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Michael Shawn Harris Makes a Joyful Noise at the Synagogue

Michael Sean Harris and Friends at the Shaare Shalom Synagogue

Michael Sean Harris and a cadre of young musicians tested the acoustic capacity of the Shaare Shalom Synagogue in Downtown Kingston. Sean Harris rich tones and synagogue’s resounding acoustics were a match made in heaven. Dubbed MSH Undefined the performance presented a fusion of traditional folk, adult contemporary and popular music which mushroomed into a sound cloud within the walls of the synagogue and exploded into a fabulous evening of eclectic music.

MSH Undefined featured music with inspirational overtones, enhanced by arrangements which slowed them down. The June 23, event, was a part of the 2013 edition of the urban arts festival Kingston On the Edge (June 21 - 30).

Taitu Heron joins joins the band in bring down a bit of revivalHarris’ rendition of Enigma’s 'Return to Innocence' brought the afternoon off to an excellent start. During the piece, he invited members of the audience up to share the performance with him, and the offer was taken up by actress Nadean Rawlins.

“The way I explained the show to the band is that we're doing the extended version of our music," Harris said. He noted that they would be taking their time with each piece. His band mates included St. Christopher Downer, Hector Lewis, and Mijanne Webster, creating a vibrant sound that wonderfully enhanced Sean Harris’ rich vocals.

The evening’s performance included 'In Your Presence', Public Announcement’s ‘Children Hold On’, Cold Play’s ‘Fix You’, ‘Take It or Leave It’ written by one of Harris’ friends, as well as MSH original pieces such as ‘Manuka’.

"Always with our music we like to do a bit of folk fusion," Sean Harris explained. And indeed, the fused Actress Nadean Rawlins shows her musical sideelements of the performance were the strongest elements of the night as MSH Undefined presented fusions of rock, Revival, Kumina and other folk pieces. He did a remix of a Revival suite of songs blending it with ‘Fi Mi Love Have Lion Heart’ and ‘Manuel Road. The show also blended live and recorded works.

The audience were also fused to the performance invited to come up and sing and dance dance with the performers.

The Shaare Shalom Synagogue, one of five in the world which still use sand covered floors, is built on a history of being able to worship in secret. Yet, on Sunday afternoon, it was time to make a joyful noise, and the noise was joyful indeed.