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QUEEN C: Emotional and nakedly honest, singer-songwriter Cherine bares the layers of her soul

Queen C strikes a pose  (photo credit: Preejamaica.com)Concert Review
by Tyrone Reid - Tallawah Magazine

Remarkably, it is often to the benefit of the audience when a performer illustrates just how many facets exist to their musical personality, especially when the setting allows for a sense of intimacy and interaction. And in the case of singer-songwriter Cherine Anderson, the world's chief proponent of dancehall-soul, there's much to grasp and understand, particularly at this stage of her flourishing career, when her star remains in ascendancy, gunning for the sort of legacy established by her musical heroes Marcia Griffiths, Jimmy Cliff and Diana King.

In for a real treat were the lucky scores of fans and well-wishers who copped seats last week for Cherine's taping of Layers of Soul, the new Sunday night cabaret-esque show from TVJ. (Cherine's episode airs this Sunday April 17th at 8:30pm). Equal parts provocative and enchanting, Cherine's performance raised the question of just how much our local entertainers really know about putting on a show worth the audience's hour-and-a-half.

Working out with a four-member band and a trio of vocal backups, Cherine wasted no time in setting the tone for the evening, appearing in a traffic-stopping black-and-yellow ballerina costume, complete with black leggings, zebra-print platform heels and an of-the-moment big curly 'do. "I feel like a ballerina, so tonight I'm on show," she gushed. And that was no idle remark. Like a real pro in sync with the requisite elements for a successful showcase, Cherine moved briskly between stirring takes on "Don't Stop (Ring The Alarm" and her breakout solo hit "Kingston State of Mind" before turning up the heat with the radio smash "Talk If Yuh Talking."

STAR POWER: Cherine (centre) with her talented four piece band accentuated with three harmony singers -photo credit: Preejamaica.comThese early pieces opened the floor for Cherine's rebellious 'diva' segment. "I've been called a diva, but that's a good thing because it means I know what I am doing," she noted with a hint of swag, setting the pace for a crowd-favourite rendition of her latest chart-climber "Make-up Sex," preceded by a tantalizing purr of Madonna's "Like A Virgin." The appearance later of Chuck Fendah to perform their can't-get-enough duet "Comin' Over Tonight" only served to raise the temperature in the packed room, decked out with red tables and chairs, with a neatly attired waiter regularly refilling wine glasses. Talk about the complete package.

Cherine may be known for foxy dancehall-soul numbers, but the self-professed ghetto girl (who is not ashamed of her roots and ensured her parents got front-row seats at the show) is also possessed of a thoughtful, conscious side that easily connects with listeners. "20 to Life," a superbly written new single appeals to the heart, but "More Left In You," her amazing tribute to Japan's earthquake and tsunami victims, and "How Many More?," which expresses her frustration with senseless wars jointly left an indelible impression, something Miss Anderson herself seems to always accomplish.


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