By MEL COOKE, Freelance Writer
Sizzla - file
THE HARD ROCKING music of Sizzla Kalonji made the transition from sound system to steelpan at the University of the West Indies (UWI) on the weekend.
Four of his songs were included in the programme of the UWI Panoridim Steel Orchestra's Panfest 2005 season, entitled 'Music Is...'. The quartet of songs were played in 'Music Symbolises Culture', the final segment of the seven-part programme.
'Music Is...' was presented four times at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts on the Mona campus on the weekend.
With the medley arranged by Mark Bernard, the programme said: "one of dancehall's most popular artistes, this medley consists of four songs from Sizzla's 2003 album Da Real Ting. We play It's Just One of Those Days, Thank You Mama, Woman I Need You and Solid As a Rock.
The pan players, along with a drummer, congos and percussion, had already put on red, green and gold coloured headgear for the Marley standard 'Is This Love' that preceded the Sizzla medley and there was an enthusiastic reaction especially from the younger people in the near capacity audience for the second show on Sunday night, when THE STAR saw 'Music Is...'.
The melodious deejay approach that dominates 'Da Real Ting' translated very well on the steelpan, but 'Solid As a Rock' pushed the bar higher. As the bassline dropped on the chorus, a prancing, dancing, 'Jah Love' waving young man burst onto the stage and there was a dancehall style forward from the audience.
Of course, there was a 'pull up' and restart, the flagman making his way off stage with the same energy that he had come on with. And it was not only Sizzla's music that was given pride of place, as a larger than life picture of the deejay was shown on the backdrop behind the players.
Mi Tierra from Gloria Estefan, 'The Carnival Is Over' from Lord Kitchener and the winning Road March Song from this year's Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, Dead or Alive, wrapped up 'Music Symbolises Culture' and the official programme. However, a standing ovation, foot stomps on the wooden flooring of the Centre and a rhythmic chant of 'more, more' prompted the curtain to be opened again and the orchestra delivered Steel Pulse's Stepping Out.
With Rosemarie Murray giving a dramatic narration of the music that was presented, the orchestra also gloried in the gospel of Awesome God, caressed the classic of Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major, lavished over the Latin of Mi Tierra and hit the road with the soca of Dead or Alive, visiting Switzerland, Cuba, the USA, Trinidad and, of course, Jamaica, in the process.