Local teen pannist in finals of international contest

Screengrab of Jahfari Hazelwood (far left) and three other local musicians playing ‘Stuck in Quarantine’ for the 2020 Commonwealth Composition Challenge finals
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By Latrishka Thomas

With the use of tranquil notes, a young Antiguan and Barbudan musician is hoping to woo voters with his steelpan rendition of an original piece called ‘Stuck in Quarantine’.

Residents are being encouraged to vote for 17-year-old Jahfari Hazelwood who made it to the finals of the Commonwealth Composition Challenge 2020.

Hazelwood was the sole competitor from the Caribbean who made it to the finals, along with 11 other school-aged individuals from across the world.

He was shortlisted for his composition which he told Observer is meant to evoke feelings associated with being under lockdown.

“The piece was created to project the feelings that I had during quarantine, which was that we are on lockdown, we are all stuck inside. It was pretty boring most of the time, so I tried to compose a piece based on that feeling.

“Just a nice kind of calm feeling because we were all inside, nothing much going on, everybody was more or less just relaxing. The original piece was made complete with accompaniment from other local musicians,” Hazelwood explained.

The ambient composition was enhanced by Khan Cordice on the triple guitar, Daniel McIntosh playing the saxophone, and Kareem King on drums.

Hazelwood, who began exploring music at the age of four, is encouraging other youths to hone in on their craft.

“I was introduced to music classes and different instruments and I ended up getting really into music along the way. I would recommend [to other youngsters] that they listen to a bunch of other compositions and, maybe, get ideas from them and just to keep working at it and never get discouraged,” he said

Residents can vote by visiting the ‘Cultural Development Division-Antigua and Barbuda’ Facebook page and clicking the link provided.

After the votes are tallied, three awards will be presented.

The Commonwealth Composition Challenge 2020 winner will be decided and announced by the adjudicators, while the Commonwealth International Composition Award will be determined by whichever piece receives the greatest number of online audience votes.

There will also be a Young Adjudicators’ Award.

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