St. Barth Summer Sessions

Adam Lasher St. Barth Summer Sessions

If you’ve ever considered the title concert organizer, the job description connotes strung-out individuals managing laid back musicians. It’s like being a theater director for a show’s opening night, but with a cast that never once showed up for rehearsal.

 

When I visited St. Barth, the French island in the Caribbean, I had arrived during Summer Sessions, the two-week music festival that takes place on the island at the start of August. And by meeting the men in charge, I got a quick sense as to how laid back life was in St. Barth. Both the event creator, Thierry de Badereau, and one of the organizers, Alvaro Kapaz, appeared more relaxed than the performers.

 

“Thierry, man,” one of the band members of the Bob Moses duo said as he ran onto the beach appearing both nervous and sweaty. “Sorry to bother you, but my partner is really bad. He’s out tonight. He can’t play.” Besides crashing his car earlier in the week, the missing half of Bob Moses was suffering from dengue fever. “But I can play both parts. I just wanted to run it by you because–“

 

“Not a problem,” de Badereau said. “That is fine.”

 

“Oh,” said the healthier of the two Bob Moses members. “Okay. Cool.”

 

The night before, I had watched Alvaro Kapaz play alongside Carlos Santana’s nephew, the talented Adam Lasher, whose voice sounds reminiscent of a rhythm and blues singer that discovered his surfy edge, kind of like if Mavis Staples and Ben Harper had reproduced.

 

“Are you filling in?” I asked Kapaz.

 

“I wasn’t supposed to play,” he told me. “But the bassist slammed his hand in the car door.”

 

And while mishaps downed a few performers, the music and attitudes seemed to mimic the vibe of the Caribbean.

 

With 40 concerts taking place at seventeen venues, I experienced the entire island by following the music.

 

On the first evening, I climbed the hills to the hotel Le Carl Gustaf, where dining room vistas looked down upon the red-roofed shops and u-shaped harbor of the port town, Gustavia. Twilight tweaked the colors of the stunning views and the red-headed Icelandic singer, Greta Karen, captivated her small audience with her leggy black dress, shocking baseball caps that said things like “Who Gives a Shit,” nails painted with black words like “Fuck” and “It” atop the white polish, and a vocal range that allowed her to transition from The House of the Rising Sun to Etta James’s At Last.

 

Greta Karen Summer Sessions in St. Barth

 

Later in the evening, I traveled down to Gustavia, where Adam Lasher performed for French expats and oenophiles who filled the outdoor Le Carre, a bar surrounded by duty-free boutiques that made the small, luxuriant shopping plaza feel like a Caribbean Champs de Elysee. While Lasher was a big hit with his Sublime and Beatles covers, the nephew of Santana revealed his genetic gifts the next day at Do Brazil, the closest thing to a beachside shack in St. Barth. While locals jumped from the cliffs into the turquoise waters surrounding Shell Beach, Lasher–who came with a two-person band (including Kapaz, the fill-in for his mangled bassist), voice distorters, microphone, and guitar–beatboxed and sang beneath the palms, turning covers into his own works of art and introducing the crowd to original content.

Pause for a Little St. Barth Summer Sessions

 

 

Each night, Summer Sessions came to a close at de Badereau’s La Plage, a beachside restaurant that crosses sumptuousness with easy, island living. While I enjoyed French recipes that used Caribbean ingredients–like wahoo tartar or foie gras with mango chutney–singer/songwriter Eleanor Dubinski sang like Natalie Merchant after a few months of practice with Rosetta Stones. She sang fluently in English, Spanish, and French and thus personified the diversity of the musicians at Summer Sessions. As Dubinski performed, de Badereau moved through the sand with a skull-shaped bottle that contained his garage-made vanilla rum.

 

He stopped at my table.

 

“The island is magic,” de Badereau said and looked over at Dubinski and then down at his bottle. “But if you want to see something, you have to bring it yourself.”

 

Greta Karen Summer Sessions in St. Barth

 

Note: Each Summer Sessions, the Tom Beach Hotel hosts the most shows. So if you’re looking to stay where most of the action is and if you found this post helpful, book a room through my affiliate link here and support the blog. Thanks.

 

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Posted on by Noah Lederman in Canada & The Caribbean, Somewhere

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