Coffee Cup Conversations
By Can Gazi
"You're simply the best, better than all the rest, better than anyone, anyone I ever met". For all you Tina Turner fans you'll know that those are the words to a very famous song of hers called "The Best". Recently I was lucky enough to meet up with a very popular lady named Kinisha, who is an outstanding tribute singer to the legendary music star; dare I say it -and please excuse the pun- she may be one of "the best".
The Courtyard Inn, situated in Karakum, Girne, is a well established restaurant and bar in North Cyprus and was recently the venue for Kinisha's live act. Over two nights the music loving TRNC public was treated to a rockin' evening as Kinishia dressed, danced and most importantly sounded like Tina. Kinisha is friends with a local musician, Kelvin Burke, and I had the pleasure of chatting with them both to find out more about their love of music.
Kelvin Burke is a modest man who has been living in North Cyprus for a few years. With live entertainment drawing in the crowds at restaurants and bars across the country, he thought it would be great to invite Kinisha out on a busman's holiday. Her working life back in the UK sees her successfully impersonating the queen of rock and blues, and so Kinisha gratefully accepted the invitation to come out to North Cyprus; her first trip to our small island. Joined by her husband and manager Barry Williams, the pair enjoyed a pleasant break and a sell out two night gig at the Courtyard Inn.
Chatting over coffee with Kelvin, he tells me that he is amazed by the amount of talent there is in North Cyprus. He has worked with many musicians and instead of the normal playback routine Kinishia performs to back home, he wanted her to sing with a live band supporting her. Local musicians Koray Bali, Tolga Erzurumlu, Naim Korudağ, Ivan Lavrentev and Kelvin himself all learnt the songs that Kinisha wanted to sing and were extremely professional in every way possible.
I have to admit that I was amazed when Kinisha told me that she used to be a civil servant. Literally overnight she decided that life was too short and that she wanted to pursue her dream of being a singer. She didn't intend to look or sound like Tina Turner, but as time went by she realised she could sing her songs and imitate her dance moves. With the trademark bushy hair wig and high heels packed in her bag, the usually bashful Kinisha easily transforms into one of the most recognisable music icons of modern times.
Kinisha has only good things to say about her time in North Cyprus and hopes to return to island again, maybe a repeat performance next year? Who knows! The Turkish Cypriot hospitality won her over and she was comfortable singing with the boys in the band and getting the guests at the Courtyard Inn up onto the dance floor. After organising this successful event Kelvin hopes to bring other tribute acts to the TRNC. He believes that these types of acts keep the original artists alive. "If they are not out there touring, or are no longer with us, then the only chance to see your favourite singer(s) is to watch a tribute act" says Kelvin. Thanks to Kinisha the sparkle and energy of Tina Turner came alive for a few hours in North Cyprus, and for that we are grateful.