Heather Nova and Arnulf Lindner at the Ruth Seaton James Centre on Saturday night.
Heather Nova and Arnulf Lindner at the Ruth Seaton James Centre on Saturday night.

Of all the Bermuda Festival’s events, this was the one that highlighted the ­incredible talent this island has to offer.

I only caught the last part of spoken word artist Tiffany Paynter’s performance but she delivered her characteristically offbeat words in her usual spunky style. Her small stature speaks nothing of her boisterous on-stage personality. I only wish I could have seen the rest of her performance which, along with poet and dancer ­Lauren Frances, was said to be outstanding.

Next up was Joy Barnum in the skimpiest dress I have seen her in yet. The girl has amazing talent — she really doesn’t need to flaunt it, but I guess if you’ve got it...

She delivered three songs including her epic operatic You Can’t See Me. I am sure there were a few in the ­audience who had not seen Joy perform this before and were not quite sure what to make of it. She performed it magnificently. She seems to be working on her physical performance on stage, at one point bending right down almost to audience eye level and, at another , throwing her head right back.

Next up was spoken word artist Stephan Johnstone who might have made a few people shuffle uncomfortably in their seats.

His slow rap Progression hit some tender nerves with lyrics about boys “plugging their leaky brethren” after they have been shot.

I have seen Mr. Johnstone perform at Chewstick ­before and he forgot his words. During this ­performance, despite a ­minor stumble in his last piece, he delivered with verve.

The 20-minute interval was an interesting affair — there were two very stressed out bar men and throngs of people wanting a drink. I imagine less than a third managed to get one.

Back to the auditorium, this was the first time I have ever seen Heather Nova live and it can’t be denied she has an amazing voice. At best, she is up there with Buffy Saint Marie and Joan Baez with her entrancing melodies. Her song Motherland is up there with the best folk songs in history. The energy from her song Sugar was contagious — it was one of the songs she really projected her voice for.  Her accompanying multi-instrumentalist Arnulf Lindner, who had thus far provided mild backing, suddenly came to life with his electric cello playing. Unfortunately the majority of Nova’s songs melded into one due to their ­familiar sound and subject matter — namely wistful love-oriented songs.

Nova has to be commended for her incredibly generous donation — her $12,000 performance fee — to the Chewstick Foundation.