Food for the Soul
It’s 6pm in Port Vila Vanuatu, and I make a quick dash from “Charlie’s cottage” to the main road to flag down the next bus.
I live a further 20 minutes drive out of town, in an easy laid back country side of Mele. The surrounding is tropical and I am plunked right in the middle of majestic waterfalls and a long strip of sandy beach just 100 meters down the road. And across is the Secret Botanical Garden, host to all flora and fauna that make up the beauty of Vanuatu’s nature.
It’s Friday nightfall and around this time that lucky crowd is waiting for the boys and I to rock up a storm on stage to their favorite songs, whilst they lay back, down a few drinks and later, take on the dance floor with super slick moves, or just let loose and bob the night away. Ah yes, it’s the typical weekend scene where we gig at.
I finally see a bus coming, and I get on it, grab a good spot, and enjoy a 10 minutes drive to my second work place, reminiscing on the humble beginnings. I call this job my passion, part time.
It has been six years and I still enjoy the weekend gigs. You know nothing is ever too boring in Port Vila, especially when you’re in a band doing what you love which is playing, singing, and entertaining guests with music that warms the heart and feeds the soul.
And of course the nights culminate to a hot and sweaty crowd getting their groove on under the disco ball and in-front of the stage, shouting out their favorite numbers for the band to play, singing, swinging, swaying and dancing to the songs.
Memories keep flooding in and I realize that throughout the years, there has always been something interesting happening every night like when Lady Lin (we call her the dancing queen), an elderly but very fit 60 year old painter artist, makes a grand entry on the dance floor and struts her stuff to some of the old hits like “Can’t take my eyes off you” by The Four Seasons.
Oh, its amazing how time flies and now, the band is moving on from the birth-stage of its popularity to new venues, and horizons, taking with us some familiar faces, and making new friends and fans along the way.
Our current base is at the War Horse Saloon. Here the atmosphere is something special altogether especially for a tropical island. It brings a new bounty country western feel to Port Vila’s dynamic range of restaurants, bars, pubs and other mix and mingle venues.
The cute restaurant is set out on the way to the Mele Golf course, where the annual Tusker Golf Open takes place every August. The Saloon relives the golden 50s, 60s, and 70s era in its make up and interior design. The wide selections of sculptures and antics depict a theme around the American Indians, their values, and inspirations, as well as portraits of the country western figure heads and legends.
As I walk through the wooden swing doors, an Indian warrior welcomes me and opposite him is a bar maid standing with a tray and an enormous smile almost half laughing. At the Saloon, guests are treated to fine music over a savory serve, some good wine, bountiful beer, and a little into the hours music to sway, cha-cha, salsa, disco, twist and rock n roll the night away.
Dallying up to a decade, the bands’ songs list is flourishing into a rich repertoire of hits from the very early classical jazz, blues and soul to the mid 70s-90s, to today’s very modern and upbeat rhythm and blues, rap, and dance hits.
We’re about to start, but before that we run the drills and test the sound level, “Test, one, two, sound check, sound, one, two, check. All good boys let’s roll.” It’s at that exact moment, that I ponder when all this would come to an end and the arrow seems to always be pointing to…never.
Come share our music in paradise.