Rest your mind
Pianist James Richardson is to release an “eclectic” CD next weekend in a bid to preserve his sound for future generations.
Its release will coincide with a show he is putting on with a group of talented young musicians at City Hall.
“It’s really important, I think, that all musicians make a contribution to our culture by creating music and works of art. That is really our job,” the 39-year-old said.
He highlighted jazz musician Winston DeGraff as one of many talented local artists who died without leaving a permanent record of his musical work.
Called ‘Beautiful Things’, Mr Richardson’s debut CD aims to give people a break from the stresses and troubles of everyday life so they can “rest [their] mind, be at peace and at ease”.
Next weekend’s concert will include a group of musicians Mr Richardson calls the Young Virtuosos teenagers Adrian Lewis, Shamar Morris and Noah Furbert.
He said he was “very impressed” with the young players’ skills and confidence during auditions this summer, but even more thrilled with their desire to encourage other young people to embrace music.
Each artist will perform solo; a move Mr Richardson considers the “mark of a true musician”.
“It’s easier when you are in a band or orchestra and have all these other people around you, but standing up there by yourself you have to engage the audience and build a connection with them.
“That takes something special and all three of these young people have it.”
Fourteen-year-old Shamar has been playing the violin and piano for seven years and said he was “looking forward to showcasing [his] talent”.
The Somersfield Academy student believes his generation often sees music as “not the ideal, cool thing to do”, but said music provided opportunities to meet new people from around the world.
Cellist Noah, 16, said he was also looking forward to inspiring his peers. “I am hoping to get the attention of younger audiences of my own age or younger and open up their minds to the fact you can do other things than being out partying or being on the streets doing nothing.”
Mr Richardson himself became interested in music at age ten while sitting in church listening to the choir. He wanted to take part, but said it wasn’t long before everyone realised he couldn’t sing.
“The next step was to try and get involved with instruments so I sat down at the piano one day and I decided that was what I was going to do.”
“From then on I just spent every waking moment finding a piano at church and school. I didn’t have one at home for a while, but then some folks at my church were leaving the Island and gave me their upright grand.”
He later joined the group Up with People and travelled throughout Europe and North America developing his talent.
He also studied at the Berklee College of Music, before returning to Bermuda in 2003.
He describes his style as “eclectic” and said the album is “the most mellow, calming and relaxing” collection of songs and original compositions.
Mr Richardson said he was inspired by the negative climate on the Island and wanted to create something to counterbalance that.
“Every day we are inundated with bad news and we oftentimes do not release. This has an effect on us over a long period of time.
“When I was young [Bermuda] had two TV stations and the news came on everyday, but now there are local and overseas news programmes that glorify the negative aspects more than the positive.
“So the idea behind the concert is to remove ourselves from that hectic environment and find a quieter place where you can rest your mind and let your mind be at peace and at ease.”
He said this was his first major CD project, but there are more to come.
The concert will take place Friday, November 11 and Saturday, November 12 at City Hall at 7.30pm.
Tickets are available at bermudatix.bm, All Wrapped Up Home in Washington Mall and Fabulous Fashions in the Heron Bay Plaza.
Regular tickets cost $50 while patrons pay $75 and get a complimentary copy of the CD (which will retail for $25) and entrance to a reception at the Bermuda Society of Arts.
Mr Richardson will also be available to sign CDs at the reception. They will later be available at “quality music outlets” around the Island.