Boothman’s art in motion: The Spirit sings


A report by GARY CARDINEZ for T&T’s Newsday.

Inside of Sound The Spirit Sings is a classic example of how talent in Trinidad and Tobago is highly underrated. The event was a musical and visual journey into the art of Caribbean jazz pianist, composer, visual artist and University of Trinidad and Tobago’s (UTT) master artist in residence, David Boothman.

The event took a mere 60 patrons through the artist’s themes, music images, symbolism and recital, embracing the concept of Transcendental Caribbean.

Boothman’s art and music came to life through the interpretation of dance and the spoken word done by students of UTT’s Academy for the Performing Arts (APA).

A section of the Academy for the Performing Arts (APA) Choral Choir.

On November 18, Theatre 1 at UTT Campus, Napa on Frederick Street was alive with art in motion. Boothman infused life into his works with the students of the APA’s Music, Acting and Dance Studios and the Caribbean Renaissance Jazz Ensemble.

The celebrated jazz pianist and composer featured a repertoire of his original songs composed over the years.

Boothman lured his audience into a visual and musical conversation, almost with no words, into the world of Caribbean jazz and romance through a symbolic language and tonal art. He incorporated his diverse themes to make a profound statement opening up a conversation about his work as an artist, creative thinking and its application, role of leadership and the urgency behind the creation of Caribbean renaissance.

The show began with an art/music video which showed some of Boothman’s work from 1969-2008 depicting four themes.

First there was From Earth to Folk which the artist described as “an exploration into symbolic depiction Santeria (Yoruba), eastern and western mysticism. Transcendental Caribbean.”

The second theme was the Carnival Series and Boothman said it is the quasi-realism and abstraction of Carnival images of masquerade and steel drum procession.

Theme three was the Bele Series where Boothman celebrated the elegance of the Caribbean woman, the French creole dance and costume as a motif for the exploration of colour narrative and figurative compositions.

The fourth theme Inside the Sound Series “depicts sound, tonal harmonies in colour and futurist and figurative abstraction.”

Boothman said the sub-theme was about the Acoustics of Boom (mythologising the steel drum, its cultural metaphysical psychological and cultural impact)..

Then there was the Heritage Series where Boothman featured a collection showing portraits of Caribbean cultural engineers and icons. On stage the slides set fading into the background music he composed and produced.

The APA students interpreted songs like Dancing with the Elements, Upsy Daisy Hill, Mile In Paramin, Passion Wave, Village, Spirit of the Caribbean (Mikhael Salcedo on pan), Green Islands, Sweet Rejoicing and Dew Dances with the APA Percussion Ensemble.

The Caribbean Renaissance Jazz Ensemble brought songs to life like Backyard No Gallery, Cosmic Flow, Inner Sanctum (Mya Scott vocals), Higher Regions and So Dey Say, Koosoomay Mama (Krisson Joseph vocals).

The finale In De Caribbean saw the entire cast on stage dancing and singing to this soca fusion creating a true Caribbean flavour.

Inside of Sound The Spirit live is a one-of-a-kind show which should be seen by many more art and music lovers.

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