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Shun Ng headlines super show

Award-winning fingerstyle guitarist Shun Ng was the featured on-stage artist but talented youngsters dominated the first half.

CedarBridge Academy band Brothers in Music, soloist Indigo Adamson and the Bermuda School of Music’s Senior String Ensemble were all part of Tuesday’s Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts line-up, selected for the Earl Cameron Theatre show in a competition held on January 13.

Brothers in Music included a trumpet, slide trombone, tuba, bass and tenor saxophone, an unusual combination that worked very well. With each new number, the group gained confidence, its choreography becoming more funky. While these young men loosely based themselves on the New York brass band Lucky Chops, their style took us back to the sounds of the early Sixties such as the Mar-Keys and other great rock instrumentalists from the beginning of the soul era.

Their arrangement of the finale, Stand By Me, was rightly greeted by the packed audience with a standing ovation, the first of many of the evening.

Eleven-year-old Indigo Adamson is an extraordinary discovery, a new talent who combines operatic range, emotional rawness and powerful stage presence. Her performances included Dream a Dream, with lyrics set to the haunting melody of Gabriel Faure’s Pavane, and the aria from Giacomo Puccini’s O Mio Babbino Caro (Oh My Dear Father), a song that would make technical demands on many a professional soprano three times her age.

The eight violinists of the Senior String Ensemble delighted us with the first movement of Vivaldi’s Double Concerto then segued into dance, performing a handsomely choreographed Tango by Michael McLean in a dreamlike quadrille in which the musicians wove lines and circled around each other, playing all the while. Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins, played brilliantly by eight, was followed by a hugely energetic and fun Csardas to finish.

And then appeared Shun Ng. Although a guitarist in the tradition of Adam Rafferty, he specialises in the blues. Born in Chicago to Singaporean parents, he proved he could produce as good a riff as B B King. On his acoustic guitar, Ng played a brilliant version of the Allman Brothers’ Stormy Monday. There followed an excellent take on Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean and a very well executed Bohemian Rhapsody, the only fully acoustic version of the Queen recording that I have ever heard.

Ng’s finale, the Beatles’ Come Together, was followed by Stevie Wonder’s Superstition; the evening’s earlier musicians joined in on the jam.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and proof that Bermuda’s young, ebullient musical talent is being nurtured with discipline, teamwork, and technical excellence.

Fantastic finale: Shun Ng (Photograph supplied)