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DIA and friends deliver

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DIA closed the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts on Saturday night (Photograph supplied)

An explosive show steeped in Bermudian culture closed out the Bermuda festival on Saturday night.

A close-knit group of local artists performing as DIA & Friends, delivered back-to-back original songs and poems at the well-attended outdoor event at the Victualling Yard in Dockyard.

Yesha Townsend burst open the evening’s schedule of entertainment with a memorable spoken word piece crammed with uniquely Bermudian musings, expertly backed by the steady beats of the DIA band.

The Bermuda College English lecturer, writer performer and artist, based her poem on a classic interrogation Bermudians are met with on meeting a fellow Bermudian: “Which bus you used to catch? Whose niece did you date? Who is your [Cup Match] team?” Cropping up throughout the dialogue, the inevitable, “Who are your people?”

DIA and Friends at the Bermuda Festival finale (Photograph supplied)

When the subject of Gombeys graced this proficient poet’s flow, DIA’s drummer mimicked the unmistakable beats of their music.

The audience was made up of a mix of mature and younger guests – all were fully engaged and excited throughout the show, not least a baby who screamed out at the end of several performances much to the amusement of the crowd.

While it was a seated event, a group of young, diehard fans chose to sit on the ground in front of the stage and sing along to the songs. Given a little prompt towards the end, a fair number of people abandoned their chairs to dance their hearts out.

The evening’s format saw each artist introduce the next to the stage. Much to the delight of the audience, next to grace it was “master of the mic” KASE.

KASE, which stands for Knowledge Applied to Street Etiquette, brought with him an air of superstardom and opened with a quick-fire rap addressing some of the more sinister aspects of life in Bermuda, not least the pervasive violence on our shores.

He ended his slot with an inspirational tribute to all hard-working artists, inviting the audience to repeat the chorus line: “It’s OK coz it’s gonna pay off.”

He was then supported by the smooth, soulful vocals of Raven Baksh, a graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music. The pair sang a song with the lyrics “sweet as honey” which perfectly described this songstress’s voice.

Front row from left, Raven Baksh, KASE, Yesha Townsend and supporting singer Sakaela. Back row from left, Buzby and Sinead the Flower (Photograph supplied)

Her beautiful vocals however, at least for the first part of the performance, could have been turned up louder in the mix.

Next up was Sinead the Flower who, taking a little time to compose herself as she faced the crowd, described getting on stage like going on a first date. Any first-date nerves she may have had however, she managed to overcome, delivering a heartfelt performance peppered with unique and imaginative lyrics. Her opening song, as an example, drew comparisons between our bodies and the solar system which the DIA backed with cosmic sounds.

Rap artist Buzby, billed as “your neighbourhood vibe dealer”, demonstrated how he has achieved top 100 artist status across Bermuda’s streaming platforms and how he has garnered more than 100,000 plays internationally, on SoundCloud. He served up a selection of earnest, introspective tunes including the sensual Luv Without Borders from his debut album What you Failed to Observe.

Yesha, who has talked publicly about the impact of her mother’s death at the age of 19, returned to the stage to perform a truly heart-rending song about losing a parent.

The event on the whole was simple yet well organised. Guests enjoyed drinks from the bar and a refreshingly untypical menu of poutine and paella.

The audience was definitely left wanting more; many called for an encore but sadly the show ended with no extras. However, the artists stuck around and interacted with guests after the show.

Kudos must go out to the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts for placing Bermuda centre stage for this exhilarating finale.

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Published May 22, 2023 at 12:21 pm (Updated May 22, 2023 at 12:34 pm)

DIA and friends deliver

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