About Soleil Saint Lucia Summer Festival

In 2017, Saint Lucia launched an ambitious initiative – a Summer of Festivals – aimed at bringing tangible and lasting economic, social and cultural benefits to the country and its people. Building on Saint Lucia’s outstanding artistic talent and rich cultural heritage and on its experience in designing and hosting unique events and celebrations such as the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival, Carnival or Jounen Kwéyòl, this new initiative will increase the benefits that Festivals and similar events bring to Saint Lucian communities and to society as a whole, while optimising the impact of public expenditure and improving efficiency.

This new Season of Festivals will:

  • stimulate economic development by increasing tourism arrivals over a longer period of time (May to October), by creating more opportunities for local artists and businesses, and by enhancing the overall visibility of Saint Lucia as a unique tourism destination;
  • contribute to cultural and artistic development by promoting and nurturing local talent, facilitating the growth of Saint Lucian and Caribbean artists, and providing quality and uplifting cultural and artistic experiences;
  • build national pride and enhance social cohesion by providing moments and spaces where Saint Lucians can celebrate, and share with others, their unique culture and talents;
  • adhere to and promote high production, environmental and safety standards.

Biography of Performers

Biography – Alfredo Rodriguez

Alfredo Rodriguez is an internationally acclaimed Cuban jazz pianist who, due to his formal training, is as proficient at playing classical music as he is his chosen genre.

Rodriguez was born in Havana in 1985 and named for his father, a popular singer, television host, and entertainer. He began his musical studies on percussion at the age of seven and training on the piano at age 10. He was enrolled in the Manuel Saumell Conservatory, and later at the Amadeo Roldan Music Conservatory. He won classical competitions in both schools.

Biography – ARNAUD DOULMEN

Arnaud Dolmen is an eclectic and worldwide drummer.  Airy, dynamic, swiftness, fineness could describe Arnaud…a result of his numerous world influences.

On international stages and in studios, he works with Jacques Schwarz-Bart, Mario Canonge, Baptiste Trotignon, David Linx, Olivier Ker Ourio, Bojan Z, Laurent de Wilde, Alain Jean-Marie, Donald Brown, Annick Tangorra, Lisa Simone, Jonathan Jurion, Jasser Haj Youssef, Yuri Buenaventura, Fayçal Salhi, Naïssam Jalal, Charlotte Wassy, Grand Baton, Hervé Samb, Calypso Rose, Munir Hossn, Franck Nicolas, Grégory Privat, Sonny Troupé, Jerry Léonide, and Etienne Charles. He also performs and evolves Gwoka and West Indian music with Tanya Saint-Val, Zagalo, Dédé Saint-Prix, René Geoffroy, Christian Laviso, Kimbòl, Mizikopéyi, Jacob Desvarieux, Admiral T, Soft, Dominique Coco, Jean-Philippe Marthély, Jean-Louis Mérault and the band Zawag, Ralph Thamar, the band Kann’, and Sanouyé. 

Biography – Avery Sunshine

Some people have a calling that is undeniable and Avery*Sunshine is no exception. Yet the former church pianist/musical director, who scored a #1 Billboard chart hit, was at once a reluctant warrior. “I had no idea that my work in the church would prepare me to do what I do.” Bringing people together through her riveting stage performances, candid and often humorous stage banter and optimistic anthems about love and life is what Avery*Sunshine does best. In fact she does it so well, that she has garnered praise from iconic musical figures like The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, who raves, “I love Avery*Sunshine!” The Atlanta based singer’s no holds barred signature soul/R&B sound has also made believers of such luminaries as Patti LaBelle, Berry Gordy and Boy George who proclaimed on twitter “@averysunshine love this woman’s voice”.

Biography – Barbara Cadet

Accomplished musician, vocalist, arranger and composer, Barbara Cadet is also a musical director and producer. She is the co-founder/arranger of the 40-piece Allegro Steelpan – all female band – which performed and competed, professionally and successfully, in Saint Lucia’s National Panorama competitions and other main stage events.

