By Stephanie Serac
The Return of Mr Woodbrook, staged by J&N Productions at the Little Carib Theatre, was celebrated by Ray Holman’s fans on February 23.
One of Woodbrook’s pan celebrities, Holman held his territory by resurrecting his oldies and mixing them with one new composition.
Holman began his musical offerings with Red Beans and Rice and then went on searching his bag of hits, playing Pan on the Move—with which he had won the National Preliminaries in 1972.
“Something new,” shouted a member of the audience during the concert, as to show he was greedy for it.
However, the audience had to wait until the end of the concert to hear We Just Can’t go on Like This, released for Carnival 2007 for Panorama.
He teamed up this year with the popular vocalist Keith “Designer” Prescott and female vocalist Tyler Rounds (coming all the way from Ohio, USA). The singers mingled their sweet voices with the light notes Holman delivered, blending R&B rhythms with his jazzy interpretation.
Holman and Cie delivered some good vibes from You Were There to Songs of Love, Bazodee, Plenty Lovin’ and the pore-raising Charlotte Street.
The audience even showed a peace sign with their fingers for If we Really Want, Holman’s tune for last year’s Panorama.
Originally scheduled to be held three nights, the return of Mr Woodbrook eventually occurred only on February 23 and 24. Holman explained after the concert that he had been involved in Panorama and then was sick and could not honour the first date.
However, on the nights he did play, Mr Woodbrook showed all the possibilities of his instrument, from calypso to Latin, jazz and R&B.
Holman is part of a pan elite that includes Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, Brian “Bean” Griffith and Jit Samaroo.
“We are a few of us. We need more steelband composers so we have a wider variety to choose from. We need people to write specifically for the instrument, who understand it, because this is a new instrument invented in our land,” he said after the concert.