David Rudder’s music is like a trip to the Caribbean.
“Whether I’m in France or Japan, or wherever, and I’m playing a place where people aren’t familiar with my music, it’s like introducing people to your world,” Rudder said. “I welcome people to the Caribbean islands through my music.”
The Trinidad-born singer-songwriter, known as the “King of Calypso,” will take Brantfordians to the islands when he headlines the third annual FestCaribbean on Saturday, Aug. 25.
“I want people to come out and celebrate the community of good vibration,” Rudder said.
The annual festival celebrates Caribbean culture and diversity with a day filled with music, food and entertainment at Branlyn Community Centre.
International reggae artist Junior Kelly will join Rudder on stage, backed by Montreal’s Fiyah Flamze band.
The event will showcase a variety of musical styles and feature energetic performances by Latin, soca, R&B, calypso and reggae acts, including Brantford’s own pop collective Colour Quest, reggae artist Mello G, the Latin Power Band and R&B singer Chris Jackson.
Rounding out the day will be a performance by Brazilian dance company Dance Migration. Comedian Roy Day will MC the event and Hamilton’s Verse One will DJ.
The day kicks off with a family-friendly steel pan workshop hosted by the Hamilton Youth Steel Orchestra and a Carnival Mas costume workshop with Clarence and Jackie Forde, the Toronto Revellers design team.
“With all the stuff I’m bringing in, people will see that we have a wide, rich culture,” festival organizer C.G. Dillon said. “My country (Trinidad and Tobago) is made up of Syrians, Japanese, Chinese, you name it. We had a lot of European influence, then you have the African roots. We have all these influences from everywhere.”
Dillon was inspired to start the festival as a way to showcase his culture and show people that there is more to the Caribbean and Caribbean people than stereotypes.
“The whole driving force behind it is for people to get a common understanding of who we are as a people,” he said. “We are rich in culture, if not the richest in the world in terms of culture.
“People don’t often see that aspect of it because they get blindsided by stereotypes.”
For Rudder, using his brand of soca music to showcase Caribbean culture is part of the job.
“It’s part of my job to introduce more and more people to what we do in the Caribbean,” Rudder said. “If it’s being introduced to you for the first time it might be something you say ‘where has this been all my life?’ For people who know it, it’s a chance for them to bury their spirit in the heart of the music and free up their soul.”
Rudder’s music is a blend of soul and traditional calypso that is rooted in Caribbean culture.
“My music, it’s entertaining, but it’s also about carrying a message or story. It’s about anything, politics, romance, it could be just having a good time. That’s the culture I grew up in. Other people talk about it, we sing about it.”
Advance tickets to FestCaribbean cost $20 for adults and $10 for children aged 10 to 13. Tickets can be purchased online at www.festcaribbean.com or www.tixpro.com. Tickets can be purchased in person at Broaster’s Chicken at 26 Brantwood Park.