A couple of months ago, when I purchased two tickets to see the Suritoppers show, I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew it was going to be a show with Surinam artists, singing Surinam (Suripop) songs, but I was only familiar with a couple of those songs, and I was afraid not knowing them all would make me feel less excited than the other people in the audience, who surely grew up listening to every single song. That didn’t stop me from getting the tickets though, because PUUREE organized it and I know they always produce great shows!
A week before the show, my friend (who was supposed to go with me) told me that he couldn’t make it. So I was on the look out for someone else to accompany me or (in worst case scenario) to buy them from me. I asked quite some people, but they shared their concern about not knowing if they would like the show, because they didn’t know any of the songs. Finally I found another friend who said he would like to join me and I was all set (I thought). Late in the evening, on the night before the show, that second friend also cancelled on me. At that time it was nearly impossible for me to find someone else. Thankfully my son’s girlfriend told me she would enjoy going with me. So in the end (after all the drama) it worked out after all! 🙂
Fast forward to the evening of the show: just before the show you could sense the excitement in the air. I saw some familiar faces there and people were meeting old friends in the lobby of the theatre. There were some stands selling Surinam sweets and food, and you could purchase CDs and DVDs of some Surinam comedians, such as (the late and great) Stephen “Wesje” Westmaas, Roue Verveer, Murth Mossel and the Caribbean Combo. You just knew it was going to be special. We also had GREAT seats, which made it even more awesome! The MC of the evening was Mister Henk van Vliet and the first artist of the evening was Powl Ameerali with one of my favorite Suripop songs: Safri (which I recently blogged about here).
After that energetic dance opening by Powl Ameerali, everybody was completely into having a party! What followed next, was a line-up full of great Surinam artists such as:
Bryan Muntslag, Patricia van Daal, Clayton Peroti, Ed Rust, Roy van Ommeren, Lady Shaynah (real name: Shanice Redan; daughter of Heliante Redan), Aidah Amatstam (sister of the late Ragmad Amatstam) & Steve Mariat Teunis.
This star studded line-up was backed vocally by the beautiful voices of: Dwayne Lace, Jennefer Zichem. & Lucille Young-Afat (standing in for the regular backing vocalist Maureen Fernandes). And the excellent live music came from the orchestra consisting of: Jeffrey Lacroes (trombone), Joe Rivera (trumpet, standing in for the regular trumpet player Randell Heye), Franklin Caesar Breeveld (saxophone), Johnny Fonseca (guitar), Dwight Starke (drums), Soeshiel Sharma (percussion), Lesley Joseph (bass guitar), Mikel Foendoe (keys) and the musical director of the show (and also on keys): Ernesto van Dal.
The sound, the lights, the music, the voices, the performances, everything was so ON POINT! It greatly exceeded any expectations I had when I walked into the Koninklijke Schouwburg that evening! I discovered some marvelous artists, whom I personally had never heard of before, but who I will definitely be following from now on! One of them in particular is the young Lady Shaynah, who was introduced by Mister Henk van Vliet as having the voice of a nightingale and he was definitely not exaggerating! One of the songs she sang was a Suripop song her mother (Heliante Redan) sang in her younger years, called Pikin Fowru (small bird). A song that stuck in my mind and will be up for translation in my blog soon. This girl is one to keep your eyes on, because I predict she’s going to be a star!
We also had a surprise (and impromptu) performance by Peter Rijsewijk (of PUUREE) that evening! Henk van Vliet asked him to come on stage and perform a song he sang for him in the dressing room. What Peter did then, amazed and excited the entire audience (including me)! People jumped up out of their seats to sing along with him and dance! 🙂
Another great party piece, was the performance by Patricia van Daal (a.k.a. Sister Patty) who had a really funny act, where she asked a man from the audience to come on stage, while she sang to him. Watch it for yourself to see what happens. 🙂
After over 2 hours of fun (not including the 15 minute break), the show ended with a song about oneness and how we should all stick together. They asked us to hold hands with the person standing next to us, while we were singing and swaying along to the song. It was a lovely and special way to end the show. We felt as though we had been to a fantastic party and it gave us such an uplifted feeling!
For all those people who thought this show would not be something they would want to see, all I can say is: you MISSED OUT! BIG TIME! And you better hurry to get your tickets for the final two shows on the 14th (in Schouwburg Almere) and 15th of May (in the Meervaart in Amsterdam), because they won’t be back for two years! And I’m SURE you don’t want to wait that long! To be honest, if you have Surinam roots or if you just love Surinam music, you really can’t afford to miss it! Thank you Suritoppers and thank you Puuree for a wonderful show! I’ll see you next time!