BEHIND THE MUSIC OF KENDOL BACCHUS
The Full Story
Kendol Bacchus brings to today’s world-music soundscape a pianism that is eclectic, melodic, and deeply emotional. His varied approaches to piano music offer unique poetic genres and colors. You will find his music to be both reflective and introspective.
He was born on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 1967 when music was going through all kinds of interesting changes. Song writers in the pop world were exploring new harmonies, electronica, and instrumentation. This world surrounded Kendol as he grew up. He was wired and tuned into an extreme mix of classical music at home, pop music on the radio with strong Afrocentric, West Indian influences, and the American sound of those times- these all alongside the most varied and amazing church-based music.
Improvising from his single-digit years, and playing Beethoven and Mozart from around age 10, Kendol saw the piano in his home as an orchestra. Old and worn as it was, he embraced all 88 keys, moving back and forth between his fascination for the classical composers with what he in hindsight views as the prophetic revolutions of Chopin and the piano’s sound identity.
Kendol experienced a “school of music” for the next few decades: experimenting with Christian contemporary music, studying classical music, accompanying soloists and choirs, and playing by ear every genre of music he felt drawn to from the radio.
He was officially a church musician from his early youth. By age 18, he had passed Grade 8 in both Classical Piano and Music Theory from the Royal Schools of Music in London, had won best piano and solo instrumental performance categories in the St. Vincent National Music Festival, and was singing in and accompanying the top choir in St. Vincent. At 19 years of age, Kendol was selected by Grammy Award nominee Wintley Phipps to accompany him in a live gospel concert in Trinidad. He also appeared in the Jamaica Music Industries Award show in 1991.
While accompanying choirs in both Trinidad and Jamaica, he led his own singing groups, through which he kept exploring his love for playing by ear, improvising on Christian and easy-listening pop, and developing skills playing classical music.
By 1992, Kendol joined the prestigious Andrews University Singers in Michigan, USA, and, while studying biology, he continued to lead singing groups and play more advanced classical piano. It was after his master’s degree that he left the West Indies and lived in South Korea for 14 years. There he was exposed to more diverse arts and refined his style, drawing on music of the West from the’80s and ’90s and being inspired by the discipline he found in Asia for classical and Eastern ideas. Following that, he had what he describes as his “silent year” in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Kendol has traveled extensively, both creating and performing music in the USA, Australia, Asia, and the UK. He accompanied recording artist Sandra Entermann of Australia on television, on her CD album Treasure, and through multiple concert appearances in the U.S., Australia, and South Korea. He also worked with American singer Cynthia Winthrop as her pianist and arranger for her album Higher. He has appeared live in concert with Janice Chandler-Eteme, Adrian Westney Jr., the Orchestra of St. Paul’s in London, and accompanying Paul Lee who sang at the British royal wedding of Prince Harry. In addition, the American television networks Three Angels Broadcasting and Dare to Dream hosted Kendol for an interview where his music, ministry, and work were featured.
At home, Kendol has played at the major world-class resorts of Mustique, as well as on the other islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. He has privately entertained the Bill and Melinda Gates family and has had popular musicians and singers such as Bryan Adams among his holiday evening audiences.
Whether it has been recording at Twelve Oaks studios in Atlanta, USA, Grevillea studios in Brisbane, Australia, or alongside Adrian Westney Jr. of Westprod studio and Westney Productions in Maryland, USA, Kendol’s musical journey has been a versatile and pleasurable one.
His most recent works include the piano solo projects Altar Call, recorded at Alice’s Loft Music in Camden, London. This was followed by Pilgrimage and Sojourn recorded at Bankstock Studios, also in London. They both feature negro spirituals and were inspired by his ancestral history of indentureship from India to the Caribbean; it is his attempt to offer hope and bring attention to present-day displaced people groups. His newest release Beyond Words features poetic pieces composed by him in an almost unexpected setting of inspiration.
Kendol currently holds a Diploma in Piano Performance from the Associated Boards of the Royal Schools of Music in London. Apart from classical music, his current passion is to inspire worship and spirituality through music, as well as to bring his personal touch to the keys to create music for therapeutic and wellbeing applications. He seeks always to make God his primary audience.