By Margaret Sheard ….
We spent a few hours at The Courtyard Inn, Karakum on Thursday 9th August, where we enjoyed a meal and a lovely evening of music from Mr Smile and the Chosen, when he was joined by Jude Talabis and Lenie Dumadag and also we were treated to sessions of guitar music from Andy Cloughly and Grant Spiers.
There was a nice crowd of people in the rear courtyard area, which is a very pleasant dining area and Mo and his staff were, as normal, very attentive to the people who had arrived that evening. We ordered our starters and main course, along with nice cold drinks, and sat back to await the arrival of our meal and listen to the music.
We have enjoyed performances by Mr Smile on previous occasions but had not had the pleasure of seeing him performing with his Chosen guest artists, who were all exceptionally good and there was much appreciation from the audience.
Andy and Grant have recently started playing together and gave us some extremely nice well-known music favourites.
Jude and Lenie sing very well together, along with Mr Smile, and he and Jude also sing together as a duo. They all gave a brilliant performance and are becoming very popular in many areas of North Cyprus.
I had a chance to talk to Jude and Lenie during one of their intervals and they told me a little about themselves.
Jude Talabis is 26 years old and has already achieved a great deal. He was born in the Philippines, his father is Filipino and his mother is Norwegian. When he was one year old the family moved to Brunei where he spent his earlier years.
In 2015 he went to the USA to compete in the California Performing Arts competition where he won 1 silver and 2 bronze medals. The same year he also competed in a singing competition in Germany where he received 4th place.
Jude came to North Cyprus in February 2018, he has a daytime job as a radio presenter with HIT FM 100.9 and of course he loves to sing whenever he can in the evenings.
Lenie Dumadag and her husband Rudy are from the Philippines, and they have 2 children. They came to North Cyprus just over 3 years ago. Lenie sang with a band in the Philippines. Rudy also plays keyboard. Lenie has a daytime job and, like Jude, she loves to sing as a guest performer.
Jude and Lenie met at a party in Esentepe a few months ago and they immediately found they bonded with their singing and Mr Smile has been busy since then giving them training and encouragement to achieve as much as they can.
We hope to see more of Mr Smile and the Chosen, whoever they may be, in the future.