Stingray Citay

stingray-8a

Yes, Stingray City is a real place off the coast of Grand Cayman Island. Settled by stingrays from Jamaica and Cuba in the 17th century, it became a bustling stingray metropolis that attracted young intellectual rays from around the world. Stingray society went through a true ray-naissance. But then human tourists started to arrive, and they had very little interest in stingray culture and high art. They mostly wanted to touch the rays and make them pose for underwater selfies. Many stingrays fled, hoping to rebuild their culture far away from the groping hands of humans.  The ones that stayed became masseuses and masseurs of the humans.

stingray-city

You’ll love the sensational stinging back massage!

But on the other hand, the Cayman Islands music scene has never been hotter!

ABCs in the Caribbean

Just off the coast of Venezuela are 3 beautifully mixed-up islands… Aruba! Bonaire! Curacao!  Welcome to the land of fusion.. the Dutch Caribbean.

Willemstad, Curaçao: too darn cute for words

Willemstad, Curaçao: too darn cute for words

Far removed from the major-player Caribbean islands (and proudly outside of the hurricane belt), the ABC islands are small but full of technicolor goodness.  The culture (and homegrown language, Papiamento) is a mixture of Dutch, Portuguese, African, Spanish, Native Caribbean and English.  The Dutch brought legalized prostitution (you can call it Amsterdam of the tropics) and the rest brought groovy pan-Caribbean music, creating a local style called tumba.  Masha bon!

Hear the ABC Island soundsplash {{HERE}}

 

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sugar mill barbados

Barbados was created by 2 islands smashing together in the year 43,262,684 B.C.  But that’s fairly old news.  This just in: the easternmost Caribbean nation is a buzzing power plant of music.  This is largely owing to a stable economy (tourists!), and a proliferation of recording studios since independence from the British nearly 50 years ago.  Still, considering the island’s population is barely a quarter million, there’s something mysterious about the sheer number of funkin’ bands making interesting songs.  But Barbados also benefits from strong siblings that speak their language; Jamaican ska and Trinidadian calypso were wildly popular in the region, and by the 1960s Barbadians had melded these with local Creole (Bajan) to create a style called spouge music.  It’s heavy on the cowbell:

Another great element of Bajan music is the constant stream of whimsical lyrics, which is true to the spirit of calypso.  In Barbados, the juxtaposition of African ancestry with British customs makes for endless zanity.  In this track, calypso legend Mighty Gabby (he has been Calypso Monarch of Barbados 7 times, spanning 42 years!) sings about his futile attempt to impress a girl in a game of cricket:

Hear these sounds and other Bajan delights on {DE BARBADOS SPECTACULAR}

And also, the weekly SOUNDSPLASH.  Sweet-fuh-days..