Happenings (March/April 2009)

A round-up of current events on the Caribbean calendar

Actors Richard Dreyfuss and Carrie Fisher at Bermuda International Film Festival 2008. Photograph courtesy Biff/Charles AndersonBowlers at a practice session. Photograph courtesy Cuboa/Jorge MaiaConquering the waves at the 2008 Heineken Regatta. Photograph by Tim WrightMusician Andy Narell playing Trinidad and Tobago`s national instrument — the steelpan. Photograph courtesy Andy Narell

Not just a flash in the pan

Pan Trinbago, the national steelband organisation of Trinidad and Tobago, is once again bringing pan jazz to Tobago this April. What started off as a fringe event at the Plymouth Jazz Festival has now evolved into a main event on Tobago’s jazz calendar. In its third year, this open-air event – Pan Jazz in de Yard – is attracting ever-increasing numbers of devotees.

Last year there were two nights of performances by local talent mixed with international artistes from London, Copenhagen, Illinois and Chicago. The two-day event was again a rollercoaster ride of pan and jazz excellence and innovation, blended with the likes of Kalabash jazz fusion from Toronto, which added a new dimension to the programme’s music mix.

Pan Jazz in de Yard 2009 promises to be even better, with a line-up of world-acclaimed overseas jazz and pan artists, including Andy Narell from the US and Trinidad-born Rudy Smith from Copenhagen, as well as other local greats like Liam Teague, Len “Boogsie” Sharpe.

The beauty of the event stems from its grassroots foundations, with Pan Trinbago providing a basis for local talent to mix with international artistes, all with a connection to the Caribbean and pan. This coming-together of both local and international artistes provides a full-on experience of pan and jazz brilliance, with musical improvisations and blends that will wow pan enthusiasts as well as the contemporary jazz fans and all-round music-lovers.

The organisers (Bon Marketing Business Solutions), along with Pan Trinbago, plan to combine the two evenings of beautiful pan jazz with the usual Tobago hospitality, food and fun. The two nights of Pan Jazz in de Yard, on April 22 and 23, take place at  RBTT Redemption Pan Theatre, Montgomery, Tobago.

For more information:

(868) 624 9063 (Bon Marketing Business Solutions)
(868) 624-9836 (Pan Trinbago)




Making waves in St Maarten

It’s regatta time in St Maarten. Now in its 29th year, the Heineken Regatta is when all sailors, wannabes and spectators from near and far arrive for four exhilarating days of sailing, rocking parties and Heineken.

The biggest regatta in the Caribbean sails off on March 5 with the Commodores Cup and continues on March 6 with the traditional three-day regatta. Close to 300 boats took part last year. Up to press time, 125 boats were in the lineup and organisers were predicting at least 200 this year.

After the second day on the sea, all sails lead to Simpson Bay’s Kim Sha Beach, where the sounds of Haitian zouk band CaRiMi will rock the crowd under the stars. March 7 culminates with a party at the Marigot Waterfront on the French side of the island (St Martin), where Trinidadian group Kes the Band will entertain.

The curtain comes down with an awards ceremony on the beach, and of course another party.

Remember to keep smiling, because you might be captured by the camera of filmmaker Anton van de Koppel of Quest Media, who has recorded the sailing action since 1990. Quest’s footage has been aired on CNN, the Sailing Channel, and around the world.

Judy Fitzpatrick

For more info: www.heinekenregatta.com.



Bowled over by Curaçao

The word “Caribbean” often evokes white sandy beaches, blue waters and lounging in the sun. But Curaçao, in the Netherlands Antilles, provides not only typical vacation fare, but is also home to a sport usually considered synonymous with American culture: bowling.

This year, the Curaçao Bowling Association is hosting the Easter International Bowling Tournament from  March 23 – 29.

The association, which was started in 1987 by Fares Daou, also launched its first tournament that year. After a lapse of several years, it was restarted in 2004, with Samir Daou, the founder’s son, becoming president in 2005.

Bowling is a popular pastime in Curaçao since it doesn’t require any athletic ability and can be played by young and old alike – although Daou says it’s an easy sport to learn but a difficult sport to master. But you can easily find a six-year-old child bowling with his or her grandparents; all you have to do is rent shoes.

A game has ten frames or turns, comprising one or two rolls, depending on how many pins fall. The aim is to knock down as many pins as possible in the smallest number of rolls, with 300 being the maximum score a player can get in each game.

The entrance fee for the tournament for locals is US$175 and for international entrants US$220. This year’s prizes are a combination of trophies and cash for the first three in the adult grouping, and trophies and bowling equipment for juniors.

Visitors can easily combine competing in the tournament with exploring Curaçao, since the tournament takes up only about three hours each day. Because of this, many international entrants use their free hours during the tournament week to tour the island.

Mirissa De Four

For more information, visit www.cuboa.com



Channel challenge in St Kitts

The channel of water that separates the island of St Kitts from Nevis can be something of an adventure, even when you’re crossing it in the comparative comfort of a fair-sized ferry – and more so on smaller boats. Depending on the weather, in fact, it can occasionally be downright intimidating.

But for a few dozen hardy souls, completing the two-and-a-half mile crossing without benefit of any type of boat is their idea of a good time – and that’s exactly what they’ll be doing on March 29, when they set off from Oualie Beach in Nevis to cross the channel in the Nevis Cycle and Triathlon Club’s Annual Bente Weber Memorial Cross-channel Swim 2009.

The swimmers, most from St Kitts and Nevis, but with a handful from other islands, will be accompanied by a flotilla of kayaks as they head for St Kitts’ Cockleshell Bay. Many of the participants – swimmers and kayakers – are from St Kitts’ Ross University. Race organiser Winston Crooks says that while the kayakers are there primarily for safety purposes – “they reassure the slower participants” – the kayak contingent also regard the crossing as a challenge for themselves.

Garry Steckles

For more information on the event, and to register: www.neviscycleclub.com



Island Hopper

Caribbean Arts and Crafts Festival
When: March 6 – 11
Where: Trellis Bay, British Virgin Islands
What: A festival village, workshops and demonstrations by some of the region’s top artisans are just some of the things on show
For more info: www.caribbeanartisan.net

24th Aruba International Half Marathon
When: March 15
Where: San Nicolas
What: Aruba’s longest road race, from San Nicolas to Oranjestad, begins at 5.30 am
For more info: (297) 582-4987 or 583-6478

Bermuda International Film Festival
When: March 20 – 28
Where: Various cinemas around the island
What: International award-winning films will be shown in three Hamilton cinemas and Southside Cinema in St David
For more info: www.biff.bm

28th Bequia Easter Regatta
When: April 11 – 12
Where: Port Elizabeth, Bequia, St Vincent
What: Different classes of yachts and double-enders compete in a regatta organised by the Bequia Sailing Club
For more info: bequiatourism@caribsurf.com or (784) 458-3586

Oistins Fish Festival
When: April 11 – 13
Where: Oistins, Barbados
What: A village-based festival that celebrates the sea and all it has to offer, along with the fishermen who provide it. A fish-boning competition is the major attraction.
For more info: www.oistins.org