By Chaos, Freelance Writer
AS HARD as it may be to imagine, Della Manley seems to get better everytime she sings - which in some ways is a scary prospect, considering how good she is now.
Della Manley put in a cameo at the Village Café, Liguanea, St. Andrew last Tuesday night and was, to put none to fine a point on it, thrilling. Dressed simply in black, she joined the house band Ting Deh, which on the night consisted of Wayne McGregor on guitar, Mark Stephenson on violin, Richard 'Sven' Patterson on keyboards, Omar Francis also on guitar, Dale Brown on bass and Cliff Bonds on drums.
They started off with Sting's Fragile, McGregor's voice providing a sweet counterpoint to Manley's slightly husky yet beautiful voice. Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time followed, the dimunitive Manley almost dwarfed by the electric guitar relinquished to her by Francis as she let her voice soar.
Most patrons could only stand, look and listen in awe as she sang, pulling those who wanted to take a new journey into her own little, wonderful world.
Things would only get better as Manley moved into the ethereal strains of Peter Pan. Manley would have made a perfect Tinkerbell, one Pan would never have been able to tear himself away from over shimmering guitar chords.
"This is the first time these band members have heard this one, so give it up for them," Manley asked the crowd and most obeyed. For the record, it was practically impossible to tell that that was the case.
She closed a short but excellent set with Ashes On The Windowsill, an encore performance and the only one requested by a tough crowd on the night.
Earlier McGregor had gone hillbilly blues with Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode, skilfully and playfully combining and duelling on the guitar with Francis. before a Bermudan, Mishka, with tam not so firmly in place, sang a Rastafarian set, patois and all. At the end of it, MC Shaggy was prompted to ask if Bob Marley had dropped by Bermuda, "...cause yuh sound like the missing child."
The 9th Era put in a short set which showed they need a lot more practice and after Manley's performance, Ting Deh launched into an extended version of Julie Andrews' My Favourite Things before Leftside of the duo Leftside and Esco popped up out of nowhere to sing Tevin Campbell's Shhh (Break It Down), before he was joined by his partner in crime, Esco. The two then did some raunchy samples from their upcoming album before Esco once again departed, leaving Leftside to embark on a hilarious stand-up comedy routine.
Bostonian Wayne Marshall, who looked nothing like a rapper, also delivered some witty, fast-paced rhymes freestyle before rapping about what it meant to be an American in a scathing social commentary, delivered with skill.