Music to soothe worried minds and temper growing anxieties.
In the face of the global Covid-19 pandemic that’s exactly the effect veteran crooner Kelwyn Hutcheon hopes his latest eight-track LP will have on every ear it reaches.
The 86-year-old Hutcheon recently released the self-titled Kelwyn Hutcheon Sings in the Key of Love. He hopes the record has the same calming effect on listeners as he experienced during its creation.
“The anxiety is something everybody feels. It’s not easy. Everything has become exponentially more difficult,” the lovable soloist started saying when he answered a phone call from Kitcharee on Friday.
“My love of music has kept me in good balance. Music is key to life, yuh know,” he continued as if it were the most obvious statement in the world.
For nearly seven decades Hutcheon has actively lived those words. The life-long performer, who got his start in singing as a shy 12-year-old on Radio Trinidad, has become a staple of the Yuletide season with his iconic Christmas covers.
The Key of Love fulfils his longing to preserve, in digital recording, his renditions of a number of jazz and big band standards he has performed for years all over the region, the United States and part of Europe, he said.
Songs on the album include: “Girl From Ipanema”, “You Don’t Know Me”, “The Summer Wind”, “Speak Low”, “Here’s That Rainy Day”, “Come Fly With Me”, “The Way You Look Tonight” and “When I Fall In Love”.
“I’ve been lucky that my voice has maintained itself over these years. Now I can share a compilation of ballads of classic songs that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It seems to be already very well received,” he said.
Still spreading Christmas cheer
Hutcheon said his would be a different Christmas both professionally and personally. Without the usual number of live shows, he is uncertain as to where he will be able to share his gift of singing this season. He has sung at the annual Carols by Candlelight event for the past 27 years.
He also has family stuck abroad and likely unable to make the annual pilgrimage home for the traditional family Christmas lunch.
“We don’t know if Carols by Candlelight would be able to be held this year with the restrictions. That show usually attracts about 4,000 people and we know we can’t do that this year,” he said.
“As for Christmas Day, I have three daughters that have gifted me eight grandchildren. We usually have a celebratory lunch at one of our homes. But some of my grandchildren overseas can’t come this year; that is an unpleasant thing for me. But there is nothing we could do about it; we just have to cope.”
Hutcheon said, however, he is buoyed by news of potentially effective vaccines nearing the final stages of trial in the US. And although he anticipates it may be some time yet before those medicines become available in T&T he remains optimistic that we just might be seeing a light at the end of the dismal pandemic tunnel.
“I’m hoping to God the vaccine is close to being completed. It wouldn’t be available to countries like us for a long time. But I know everybody hoping this thing would be over. I’m hoping that will happen soon,” he said.
Until then Hutcheon says we have a wealth of Yuletide music, both local and foreign, to lift the spirits of the people of this land.
“I think very strongly that the music being played on the radio does give people a lift. It does help to lift your mood and increase your joy of life. They even play a few of my recordings like: ‘At Christmas Your Heart Goes Home’ and ‘Oh how I wish I was a child again’. So I predict we will still have a good Christmas ahead,” Hutcheon concluded.