Bassy - Love Vine
December 23, 2009

Starlift and Friends made my Christmas

First to begin wid, ah got to big up Mrs Clarke, GHS Music Teacher and her team and students foh ah lovely Christmas Concert, it uses to be “Nine Lessons of Christmas “ it’s now “Wonder of Christmas”, indeed it was Wonder-full. But GHS Show got to give way to de show of all shows: “Celebrate with Starlift and Friends”.{{more}} Everybody was dey, Lady Dacon, US Ambassador Betty Boyea-King, former resident German Ambassador Mrs Balcombe Maestro Pat Prescod and Lie-Za! Ah packed ninety-minute program dat started on time and flowed flawlessly, very uncharacteristic wid shows in SVG. We got ah bit ah fresh “Air on ah G String” by Composer Sebastian Bach, ah believe dat even Basch would ah been proud to see what today’s “G String “ looks like. We listened de Calypso version to ah “Waltz in E Flat”, and ah went boating ‘On de Blue Danube”; some of us older folks were reminded what happened “Yesterday” wid de Beatles. Den were paddled back home to “Feel so Good” while it “Rain in Africa” as Starlift took us “Breezing “ thru de “Summer-time”. Although it’s December, Reajahn Baptiste, ah young Virtuoso on de tenor Pan brought “Autumn Leaves” in ah “White Christmas”. Canadian based Ricky Bowman, ah veteran in de business was sweet and loud enough foh us to hear his “Careless Whispers” accompanied by Starlift Ensemble.

So we had from Classics to Kaiso, we got de “Blues” when Syl Mc Intosh, Reajahn and Sachi Yamada ah Chinese pianist/music teacher “Jazz’ it up foh us. Ah done say wha’ ah ha’ fo’ say bout Syl, and dat is, all yo could keep all yo Kenny G but give me Syl, he’s my home made bread. Incidentally apart from Sachi, the cast of “ Friday Night ah Stars” was (100 %) Vincy starting wid Canadian based Conductor/ Director Vernon Coombs, ah graduate of the world famous Juilliard School of Music. Ah give him ah nine out ah ten, ah find he getting stiff, well not erect, ah’ll get him some ah dah ole Barrouallie Black Fish he grew up pon, or ah could get Jeanne Horne, Kingstown Chorale’s Conductor/ Director to show him how to move to de Beat and de Rhythm, so dat he could get ah full ten out ah ten. But Coombsie did ah One-dah-full job, especially wid de Starlift Youths who earned dem-selves ah standing ovation. Kingsley “Hero” Roberts did well too wid his slot as Arranger/Conductor.

Back to de program, de Production took us Carolling on ah “Silent Night” when “Unto us a child was born” and when “de Herald Angels Sing”. Our local lads were not excluded and ah want someone to tell De Man Age dat Kingstown Chorale did ah lovely rendition ah his ballard “Christmas Time”, also Becket, he would ah love to hear Cantemus’ treatment of his “Calypso Noel”. And Gideon James, one ah dis country’s best male vocalist brought back special memories when he filled in foh de late Dan Simon to wish us all ‘Ah Merry Christmas’.

Ah going to get me-self into hot water right now “ Cantemus sounded sweeter dan Chorale on Friday Night”. Ah know dem girls in Chorale go cuss me foh dat. And de Police Brass didn’t sound as sweet (tonal quality) as dey sounded foh Carnival.

Throughout de program, one could feel de depth of de talent in dis Musical Establishment, there was seven-year ole Saed Bowman playing Tenor, Sardo in his late sixties, still holding on, Garth, Killy, Nigel and de gang, no longer playing but still providing de internal strength to keep de Organization at the top. Starlift is ah Cultural Institution that needs to be recognized in ah tangible way, and ah will say de same foh Kingstown Chorale. Forty and fifty years performing year after year, and we not talking but “Pyar Pyar” performances, Stellar Performances, is no mean task. Name me another Steel Band in de Caribbean dat has won panorama twenty-eight times?

And so we thank Starlift and Friends foh making Vincy Christmas 2009 extra special. After Friday night’s performance, whenever Christmas comes around, those of us who attended will always remember… Starlift.


Ah was telling Bank Manager, Earl Crichton mek no cents yuh tell ah Vincy to spend wisely foh Christmas, it is simple Vincy Culture to go all out foh Christmas. It’s traditional, nothing change, whereas long ago we uses to varnish de ole morris chairs and wagonette, now-ah-days we paying down $5. 00 and tek out ah whole new living-room set, new fridge and stove, never mind dey teking dem back in March. Long ago was new curtains today is drapes. Ah Vincy must have ham and whiskey foh when ah fren visits, even though nobody visits anymore. We keeping up ah ole tradition wid ah new one; Factory drinks have replaced de good ole Sorrel, Ginger beer and Gonsalves Black Wine. We will strain de purse to buy ah bottle ah expensive whiskey or brandy foh when de boss-man pass by. Bake ham and chicken knock out dove pork, stew mutton or beef, some people uses to cook one pot wid mutton, pork and beef. wy de Souse on Christmas Eve gone; Black cake is now ah must, no more fruit cake and plain cake foh daddy who ain’t love fruits. Home made bread was every Sat-dey now is once ah year and dat’s Christmas, even though we forget how to light de oven. Long ago if you give de wife ah Blouse, she proudly shows it to she fren dem, today she will tell you: “dis Christmas, don’t buy me no gift eh, ah have everyting” Don’t tek her seriously, dat is another way ah reminding yuh dat she see something expensive and yuh better check her best friend to know wha dat is, or else, mek up yuh bed in de dog house.

And wid de way yuh see de Comrad can’t pay no Bone-us, I gone back to de days when we uses to hang up Granny stockings foh when Santa pass-by, dis year ah hanging up ah flour bag foh Santa, and if by chance ah not sleeping when he come, Sorry foh all yo, he getting stick up, ah robbing Santa! And wid dat is gone ah gone again. Merry Christmas.

One Love Bassy.

l Bassy Alexander is

a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.