Caribbean twist added to jazz and blues event

Singer Claudia is coming from St Lucia to take part in the Burton Agnes Jazz and Blues Festival
Singer Claudia is coming from St Lucia to take part in the Burton Agnes Jazz and Blues Festival

The Burton Agnes Jazz and Blues Festival has forged a link with the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia, home to the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival.

Specially selected jazz musicians from the island will play at this year’s festival. There are also plans to offer St Lucian food, rum cocktails and an exhibition of work by the island’s artists in the Elizabethan stately home near Bridlington.

The jazz and blues festival is held at Burton Agnes Hall from Friday June 29 to Sunday July 2.

“I was keen to do something special and different to celebrate our 10th anniversary, and to present some unique cultural activities amongst the Hull City of Culture events,” said festival organiser Simon Cunliffe-Lister.

Through the UK Caribbean Chamber of Commerce, Simon was able to build a relationship with Saint Lucia. The island state was looking for a platform to showcase its culture in the UK.

Simon travelled to Saint Lucia to audition bands.

The four bands selected are Dynamix, a vibrant young saxophone led quartet; the soulful and sophisticated singer Chrycee; St Lucian gem and household name Claudia; and jazz guitarist Rupert Lay, who leads a jazz quartet that includes the quintessentially Caribbean steel pans.

“I am proud to have this exciting and vibrant addition to our well established festival, and to provide an opportunity for these talented St Lucian musicians to come to the UK and participate in a much-loved festival,” said Simon who hosts the festival from his ancestral home.

“I’ve long been aware of the excellent and widely admired St Lucia Jazz Festival. What a thrill to be able to travel to St Lucia to audition jazz acts, and invite them to East Yorkshire to inject their island’s vibrancy into the stately setting of Burton Agnes Hall.”

‘Dynamix have such a mature and sophisticated sound. The soulful Chrycee, and the St Lucian household name, Claudia, are two exciting singers who work modern St Lucian styles into well-known songs .

“When auditioning bands, it was a compelling twist to hear the Rupert Lay jazz guitar trio, with drums and double bass, playing a bebop classic, and joined by that quintessential Caribbean instrument, the steel pan.’

Artists also confirmed include: Claire Martin and Ray Gelato, Kaz Hawkins, the Pat McCarthy Quartet.