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GOT ITCHY FEET, MIGHT AS WELL DANCE
Thursday 3rd February 2011

Itchy Feet is a common enough saying, understood to symbolize a nomadic sort of lifestyle, a restless sort of spirit, someone constantly on the move. The original line-up of the Itchy Feet band was such a grouping, musical expats whose wandering spirit had landed them here, in Antigua. These days, save for Irish man, Paddy Prendergast, it’s a mostly local line-up including keyboardist Gavin Christopher, bass man Tony Mayers, drummer Dalma ‘Boogie’ George, pannist Aubrey ‘Lacu’ Samuel, vocalist Kenne Blessin, and, foundation member and guitarist, Prendergast.

The three year old band, interestingly enough started out playing for a classic musical about a band of wanderers, sort of, the Wizard of Oz as put on by Island Academy. Since then they’ve traded in the school auditorium for island bars. These days they can be heard at least once a month at Shirley Heights, Mad Mongoose, and Sugar Ridge.

And what will you hear, when you hear them?

“The band plays a wide variety of music; soca to pop to rock ‘n roll to r ‘n b, we try to play some of every genre,” said Prendergast, who was involved in the music industry in the UK from the ‘80s to ‘00s before relocating to Antigua roughly five years ago. Feeding off of their audience, he indicated, they try to bring the band’s various influences together. “(We’re) one of the first rock bands that has steel band,” he said, noting that, “it sounds fantastic…it really adds colour to Brown Eyed Girl and Every Breath You Take, those middle of the road type songs. ” It helps that Lacu is widely regarded as one of Antigua’s best.  “Also, no matter what we’re playing,” Prendergast added, “because we’re in the Caribbean, having the pan involved just gives it that local flavour.”

People seem to like that flavour, as Itchy Feet is rarely still. “We always create a good atmosphere and we’ve never done a bad show,” Prendergast said. There’s practice, expertise, a repertoire that with its “socafying and reggaefying” of mainstream music as well as its foothold on both that music and the music of the Caribbean makes for a pretty appealing mix, and chemistry, of course; “but more importantly, we really enjoy it,” Prendergast said.

Given how busy the band is, it’s clear its audience enjoys it too.
Written by Joanne C. Hillhouse


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