June’s Youth Page.

WHAAM !

When people think of Devon they think of the sea, of beaches, picturesque villages and the countryside. However so much of what makes Devon special is the people who live here.

I recently attended the Westward Ho! and Appledore music showcase (WHAAM) at the Pier House in Westward Ho!, which demonstrates youth talent in our area. The event was in aid of the RNLI, a charity rooted deep in our local identity, and was attended by their representatives.

The event was opened by Dance Fit Belly Dance Divas, a diverse group who brought an energy to the room. Opening an evening is never an easy task, but they managed it with every hip shake and bass drop; it was clear to everyone how much they enjoyed their performance.

Westward Ho! Youth Theatre members performed a selection of songs from musical theatre. Connor exhibited his strong vocal range with songs from Les Miserables and Beauty and the Beast, mixing emotive vocals with a refined musicals performance, whilst Rob wowed the audience with showmanship with his numbers from Phantom of the Opera and Johnny English, in a charismatic performance that held the attention of everyone in the room.

Jess Martyn covered some well known artists ranging from Beyonce to Sia to Birdy, mixing the popular songs with her own “busk” style and soulful voice that was very refreshing without losing the magic of the originals. A great performance.

Kingsley School Choir sang a medley of tunes from Les Miserables, their close harmonies and intonation a testament to their title of “Best Devon Schools choir”.

Ella Crossland. A strong voice and lyrical talent. She performed a mix of covers and original music Her songs were well thought out, meaningful and held a complexity that cannot be said for all professionally written music. A true songbird.

Yazzy bravely covered Dolly Parton, not an easy feat, and announced that she will be opening for Paloma Faith at a festival, a true testament to local talent. (see below)

The night ended on a high with the 5:15; a high energy, tap your feet act, the kind that makes you nostalgic. They covered rock and alternate classics with an energetic enthusiasm and their own unique twist, collaborating with Yazzy for one of the final songs of the evening.

The support shown by each artist was amazing and their contributions were greatly appreciated by all. Thank you to all involved in this event, performers and those who made it possible.

Lucy Braund.

*****

More about Yazzy.

The best thing about the WHAAM is that it is not only a great festival in itself, but it has gotten so many of our local acts noticed and thrust into the national spot light. You might remember a few years ago when we first mentioned Yazzy, the melodious breeze who has since turned into quite a force of nature- uprooting trees and ripping up the rule book with soulful wail. We thought it was time to check in with how Bideford’s new rising star was doing.

As Lucy already mentioned, she will be supporting Paloma Faith at the Glastonbury extravaganza on August 4th. The WHAAM was a fantastic culmination of all our local talent, and while the cavernous hall can seem daunting, it is still relatively personal: given a long enough set – or suitably twitchy eyes – you could scour the audience and make meaningful eye contact with every spectator. Making eye contact with the 10,000 strong rabble at Glastonbury would probably dislodge a retina. So she will have to adapt her performance style to compensate.

It’s time for Yazzy to evolve once again. The breeze may have swirled into a hurricane, but now it’s time to turn up the power, and see how much wind 10,000 fans can generate. Sure, some of them may be Paloma fans, but let’s see how many she can convert.

Standard tickets have sold out, but there are still seats for the all-inclusive supper option, meaning you don’t have to wave your arms and clap your hands on an empty stomach.

Millie Sutherland O’Gara (former Buzz youth correspondent, who attended the WHAAM concert last year.)

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