (some of those mentioned above) became models for the evening and paraded around the stage in beautifully tailored outfits designed by Heather Laine & Spokes Apparel.
The Mustard Seed Communities benefit from the annual concerts. Sunday's show was wittily emceed by Dr Aggrey Irons. Its creative director was Weston Haughton and musical director Ewan Simpson.