Trinidad Theatre Workshop was the perfect venue for Ruth Osman’s latest concert, Just Between Us, on Saturday night.
Osman was joined by her band and a couple of guest performers for an evening of soulful music. The vocalist and flautist, who is almost eight months pregnant, performed jazz standards, poetry, some of her own music and a couple of calypsoes too. There was standing room only at the Jerningham Ave, Belmont space, and the stage was set with votive candles floating in water. With the audience close up, Osman did her thing. Her sweet and soul-stirring vocals, often vibrating in a minor key, kept her listeners’ rapt attention.
Guitarist Theron Shaw added his talent to the event, performing alone as well as with the band. His songs included Jamaican folk song Done Baby, Misty and People, on which he accompanied Osman.
Ariana Herbert shared some of her poetry during the first half, musing on love and adding to the pensive tone of the event.
The band was led by Marva Newton (Kairi Kaiso) on guitar and featured Janine Xavier (Xavier Strings) on violin, Anton Ricardo on bass and James Fenton on percussion. The band has evolved a sound that is just right for Osman’s material: spacious, rhythmic and melodic.
Newton’s strumming anchored the music, while Xavier added dimension, having some fun interacting with Osman’s flute as well. The Guyana-born Osman performed a poem by Leroy Clarke, which she crafted with a melodic refrain. She also performed several of her own compositions, such as You, Let It Go, You Move Me and New Blues, as well as Andre Tanker’s Thanks for the Music and Shadow’s Music.