Erykah Badu 2008
(i) The feeling of intoxication experienced after the performance of Erykah Badu at the Barbados Jazz Festival 2008.
(ii) The debut album by American nu-soul singer Erykah Badu, released in 1997.
The Barbados Farley Hill National Park was the magical setting on Friday 18th of January, 2008 for one of the Barbados Jazz Festival Highlights, the performance of internationally acclaimed artiste Erykah Badu.
Nestled amongst the elevated setting of Farley Hill, there was an intermingling of anticipation and excitement. This was the first time in the fifteen years of the festival that a headline performance would be held at the Hill.
Upon arrival for an 8pm show, the gates were still closed until about 7:45pm and the show got off to a delayed start at about 8:45pm. However, despite these setbacks the throng of jazz aficionados was not disappointed.
The opening act was NexCyx, a local band gaining increasing popularity across the island, as well as recent nominees for Best Band at the Barbados Music Award 2008.
Their R&B, soul, alternative fusion was well-received by the crowd who showered their appreciation by singing along with the band as they performed tracks by Jill Scott, India Arie, Lauryn Hill and an original number called “Like Fairy Dust“.
The band also performed some soulful Motown Classics, and one of their most popular songs was the indomitable “Zombie” by the Cranberries and their spouge version of “Crazy” by Knarles Barkley.
The group ended their set with the 2007 international hit “Umbrella” by Bajan sensation Rihanna. With the encouragement of the crowd, they returned on stage for an encore, and completed their act with another Rihanna hit, “Shut Up and Drive“.
By the time Erykah Badu hit the stage at 10:45pm, the crowd was definitely ready for her appearance and they were not to be disappointed. Hair styled in an eye-catching Afro, and portraying her eclectic and eccentric style Ms. Badu’s strong voice rang clear across the Hill.
She has a captivating stage presence and as she strolled on to the stage it was as though a musical spell had spread across the Hill. The audience was mesmerized as she toyed with them by waiting a full minute before acknowledging their presence and ironically opening her set with “Don’t Be Long“.
Fans were treated to popular tracks like “Rim Shot“, “On and On” and other selections from her diverse musical career and multiple albums. Symbolism dominated her performance as she asked permission to speak before she proceeded to reveal the names she is also known by – a common African tradition. Her trio of backing vocalists as well, as trio of instrumentalists, was placed in triangles behind her.
Erykah seamlessly interacted with the audience through song and words of advice. She even at times descended from the stage to interact directly with her screaming fans. Of course she ended her almost two hour performance with the distinctive song “Tyrone” which had the audience, both men and womean, singing along to “call Tryone…call”.
As patrons descended from the Hill after midnight, there was no denying that Erykah Badu came, she saw and she conquered the Barbados Jazz Festival with her Baduizm.