Barbara was also the Producer and musical arranger of the group, Sisterhood, which consisted of 9 female vocalists that performed during Saint Lucia Jazz and a number of other events around the Caribbean.

Biography – Cameron Pierre

Born in London, Cameron was raised on the Caribbean island of Dominica. At sixteen, he taught himself to play the guitar, and it was within the reggae genre that he first established himself working with Jamaican artists.  Then came the slow discovery of George Benson and Charlie Christian, and through them, Wes Montgomery, Miles Davis and Charlie Parker.  Since then Cameron, has gone on to work with Courtney Pine, Pee Wee Ellis, Orphy Robinson, Mighty Sparrow, Ernest Ranglin, David Rudder, Andy Narell, Alex Wilson, Mario Conange, Sarah Jane Morris, Byron Wallen, Jazz Jamaica, Dennis Rollins, Ormar Puente, Junior Walker, Joe Cocker, and numerous others.

Biography – Carolyn Malachi

Carolyn Malachi, the Grammy-nominated songstress hailing from Washington, DC, is a shining example of how music truly is universal. Her vocal talents, breathtaking live performances, and songwriting acumen have served international audiences and wowed music lovers in South Africa, China, Taiwan, Papua New Guinea, Japan, Haiti, Barbados and beyond. Generating global excitement about American art and delighting local cultures are the just a few of the qualities that, according to MTV, make her “An R&B artist to obsess over.”

Biography – Denys Baptiste

Born in London of Saint Lucian parents in 1969, Denys studied music at school from the age of 13 and, in 1990, went on to study at the West London Institute (Brunel University). In 1992, he continued his music education at London’s Guildhall School of Music, studying under former Jazz Messenger, Jean Toussaint.

From the moment he joined the London jazz circuit, Denys displayed extraordinary talent, energy and commitment. Spotted by veteran Jazz Warriors double bassist, Gary Crosby at the bassist’s regular Tomorrow’s Warriors jam sessions, Denys was immediately invited to join Crosby’s new band, Nu Troop. Since then, Denys has soared in his development as a soloist and bandleader, earning enormous respect from his peers.

Biography – Etienne Mbappé

With a rich, singing tone and an unerring gift for melody, bassist Etienne Mbappé imparts even the most demanding musical contexts with a grace, warmth, and humanity that transcends boundaries, genres, and languages. His gifts have been put to use as a member of John McLaughlin’s 4th Dimension and the Ringers (with Jimmy Herring, Wayne Krantz, Michael Landau, and Gary Novak), along sideman appearances with Joe Zawinul, Manu Dibango, Robben Ford, Salif Keita, Ray Charles, Steps Ahead, and saxophonist Bill Evans.

Biography – Frantz Laurac

Frantz Laurac is a jazz pianist, composer, producer and singer from Martinique.

He began his formal study of piano with his mother, a music teacher, when he was four. Aged 19, he moved to continental France, to study musicology both at the University of Bordeaux III and at the National Regional Conservatory of Bordeaux. In 2004 he graduated in musicology and enrolled at Le Ciam, a Bordeaux-based music school specialized in Contemporary Music Education. When he arrived in Paris, Frantz Laurac met and collaborated with artists from various cultural backgrounds (from South America, Japan, Central and Western Africa, to name a few) and from diverse musical genres. He also taught the piano and gave harmony lessons to professional and amateur musicians across the city.

Biography – Jazzmeia ‘Jazz’ Horn

Winner of the 2015 Thelonius Monk International Vocal Jazz Competition and 2013 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, Jazzmeia Horn has a name that speaks for itself capturing her very essence. Hailing from the great Dallas, Texas Jazzmeia has already earned a reputation in New York as a “Rising Star.” With the ambition to pursue a solo career, Jazzmeia graced the New York scene in 2009 and earned her degree at The New School for Jazz and contemporary Music. It wasn’t much later when she began to perform as a sideman with musicians Winard Harper, Junior Mance, Billy Harper, Lincoln Center Alumni Vincent Gardner, Delfeayo Marsalis, Mike LeDonne, Peter Bernstein, Johnny O’Neal, Vincent Herring, Kirk Lightsey, Frank Wess, and Ellis Marsalis.

