C-Sharp officially a showband - Popular outfit no longer doing support duties

Published: Wednesday | April 15, 2009

Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer

The members of C-Sharp band are (seated) Aeion Hoilett (left) and Lamont 'Monty' Savory. Standing are Dwain 'Wiya' Campbell-Fletcher (left), Randevon Patrick (centre) and Chevaughn Clayton. - Contributed

In February last year, C-Sharp band's bass player, vocalist and bandleader Aeion Hoilett told The Gleaner that "these days we can pick and choose who we back. Most times, we are getting shows as featured artistes. In a few months from now, we will step away from backing permanently".

The 'few months' have now passed and C-Sharp has quit doing backing-band duties completely. In fact, after coming together at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in 2000, adding lead singer/percussionist Chevaughn Clayton in 2003 (instrumental gigs came before) and releasing their debut album What A Day in January 2006, Hoilett said "we have never considered ourselves a backing band".

"Most of the time, to get a slot on a show, you have to play for another artiste. Most times, they say they can't facilitate a band change," he explained.

Also in C-Sharp are Dwain Campbell (keyboards/vocals), Lamont Savory (guitar/DJ) and Randy Patrick (drummer/vocals).

Love and respect

Now as a showband, Hoilett said "we are getting some love and respect from the promoters. We did Rebel Salute and we did not have to back anybody. You find that people are booking us and when we tell them we are not into the backing-band thing, they say that's OK".

With What's the Matter With the World popular in Kenya, C-Sharp has two dates on the African continent in the summer and Hoilett said they have popular songs in the Caribbean as well.

The band's second album is "80 per cent" complete, with Nurse the next single to be released on the as-yet-untitled project ("Is five of we," Hoilett said, laughing.) No More, Don't Come Searching and What's the Matter With the World are also slated for C-Sharp's sophomore set. There is also Somewhere, which presents Jamaica as a paradise, and Family Man, written by Micheal Sean Harris, which is a fusion of reggae and rock.

In addition to the 16 or 18 tracks they have recorded towards the full-length project so far, there are also songs that are being done with saxophonist Dean Fraser as co-producer.

The roster of performers C-Sharp has supported is impressive, Rita Marley, Damian 'Jr Gong' Marley and Chakademus and Pliers on the list. Reflecting, Hoilett said "we had some great moments and we had down moments. Some of the best times we have had were working with Queen Ifrica and Tony Rebel. They were the first people to take us on the road. It does not feel like work. They give us respect. With Rita Marley it's the same vibe".

On the other hand, though, "you have some sad moments. You get one rehearsal and 25 artistes and it does not go well. You feel down," Hoilett said.

Still, he concluded that "overall it has been a great experience".

Looking ahead, Hoilett said he sees C-Sharp in the position to "snatch a Grammy" in five years and he also sees the band breaking into reggae's "final frontier", China and India, and C-Sharp becoming "real ambassadors for our culture".