Italian-trained opera singer marie-claire follows her successful listening party in Dominica with an impressive performance at her recent launch of the dreamland project EP in Kingston Jamaica. The event took place Tuesday August 30th at the firelight gourmet vegan restaurant and was attended by colleagues in music and other well-wishers.
As with her listening party, marie-claire briefly introduced each of the EP’s 5 songs before showing of her vocal range to the delight of the captive audience. On “rastaman chant”, made famous by the late Bob Marley, marie-claire was accompanied by Nyabingi drummers Tony Cole and Ras Thunder. Drezion (who produced 4 of the 5 songs) joined her on the hip-hop influenced remake of George Gershwin’s “summertime”. “dreamland” another reggae classic she performed, this time of Bunny Wailer and Marcia Griffith fame; started off with a classical orchestral sound before rolling into a bouncy reggae groove. The song was produced by Paul Daley and recorded at Tuff Gong Studio. “constellation” was written by legendary singer/songwriter Bob Andy especially for marie-claire and was a favorite of many, including the night’s MC Denise ‘Isis’ Miller of Roots FM. The night’s final song “charcoal” was an original written by the artist herself.
Though notably absent from the event, both Spragga Benz (who is featured on “rastaman chant”) and Bob Andy gave their endorsement to the dreamland project via interview days later. Benz who spoke at and performed alongside marie-claire at the Fort Young Hotel listening party initially compared the blend of opera and reggae to “mixing egg and orange juice.” Within days of his first listen however, Spragga Benz not only embraced the song, he presented it to Marley’s son Stephen for approval before recording his version at Salaam Remi’s NY studio.
For her part, marie-claire is “eternally” grateful to Bob Andy for penning this original song; something he has done for no other artist since writing for Marcia Griffith decades ago. She also extends many thanks to chef Ben Tsedek Ben Yehuda who’s restaurant provided the perfect ambience for the night. The musical offerings were complimented by servings from his ‘living’ menu comprising cheese cauliflower, curried plantain and pear, dehydrated plantains, curried mushroom , barbecue mushroom, couscous, ackee pok choi, sushi (made of walnut) sorrel mint, cantaloupe star fruit juice, pizza and mustard green salad.
Guests dining on the vegan course included TV personality and social activist Emprezz Mullings, legendary producer Steve Golding, notable reggae crooner Alaine, Edna Manley professor and head of Music Unites Jamaica Rosina Moder, JARIA (Jamaica Reggae Industry Association) Vice-chairman Charles Campbell, and internationally acclaimed bass-baritone Curtis Watson, with whom marie-claire has been training for the past month.