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.
Rodriguez began working wherever he could, eventually finding his way and forming his own trio. His first collaboration with Jones was later in 2009 where, at the latter’s request, he collaborated with him, Chinese composer Tan Dun, and songwriter Siedah Garrett to compose the English-version theme song “Better City, Better Life” for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.
The young pianist continued to wow critics and club-goers. He toured incessantly, opening for any number of jazz and popular music artists. He played not only Montreux again, but also the Playboy, Detroit, Newport, San Francisco, North Sea, Umbria, and Vienna Jazz Festivals, and in prestigious jazz clubs including Ronnie Scott’s, Yoshi’s, and The Blue Note.
In 2011, Rodriguez signed with Detroit’s jazz label Mack Avenue Records. His debut album, Sounds of Space — co-produced by the artist and Jones — was issued in 2012, winning wide critical acclaim and resulting in more touring opportunities. In the spring of 2014, Rodriguez, his trio, and notable guests issued The Invasion Parade (again co-produced with Jones), a collection of originals based on Cuban folk traditions as well as standards from his homeland.
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.
The Guadeloupean prodigy flied to Toulouse, France, in order to improve his musical background at the Dante Agostini Drums School. Freshly graduated with honors with the prestigious Jury First Prize, he began his professional path at a national and international level. During his music and accountant studies, Arnaud took the leap to the professional world. Discovered by Franck Nicolas at the age of 16 in Pointe a Pitre (Guadeloupe), Arnaud signed to his label and started his first contracts three years later. His path crossed renowned artists such as Alain Jean-Marie, Jean-Christophe Maillard, Michel Alibo and Mario Canonge. with whom he collaborated. His first performance at the prestigious Parisian venue, Le Zenith, was alongside the famous Caribbean band, SOFT, and it opened the door to many national and Caribbean tours.
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”.
Avery*Sunshine’s #1 hit single “Call My Name” from her critically heralded sophomore project THE SUNROOM, was awarded ASCAP’s Rhythm and Soul song of the year 2016 award. There have been numerous sold out shows and career milestones that have included opening for Babyface at Madison Square Garden, performing for Smokey Robinson at his Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame tribute to being invited to perform by and for the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, twice in one year. In the same year Avery was nominated for a SoulTrain award and a BET Centric Award.
While she continues to tour the world: everywhere from many countries in Europe to Asia, Africa, the UK and Australia, she and Dana never stop creating and recording. Twenty Sixty Four, Avery*Sunshine’s 3rd release, which is scheduled for release in the UK and Europe later this year, features organic soulful in-the- pocket grooves, sublime ballads, exquisite arrangements/orchestrations and exuberant life affirming tracks. The vocals shine throughout, the production is tight and the songwriting hits home.
Avery*Sunshine describes herself as a cross between Oprah Winfrey and Bette Midler. To experience her live is to understand this notion. In a genre that is inundated with singers, Avery*Sunshine has forged a way for herself by staying true to her musical vision. “My greatest wish is for our music to empower and encourage, in some way, everyone who hears it. That is why Dana and I do this”, shares the radiant singer. With the upcoming release of Twenty Sixty Four, Avery*Sunshine concludes, “I am always striving to fill the space that I was created to fill. And I pray that the small space that I occupy in this world reminds everyone to SHINE no matter what.”
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.
Alongside Courtney’s band, in 1994 Cameron formed ‘Creole’, a multi-cultural melange of musicians from Africa, Haiti, Cuba and the Caribbean, enjoying wide critical acclaim for their performances at the Glastonbury and Womad Festivals. In 1997, Cameron released the first of his five solo albums, Friday Night, to wide critical acclaim. In 2003, he also released “The Other Side of Notting Hill”, a body of work which was to help cement his reputation as a guitarist/composer par excellence.
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.”
In 2015, Carolyn Malachi received an honorary doctorate from Shepherd University and delivered the institution’s commencement address. She then expanded her influence into the fashion world, collaborating with Lafayette 148 NY on their Spring 15′ ‘Women We Love’ campaign.
In 2016, Carolyn Malachi kicked off two successful tour collaborations: A Black History Month college tour with Amtrak as well as a Jazz education and exchange tour in Haiti. In addition, she received the Project Amplifi Artist Leadership Award and released a new album RISE: Story 1, an album inspired by the journey from working full time to life as a full-time artist who creates joyful experiences through music. Songs “Blowing Smoke”, “Where I Come From” and “Primary Color” are currently playing on satellite and terrestrial radio in the United States, Japan, South Korea, Italy and the U.K.
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.
A much sought-after soloist, Denys has played/recorded with some of the biggest names in jazz and other genres including McCoy Tyner, Andrew Hill, Ernest Ranglin, Bheki Mseleku, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, Michael Bowie, Courtney Pine, Manu Dibango, Gary Crosby, Steve Williamson, Julian Joseph, Jason Rebello, Martin Taylor, Lonnie Plaxico, Ralph Moore, Billy Higgins, Jerry Dammers, Sean Oliver, Jean Carne, Marlena Shaw, Noel McCoy, Juliet Roberts, Incognito, Jazz Jamaica, and others of distinction.
Denys is an amazingly versatile musician and, although his roots are steeped in the jazz tradition, he incorporates ideas from other musical forms and popular culture, producing a repertoire which is contemporary, multi-layered and highly accessible. He is also an enormously talented composer/arranger, whose brilliant compositions have already earned him immense critical acclaim.
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.
After playing on many Parisian stages as a respected sideman, Frantz Laurac was invited to various festivals such as “Jazz sous Les Pommiers” and “Festival de Fort- de-France” where he performed−featuring talented Malika Tirolien−in the first part of Arturo Sandoval’s concert. In 2011, Biguine Jazz festival gave him the opportunity to present his work in Martinique for the first time and he had the pleasure to be accompanied by renowned bassist Michel Alibo.
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.
‘I really want to create a pattern interruption for the fans. If you listen to the song ‘Honestly’ it tells you about the end of a dream. It’s a love song about love lost. When people see the video, I want them to consider ‘Honestly’ as a commentary on this moment, the nightmare that is this time and space we are living in.’
A committed advocate of quality music, musicianship and the artist’s ‘job’ (as Lalah describes) to tell the truth, Lalah’s creative alignment with her ‘tribe’ that includes the likes of Robert Glasper, The Internet, Hiatus Kaiyote, Terrace Martin, KING, Thundercat, and Kamasi Washington, among others, is indicative of a new movement in music – one she and fellow collaborators have coined as #realmusicrebels. This new wave of musicians has a shared mission: to make real music, to continue pushing the needle forward and to illuminate the truths of our time.
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.
Stanley Jordan describes Boo “as a genuinely gifted and accomplished musician”. George Benson praises his technical prowess and improvisation. Ronnie Laws has described his playing as “extremely soulful and intense”. Frequently compared to Kenny Burrel for not only his natural touch on the guitar but also his polished image, Boo plays the guitar with fire, soul, and astuteness. “Beyond” and “Shades” are sure to be a collector’s items for any real Jazz enthusiast. Added to his accolades are successful performances at the pretigious Lincoln Centre in NY. In June 2013, he was invited by the White House to perform in celebration of Caribbean Heritage month. His recent performances in Monaco – one of which was with Yclef Jean – received rave reviews. In April 2016, Ronald ‘Boo’ Hinkson will headline Mt Irvine Bay Resort Jazz on the Beach in Tobago.
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.
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.
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.