Biography – Lalah Hathaway

Honestly – a fitting title for the new album from artist, songwriter, producer and DJ, Lalah Hathaway. Both low-key and legendary, the gentle power of Hathaway’s irrepressible and boundary-defying voice has gone unmissed by those with their ear to the ground…

As a recipient of 5 Grammy awards since 2014 alone, including a win as Artist and Producer for 2017’s Best R&B Album Lalah Hathaway Live, Lalah’s track record speaks for itself. Her collaboration list includes Pharrell Williams and Kendrick Lamar; her Grammy wins have set new records, and her performance history has seen invitations to the stage from icons including Prince, Mary J Blige, Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock and Anita Baker. The dexterity and versatility of this virtuoso knows no ceiling.

Biography – Luther François

Luther François is a Saint Lucian musician widely known and respected as a composer/arranger, educator, and performer. His principal instruments today are the saxophone and flute but his first group experience was on the acoustic bass with the Eugene Payne Quartet, an amateur jazz group in Saint Lucia during the mid-sixties. He has performed and/or recorded with many groups and artistes in the region and was musical director of the Caribbean Jazz Workshop Group with which he produced the CD ‘Morne du Don’ and the West Indies Jazz Band (2 CDs). His last CD, ‘Castries Underground’, was recorded in Saint Lucia in 2008.

Biography – Pauline Jean

Haitian-American performing artist and humanitarian, Pauline Jean, is a captivating vocalist whose distinctive contralto and rousing melodies have caught the attention of audiences both young and old. Jean brings a refreshing sound to today’s music; creating an erudite blend of worldly jazz that draws from her Creole roots and integrates modern and traditional inflections.

Jean has been featured as a performer and bandleader at numerous prestigious festivals around the globe and has appeared in Barbados, The Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Haiti, Israel, Lebanon, Nevis Island, Russia, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the US Virgin Islands. She has also collaborated with esteemed literary artist, Edwidge Danticat, and distinguished performers Denis Matsuev, Emeline Michel, Godwin Louis, Dan Zanes and Wyclef Jean, among others. Her latest CD, NWAYO, was praised as “an amalgam of pure jazz vocalization steeped in Caribbean rhythm and soul” by All About Jazz and “extraordinary musicianship” by the World Music Report.

Biography – Ronald “Boo” Hinkson

Ronald “Boo” Hinkson’s talent transcends cultures and sounds, bringing a fresh and innovative blend of jazz and Caribbean music. A gifted composer, producer, and heralded guitarist, Boo’s unique approach and versatility enable him to deliver a distinctive signature sound.

Born in Saint Lucia and raised on a diet of Ellington, Davis, and Coltrane, Boo’s name is synonymous with Saint Lucian music. His mother – who was also an accomplished guitarist – was his first teacher. His musical career began with the Tru-Tones, a group he started in Saint Lucia, which commanded stages locally and internationally for two decades. So much so in fact, that their eclectic blends of Caribbean and pop rhythms garnered them an appearance at Superbowl XIII. Today, he is an exceptionally accomplished musician who has stayed true not only to his Jazz roots, but also to his West Indian culture. Boo couples his appreciation of the old masters with Contemporary Jazz and Soca in his music and lyrics, and as a result his popularity has continued to spread.

Biography – Zara McFarlane

Eloquent and provocative singer-songwriter, Zara McFarlane, is the UK’s Black British foremost Jazz Vocalist. With two critically acclaimed albums to her name, she inhabits an unusual musical landscape, fearlessly exploring original material & reworking well known classics from the worlds of Jazz and Jamaican music. September 2017 sees her return with her third studio album “ARISE” which traces her musical heritage of the Caribbean and explores her take on the musical possibilities of British-Jamaican identity.

