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Stephanie Mills thrills

Stephanie Mills thrills

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She is small in stature, but Stephanie Mills delivered a gigantic performance as the main act at last Saturday’s final night of the Rhythm and Blues Festival held at the Emerald Valley Casino and Resort.

Mills who turns 50 years on March 22 didn’t look a day over 30 years as she energetically sang and boogied on stage to popular hits such as “I Never Knew Love Like This Before”.{{more}}

With her hair down and wearing a blue flowing baby doll dress, Mills with her custom made rhine stonned microphone demonstrated the professional she is, by ensuring that the show went on despite the late arrival of one of her back up singers whose flight was delayed. She bellowed tune after tune, hit after hit and had the audience in a daze with her dynamic vocal ranges.

While she allowed patrons to sing short portions from her songs, it was the lucky Fitz Allen Williams of Biabou who got an invitation to dance with the Grammy Award winning songstress. Williams excitedly confessed to the Searchlight, “Oh Gosh! I don’t need nothing else in me life right now. She is like an angel come down from heaven; I can’t believe I just dance with Stephanie Mills!”

As she handed out pink long stemmed roses to the audience, Mills reflected on her career and said she is blessed to have been in the business since she was nine years old despite its up’s and down’s. She admitted that she never “dis-connected” from loving God and said that this was one of the reasons why she enjoyed such a successful career.

Also delivering a spell binding performance was the legendary Marva Wright with hits such as “Love Lifted Me” and “Change is Coming.” The legendary Blues Queen

sang with soul as she rendered what has been dubbed the National Anthem of her recently flooded hometown of New Orleans called “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

Wright touched the hearts of many when she passionately sang “I Will Survive” and encouraged particularly women to stay alive despite their hardships.

But the vibes from the Mother Land of Africa were skillfully entwined with Calypso and

soul by Ella Andall. Adorned in head wrap and African attire, Andall kicked off her shoes as the rhythms of the drums echoed on the stage and her backup singers harmoniously complemented her songs.

The Trinidadian rendered songs for women who had been raped and urged them to stand up for themselves but pleaded more for children. In her thought provoking performance, Andall called on society to save what she termed as the “missing generation.”

Commendable performances were given by Ashley Kirby and Company with their soothing pan jazz while the Honky Tonics and the Mount Gay Blues Band brought home funky blues music to the audience.

Proving that he is a versatile performer, Ragga Soca King, Bomani served up a collection of Oldie Goldie’s, ranging from Otis Redding’s “Sitting On The Dock Of the Bay” to Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.”

After showing his mature side, Bomani showed his pop side with Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature”, Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back” and Neo’s “Sexy Love.”

But he blew the audience away when he not only sang but played publicly for the very first time a musical instrument. In a blue blazer with gold trimmings and wearing an SVG flag belt buckle he played the piano and sang Elton John’s “Call It The Blues” to the amazement of everyone.

After showing that he was international material, the local boy brought it home with a new song for 2007 called “Come Closer” which had the audience screaming for more.

Overall, Blues Fest 2007 was a spectacular event held at what turned out to be a very spacious and romantic venue. The sound system was powerful, lighting excellent and acts well chosen. The Ministry of Tourism could rest assured that the hundreds that turned out had a memorable time and are now looking forward to next year.

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