The Antigua and Barbuda National Youth Choir dazzled staff at the Commonwealth headquarters in London this week with its powerful voices, mesmerising music and heart-wrenching poetry.
Demonstrating the vibrancy and beauty of the Caribbean in colourful cultural outfits, the choir kicked off their performance with a steel pan rendition of I did it my way. This was followed by a poignant poem and song about Hurricane Irma, which displaced the entire population of Barbuda last year.
Dominican born Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, whose father was from Antigua and Barbuda, described the performance as “world-class”.
She said, “The raw emotion skilfully expressed through music and poetry today really touched my heart. I was in Antigua and Barbuda after the hurricanes last year. I witnessed first-hand what the wrath of monstrous Hurricane Irma did to the place that these young people call home.
“Through their performance we experienced their agony and their fears, but we also saw shining brightly the resilience of our Commonwealth. Despite the immensity of their challenges they lifted our spirits with the addictive rhythm of Caribbean-defining calypso. And the people who work tirelessly behind the scenes at our headquarters to help deliver the mandate of governments got a taste of an authentic Caribbean-flavoured Commonwealth.”
Speaking at the event Layne Robinson, the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Head of Social Policy Development, said, “This is a very exciting time for the youth of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which concluded in April, spoke about the common future we hope to see, and that future really is anchored on our young people.
“As this choir has come to share with us, I hope that they will transport your mind to a future that can be better than what we have now, and that they will connect us back to who we are as human beings, as people. Because if nothing else the Commonwealth is about its people.”
Antigua and Barbuda High Commissioner, Karen-Mae Hill, who was also present for the performance, expressed her gratitude for the “outpouring of love and support” for her country.
The choir are touring the UK until the beginning of July. More information and performance dates.