In preparation for his Golden concert, Keino Swamber dug deep into his musical reservoir, not only for songs reflecting his particular vintage, but compositions with a message during his concert Keino Swamber presents Golden.
Attribute the picks to his media experience as a reporter and editor at Newsday, which may have triggered his social conscience.
Her collection of songs ranged from giving thanks for 50 years of life, her opening number – Give Thanks for Life, to a particular genre influenced by her memories of listening to her mother’s favorite selections on the radio, as she did his chores. This kind of music boasted of people like Mavis John, Stevie Wonder, Anita Baker and others.
Saying a little prayer for the children reflected both his love and his fear for the children he said were in danger as he called for their future to be protected.
He spoke of the horrific memories of slavery that led to emancipation – and a song to make sure part of history is never repeated.
Whatever the rationale, the choices resonated with his intimate audience who seemed to have a personal connection to him – judging by the raspy, shrill calls, the whistles, the running joke shared about the lonely panhandler, Opal Murrell, having a main role in each selection, to his prediction of the next “star” to grace the stage, before announcing the artist.
Swamber found a composition reflecting the many moods he exhibited at his second solo concert on July 30, celebrating his half-century with a year-long party.
Guest performers he described as “all stars” beautifully complemented the tone of the more mature, yet playful vibes inside Naparima Bowl Auditorium, San Fernando.
Stunning Brenda Butler, sporting a painted golden clip on the right side of her otherwise bald head, specially selected Jill Scott’s Golden to commemorate her friend’s distinct birthday on earth.
Her golden voice and Swamber’s loud, strong baritone blended seamlessly in the second half for a duet of a Stevie Wonder classic, Love’s in Need of Love Today.
Moricia Cagan, another of Swamber’s friends from her karaoke days, she confessed, cheered up Barrington Levy’s Vice Versa Love for the audience’s delight.
She had everyone in tune with her for her two selections, including Whitney Houston’s Where do Broken Hearts Go.
In response, Swamber followed up Cagan’s dynamic performance with a question answer.
“They come into my loving arms,” he joked, tearing up Millie Jackson’s vintage Loving Arms.
“They don’t do it like that anymore then,” he said, receiving the audience’s approval.
He hurt his magic with Anita Baker’s Rapture, had the audience sing along to the lyrics of Price Tag to forget “money, money and ch ching, bl bling” and make the world dance.
Young, but with an old spirit in terms of musical preference, saxophonist Jassiem Williams, who Swamber says was blown away at his first gig, was just as impactful this time around.
Consistent with Swamber’s view that he was like a Category Five hurricane, Williams was the only performer to receive a public encore.
Another young performer was guitarist Jamal Wilkinson who showed off his crazy skills with a selection of Machel Montano featuring Swamber.
Wilkinson is Order the Band’s lead guitarist who accompanied the concert live. Led by Ato K Williams, members include bassist Andy Edwards, drummer Brendon Lessey, panplayer Opal Murrell, and vocalists Shauna Taylor and Akeita Pierre-Williams who provided backing vocals.
That he could lure the sensational Ziggy Rankin, born Khori Francis, as a guest artist says a lot about the draw of Swamber, the famous man of the hour.
This performer did not disappoint as he walked off the stage to get closer to further excite the audience. The excitement it generated put them in the right frame of mind for Swamber to close the show with a selection of a calypso icon, who was being celebrated the same night at Queen’s Hall, Nelson’s Meh Lover.
Given the long holiday weekend and the many competing events, the audiences weren’t exactly in the range of numbers that Swamber was expecting, but for sure those who missed Swamber’s Golden, missed out on a treat .
Despite the small number, the celebrant was satisfied with the result and is already planning the third segment.