Female gospel artistes soar on flight GWAD 2019
Gospel concerts are on the increase in Jamaica, especially in the Corporate Area. The producers seem to work from similar scripts; that is, bring in an international act and have a few local gospel artistes who engage mainly the younger members of the audience. Kimiela ‘Candy’ Isaacs wants to change the script with a concert titled ‘Gospel With a Difference’ (GWAD). The fourth instalment was held last Saturday in the Margaret Gartshore Hall at the St Andrew High School for Girls.
“I just want it to be different, very different from the normal gospel concert. GWAD takes you from where gospel music started to where it’s at today,” she shared with The Gleaner.
Saturday’s show was framed in the narrative of a flight in celebration of female musicians. Isaacs said she did so because she wanted females to get more attention, especially in the music fraternity.
Nadine Blair was charged with disseminating knowledge on the female performers to the ‘passengers’. The event prepared for take-off with everyone singing the blind American mission worker, Fanny Crosby’s 1873 hymn, Blessed Assurance.
Then the VIP (visually impaired professional), as Isaacs has labelled herself, made her entrance from centre aisle, singing Sarah Flower Adams’ hymn, Nearer My God to Thee. She followed up with Eliza Hewitt’s When We all get to Heaven. Isaacs completed her opening set with I Found the Answer (Mahalia Jackson), Satan We’re Gonna Tear You Down (Shirley Caesar) and a fine rendition of The Lord’s My Shepherd by Cissy Houston.
Jamaican gospel vocalist Carlene Davis was on hand to represent herself. She did so in a short set that included One Handful of Salt and a medley of choruses arranged to ska beats. It was also a short one from Trevelle Clarke-Whyne, who kept the flight energised with a jazz and reggae colouring of By the Grace of God.
Two costumes changes later, the talented VIP showed that musical ministry can be done in any style. She had the ‘travellers’ spellbound with her deejaying capabilities. They were rocking to her original song – arranged to an African beat – I Give You all the Praise. The vocalists, Sweet Sound, returned to the stage to increase the harmony. Isaacs’ natural jazz tones were evident in her delivery of I Cried My Last Sad Tears. The journey came to an end with No More Shackles, I’m Free.
Backing band was Desi Jones and friends (Christopher McDonald, Brandon Benjamin and Joshua Jones). Jones knew Candy “as a little girl”, and recalled accompanying her at her end-of-year concert as a final-year student at School of Music. Ever since, when he is available, he continues to work with her because “she is so professional”.
GWAD was first held in 2014, twice, and only returned in 2018. Isaacs said she took a break, “because I never thought I recovered [well]”. It will now become an annual event, she said.