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Biography – Chris Potter

A world-class soloist, accomplished composer and formidable bandleader, saxophonist Chris Potter has emerged as a leading light of his generation. Down Beat called him “One of the most studied (and copied) saxophonists on the planet” while Jazz Times identified him as “a figure of international renown.” Jazz sax elder statesman Dave Liebman called him simply, “one of the best musicians around,” a sentiment shared by the readers of Down Beat in voting him second only to tenor sax great Sonny Rollins in the magazine’s 2008 Readers Poll.

Biography – Dave Holland

Dave Holland is a bassist, composer, bandleader whose passion for musical expression of all styles, and dedication to creating consistently innovative music ensembles have propelled a professional career of more than 50 years, and earned him top honors in his field including multiple Grammy awards and the title of NEA Jazz Master in 2017.

Biography – Lionel Loueke

Lionel Loueke picked up the guitar late at age 17. After his initial to exposure to jazz in Benin, he left to attend the National Institute of Art in Ivory Coast. Praised by Herbie Hancock as “a musical painter,” Loueke combines harmonic complexity, soaring melody, a deep knowledge of African folk forms, and conventional and extended guitar techniques to create a warm and evocative sound of his own. In addition to albums with his collective trio Gilfema with Biolcati and Nemeth, Loueke has appeared on recordings by Hancock, Blanchard, Jack DeJohnette, Charlie Haden, Kenny Barron, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and Joe Lovano, as well as contemporaries including Spalding, Gretchen Parlato, Kendrick Scott and others. He has also toured the world with Hancock and is a member of Blue Note’s 75th anniversary all-star band with Glasper, Hodge, Scott, Ambrose Akinmusire and Marcus Strickland.

R+R=NOW

Reflect + Respond = Now

Biography – Christian Scott

Christian Scott, also known as Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah (born March 31, 1983, in New Orleans, Louisiana) is a two-time Edison Award winning (2010 and 2012) and Grammy Award nominated trumpeter, composer, producer and music executive.  Christian’s Grammy nominated international recording debut, Rewind That was called “arguably the most remarkable premiere the genre has seen in the last decade” by Billboard Magazine, earning Christian two prominent features on their cover and inclusion in their list of “Ones to Watch in 2006.”

 

Biography – Derrick Hodge

Derrick Hodge is a celebrated composer and bassist who is equally adept on both electric and upright instruments. While he is best known as a member of the Robert Glasper Experiment, he is an accomplished session musician who has worked extensively across jazz, cinematic, and R&B genres.

Biography – Robert Glasper

Hailing from Houston, Texas, Robert Glasper is a jazz pianist with a knack for mellow, harmonically complex compositions that also reveal a subtle hip-hop influence. Inspired to play piano by his mother, a gospel pianist and vocalist, Glasper attended Houston’s High School for the Performing Arts.

In 2009, Glasper released the forward-thinking album Double Booked, which featured a mix of modal post-bop and funky, ’80s Herbie Hancock-inspired numbers with two separate bands. The first of these was his trio with drummer Chris Dave and upright bassist Vicente Archer; they recorded five originals and a cover of Thelonious Monk’s “Think of One.” These tracks were followed by five more originals by his electric band, dubbed the Robert Glasper Experiment, featuring Dave, electric bassist Derrick Hodge, and Casey Benjamin on saxes and vocoder.

Biography – Terrace Martin

Terrace Martin is one of the architects of the distinctly funky, jazzy, and unabashedly Black sound that made Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly not only one of the best albums of 2015, but also one of its most unique. Terrace Martin, Grammy award winning musician and producer, is a modern-day visionary from the streets of Los Angeles. As an artist, producer and musician, Martin shatters the acknowledged rules of the popular sound with the creation of fresh and original compositions inspired by funk, jazz and classical music. Working closely with musical legends like Quincy Jones and Herbie Hancock, Martin is already leaving an indelible mark on the face of music and influencing current culture.

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