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Caribbean Music Scene

The winter and spring seasons are also the high period for taking advantage of the ideal outdoor conditions for enjoying the best of the many music traditions celebrated round the Caribbean at festivals, smaller street events or concerts – and promoters, groups and musicians are more active than ever to reach appreciative audiences during these months. Jazz, blues, reggae, soca, dancehall, traditional island beats? It all gets out there at this time of year. How to best describe the range and the event? Maybe by telling you about it in terms of musical genre and location, with highlights like these:

Reggae Time:

Anguilla may be among the smallest of independent islands, but it’s also a big draw on the Caribbean music scene with its well-established Moonsplash Music Festival at Rendezvous Beach at the end of March. The inspiration of founder and local music legend Bankie Banx, you are treated to three days and nights of music, food and fun at his funky beach bar, The Dune Preserve. Happens on the weekend of the full moon in March, showcasing both Caribbean and international talent.

It may have a reputation as being among the most British of Caribbean islands, but Barbados also knows how to stage a celebration of regional music with its own Barbados Reggae Festival during the second half of April. It’s a week-long live series of reggae music performances on the Bajan beach.

Jazz and Blues Days:

Another high point for music lovers on Barbados is their annual Barbados Jazz Festival in January. It’s a week event that sees both local an international jazz names performing onstage at various locations around the island.  Their next event takes place over January 10 – 16, 2011.

Later the same month, Jamaica is the focal jazz point with the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival – featuring performers from both jazz, blues, and also reggae, R&B, soul, latin and world music categories. This coming year it happens between January 23 – 29, 2011, and attendees can also look forward to savoring the foods, art displays and crafts that participate at this landmark event on the north coast.

Springtime sees the south Caribbean enjoying first-class jazz performance at the Tobago Jazz Experience. While Tobago may be considered a hideaway destination, this hasn’t stopped the island from drawing global artists for this newly created jazz affair in recent times such as Erykah Badu, Chaka Khan and George Benson. The upcoming event takes place over late April.

Classical and More:

Spanning cultures and tastes is something that Barbados seems to do well in more than one field, and music is no exception. The experience is called Holders Season, and for the spring season it brings to audiences a world of opera, classical, jazz, Latin and Caribbean music in performances in the open-air gardens of historic Holders Plantation House, owned by Wendy Kidd.   This coming year, their program runs from March 19 – April 2.

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