|Jazz in the South and Labowi Promotions
What began as a small community organisation has now become one of the main actors in the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival. Labowi Promotions was established twelve years ago by a small group of people from the southern village of Laborie. The group’s main objective is to promote genuine community development through arts and culture, by bringing quality cultural performances to the south of Saint Lucia and by improving the skills and visibility of local artists and performers. Ultimately, their goal is to enhance social togetherness and harmony through cultural events and expression. Since its creation, this group has organised more than 200 events and activities, in music, education, dance, drama and visual arts.
Jazz has always been an interest of Labowi Promotions. For a period of two years, between 1993 and 1994, regular “Jazz at the Village” sessions were organised at the local cinema, which brought to this small village all the great names in Saint Lucian contemporary music, including Ronald Boo Hinkson, Luther Francois, Emerson Nurse, Third Eye, Richard Payne, Ricardo Francois and Rameau Poleon. This experience gave the group some of its early credentials in organising and producing jazz events.
The group has also established an annual community festival called LabFest, as an effort to develop cultural and artistic activities in Laborie and surrounding communities, and to contribute more fully to national initiatives in the field of cultural development. This Festival is now being held each year over a period of one month, beginning in late November with St. Cecilia, the Feast of Musicians, and ending shortly before Christmas. This Festival is quickly becoming one of the key dates on Saint Lucia’s cultural calendar.
Other regular activities of Labowi Promotions include the commemoration of Nobel Laureate Week in January each year, as well as the celebration of Emancipation in August. In between these scheduled events, Labowi Promotions hosts, organises and sponsors a number of events and cultural activities in and around the community of Laborie.
In the middle of this calendar of activities, Jazz in the South remains the group’s main annual event, an activity that it undertakes in close collaboration with and with the support of the Saint Lucia Tourist Board. Jazz in the South began in a small way in 1997, with one free concert on the Laborie Market Square, a historic concert that featured Robbie Greenidge, Andy Narell and Gregory ‘Shining’ Emmanuel. This is how Jazz in the South was born, and since then it has grown to become an event to look forward to, an event that now includes three free concerts, in the communities of Laborie, Soufriere and Vieux Fort, plus one major paying concert at Balenbouche Estate in Choiseul.
In the eight years of its existence, since that first concert at the Laborie Market Square in May 1997, Jazz in the South has attracted to Saint Lucia some of the greatest names in Caribbean music, including Grammy nominee Orlando ‘Maraca’ Valle from Cuba, Strings and RAM from Haiti, Malavoi, Xtrem’ Jam, Saël and Friends, Paco Charlery, Mario Canonge and Kali from Martinique, Luther Francois, Emerson Nurse, Monty Maxwell, Ronald Boo Hinkson, Bluemangó and Carl Gustave from Saint Lucia, Chris Combette and Eric Bonheur from Guyane, Exile One and Michele Henderson from Dominica, Van Lévé from Guadeloupe, Andre Tanker and Panazz from Trinidad, as well as Arturo Tappin, James Lovell and Adrian Clarke from Barbados.
This year, Jazz in the South will offer to its public another diverse line-up of Caribbean artists, including Nachito Herrera and Puro Cubano from Cuba, Bwakoré and Djo Dézormo from Martinique, Neil Franklyn, Matrix, Ives Simeon and Barbara Cadet from Saint Lucia, and Speed from Haiti. The Festival’s main event, scheduled for Sunday 9 May at Balenbouche Estate, will bring to that stage a unique blend of Jazz and Caribbean World Music, with Annexus, the Saint Lucia School of Music Jazz Ensemble, INTRIN-X-ICO featuring Christian Howes, the Sean Thomas ‘bop-so’ Quintet featuring Clive ‘Zanda’ Alexander and Michael Boothman, and the legendary band GRAMACKS from Dominica.
Jazz in the South has become a full-fledged component of the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival. Labowi Promotions looks forward to Jazz in the South becoming one of the premier Festivals of Caribbean Jazz and World Music.
Click here to visit the Official Labowie Promotions Web Site: http://www.labowipromotions.org
©2008 St. Lucia Tourist Board