Lovers of Caribbean music were given a chance to see some of the region’s top artistes perform in a three-hour-long online concert on Friday night.
Dubbed One Yard, the show, put on by the ANSA McAL Group of Companies and produced by Ultimate Events, took viewers across the region in an evening of soca, chutney, reggae and dancehall.
It was an excellent production that had a big purpose.
Due to COVID-19, around seven million learners and over 90,000 teachers across 23 regional countries have been affected and are now grappling with a new reality of distance learning.
The change for students attending school virtually has been a challenge across the Caribbean and the concert was a call for all viewing it to do they can do to prevent a learning crisis.
The aim was for people across the region to contribute toward the purchase of online devices for those students in need.
It was also a needed mood-lifter. With cultural events shut down since early April, many of us had forgotten what it was like to enjoy a good show and with the likelihood 2021 will pass without a Carnival, the wait may be much longer.
The organisers, therefore, had one shot, one yard, to present what a good alternative is and they certainly hit the bullseye with this one.
From the moment Guyana’s chutney artiste Romeo Mystic began his performance in front of the ‘I love Guyana’ sign in Georgetown, it was clear this was going to be an event to watch.
The camera work, audio clarity, lighting, stage designs and props that followed with the likes of T&T’s Ravi B, Voice and Freetown Collective, Guyana’s Timeka Marshall and Barbados’ Lil Natty & Thunda and King Bubba FM, gave viewers the feeling of being right there.
As far as Jamaica goes, having the likes of veteran dancehall star Beenie Man, the high-flying Shenseea and in-demand conscious reggae singer Chronixx were more than most could ask for in any one show.
T&T’s Kees Dieffenthaller showed once again why he remains one of the region’s top artistes, as he and his band put on a top-class half-hour performance at the corner of Queen and Abercromby Streets in Port-of-Spain.
While the show was an initiative to raise funds for the needy, it also presented a template for high-standard concerts in the upcoming Carnival season and is now one which promoters and artistes will do well to review.
We know that online shows cannot replace the real ones, particularly where revenue is concerned, but reproducing the standard seen on Friday can certainly benefit those looking for creative ways to earn some sort of revenue over the season.
In this regard, the producers of the One Yard concert deserve our plaudits for the excellence they gave us, offering a chance to help children of the region, while at the same time presenting a way forward for regional artistes.