- 19 Mar 21
Limerick's Denise Chaila, Dublin rapper Kojaque and spoken word performer Unorthodox Coolock (Craig Doyle) flew the flag for Ireland during the Jameson Connects global livestream show on Paddy's Night – alongside Canadian acts Jessie Reyez, Junia-T and Savannah Ré.
St. Patrick's Day 2021 was an occasion for immersive online experiences as a result of COVID-19. Among them was 'Jameson Connects Presents Jessie Reyez and Friends', with three Irish acts – Denise Chaila, Kojaque and Unorthodox Coolock – joining Canadian artists Junia-T, Savannah Ré and Grammy-nominated headliner Jessie Reyez.
Dublin natives Kojaque and spoken word artist, actor and performer Unorthodox Coolock (Craig Doyle) introduced the livestream with a conversation about familial roots, identity and purpose, weaving in powerful shots of the capital city.
The future certainly looks bright for Craig, who is set to release his Unorthodox Coolock book later this year; he is also currently in the process of editing a self-made documentary, filmed during his tour with The Murder Capital – all while facilitating an online creative workshop for disadvantaged youths. Craig's spoken word art made it clear that the magic of Ireland can be transported anywhere across the globe.
"On Paddy’s Day we’re all Irish, because the Irish said so," Doyle stated proudly.
Savannah Ré kicked off the musical portion of the livestream with a performance of her track ‘Where You Are’. The rhythm and blues singer from Scarborough, Ontario released her debut album Opia in 2020. A flawless blend of Ré’s expressive honey-toned vocals and the intoxicating vibe of the Boi-1da/Allen Ritter beat, ‘Where You Are’ showcases Ré's effortless runs and intimate songwriting skills.
Recent Choice Music Prize Album of the Year winner Denise Chaila was next, performing her hit 'Chaila' alongside fellow Narolane founders GodKnows and MuRli. Her delivery was flawless as ever and she has a stage presence that's the envy of long-established stars.
Junia-T, Toronto producer and DJ for Jesse Reyez, did his turn before Dublin's Kojaque stepped into the spotlight. The Soft Boy Records co-founder offered a hypnotic rendition of his 2020 single 'Shmelly', which he originally debuted on the COLORS YouTube channel. The 26-year-old's 'proper' debut album will be released later this year – a follow-up to his Choice Music Prize-nominated concept tape Deli Daydreams in 2018, and his collaborative mixtape with Luka Palm, Green Diesel, in 2019.
Last but not least, Colombian-Canadian singer-songwriter Jessie Reyez arrived for her Jameson Connects headline slot. Hailing from Toronto, Reyez has become a household name via her signature jazz-inflected vocals and soaring pop. She has racked up millions of streams with hits 'Great One', 'Coffin' and 'Figures' as well as touring with Billie Eilish and recording with Eminem. Reyez is also the writer behind Dua Lipa’s mega-hit 'One Kiss' with Calvin Harris.
Jessie kickstarted her set with her smash hit 'Shutter Island', showing off her formidable vocal strength and control. 'COFFIN', 'Before Love Came To Kill Us' and Spanish track 'Sola' were vibrant heartbreak songs full of vivid metaphors and gifted storytelling. 'Apple Juice' and 'Imported' changed the tone putting an emphasis on social justice.
The chilling single 'Gatekeeper' chronicled the sexism and misogyny which Reyez experienced in the music industry. Her mile-a-minute flow was expertly proficient on 'Roof'. And she ended with a biggie. "This little song is what changed my life," Jessie said, before launching into her 2017 break-up anthem, 'Figures'. It was a knock-out ending to a fine performance.
Fans had the option to donate to a cause close to Jessie’s heart: Al Otro Lado. The organisation provides legal and humanitarian support to indigent refugees, deportees, and other migrants in the US and Tijuana.
Local scenes in both Ireland and Canada were placed on the map tonight, courtesy of Jameson Irish Whiskey.