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Musical greats to pay tribute to legendary island group

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John Burch, the last active member of the island’s supergroup the Bermuda Strollers (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Two of Bermuda’s musical greats are banding together in Hamilton today for a tribute to one of the island’s legendary groups.

John Burch, the last active member of the Bermuda Strollers, is to perform with singer June Caisey to close out a home-grown festival in honour of Bermuda’s top musicians from the heyday of local entertainment.

June Caisey, one of the island’s best-known singers (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Dale Butler, a former government minister and the island’s leading historian of Bermuda music, said the festival was organised through the Atlantic Publishing House.

The eight weeks of music on Angle Street in Hamilton is held at Mr Butler’s home across from the former premises of the popular jazz venue Hubie’s.

Mr Burch, who performs with Ms Caisey in the Bermuda Legends band, said: “We’ve been working hard on it and rehearsing – I think it’s going to come up pretty good.

“June and I have been sticking to the wicket as entertainers for the island. It’s good to get out there now that things are starting to open back up.”

He added that songs will include favourite Strollers tunes and the Hubert Smith classic Bermuda is Another World.

Mr Butler said the festival, dubbed Darn D Road, took its name from a song by musical greats Al Harris and Celeste Robinson that popularised Bermuda’s distinctive accent.

The following Bermudian artists and groups have been recognised at the free Saturday events, which come with historical readings as well as music: Charles Michael “Curtis” Clarke, The Talbot Brothers, Hubert Smith, Stan Seymour, Reuben McCoy, Lance Hayward and Violetta Carmichael.

Mr Butler’s home, Rosalie Gardens, pays tribute to more than 200 artists with the Music Wall of Fame, created with the help of musician and artist Miles “Trane” Manders.

Veteran guitarist Bobby Smith will cut the ribbon formally opening up the garden for the event, which runs from 1.30pm to 3pm.

Mr Butler added: “We will be asking people if they would like to make a donation to help us replace some artwork that was destroyed.”

A carved wooden tribute by Mr Manders honouring Bermuda’s artists, called “Staircase to Heaven”, was damaged by a driver who cut around traffic in his car and left the scene.

Guests will be served refreshments in the garden at the close of the performance.

The funds will be used to replace them and those who attend will be able to enjoy light refreshments in the garden at the end.

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Published July 10, 2021 at 7:53 am (Updated September 13, 2021 at 6:17 pm)

Musical greats to pay tribute to legendary island group

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