Jamaican songbird thrills jazz lovers

The tiny singer, who recently qualified as a veterinarian, sang jazz standards like “Fever” and “Fly Me To The Moon”, diva favourites like Chaka Khan's take on the standard “My Funny Valentine” and a 45-minute set of reggae favourites from her homeland covering the songs of the individual I-Threes, Tessanne Chin and the Andrea and Donna favourite from the 80s, “Uptown Top Ranking”.

Niquet, who is an unknown entity in the Trinidad music scene, recently graduated from Veterinary School at Mt Hope, and the producers, who should be given credit for discovering such a sensuous, charming and excellent talent, slipped her into the series before her imminent departure to her homeland of Jamaica in the coming weeks.

Performing a diverse set to a young audience of music lovers, Niquet split her show into two, a pop/R&B and jazz set followed by a reggae set, both for 45 minutes each. One highlight was her rendition of the Rufus hit “Sweet Thing” which put on notice that not only Kay Alleyne can do Chaka Khan justice. It still amazes to be seen how such a powerful voice can come from such a tiny lady, Niquet not even hitting the five foot mark!

The relaunch of Songbirds . . . live at a new venue, Sky View Lounge at Cascadia Hotel, allowed for an easy viewing and listening experience for the patrons who showed their appreciation by lusty cheers, especially during the reggae set in the second half of the show. Backing vocalists, Malene and Shawna Joseph — incidentally, the drummer's daughters — harmonised beautifully with Niquet over a range of rockers, dancehall, conscious music and other reggae styling showing the diversity of music from that island: but more importantly, showing that local singers have some major work to do.

Niquet's bio says that she began singing in the church, and her gospel roots showed as she hit all the power notes on tunes normally the domain of belters like Fantasia, whose “I Believe” Niquet covered wonderfully. Bottom line, Niquet Goldson can sing. And, sings very well!

Production One Ltd. seems to be upping the game on other show promoters by again maintaining high production standards – from the quality of the musicians, which included ?lan Parl? alumni Ming and Richard Joseph along with bassist Loris Adams, to the ambience of the performing space.

The advertised need for the change from Aura Restaurant at the last minute did not seem to hamper the hip crowd who filled the space in the lounge. Cascadia Hotel could do with an image boost, and this show served a necessary beginning. This writer noted the presence of both audio recording wizard Robin Foster and video cameras recording the action. We are told that the series would be produced for future television/cable distribution to overseas markets.

All in all, this series has started with a bang, and we could look forward to Glenda Collens and her unique brand of funk and drum and bass renderings of pop, R&R and regional classics in the month of July. It was also noted that another Jamaican songbird, Samantha Gooden would be the featured singer in August.

If this Songbirds . . . live featuring Niquet Goldson is a portent of things for the coming months, it would be advisable to follow this series as it offers a great alternative for live entertainment in Trinidad and Tobago.


"Jamaican songbird thrills jazz lovers"

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