A History of the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival
The Jazz Festival was launched 26 years ago. The interim period saw much change: in the size of the event, the music content, even the name. Let us fill you in.
The Saint Lucia Jazz Festival kicked off back in1992 as a way to boost tourism during the then relatively quiet month of May. The team behind this innovative idea faced opposition as some believed that jazz would not pull in the crowds – the music did not have a huge following in Saint Lucia plus other islands had tried to establish jazz festivals but had not succeeded. With limited resources but plenty of dedication, the Lucian pioneers organised jazz performances in Rodney Bay, Castries, Vieux Fort and Soufriere. The first festival did not receive much fanfare but the seeds had been sown.
Each year saw refinement and progress towards a more professional programme. In 1994 BET Television began to cover the event, giving the festival a major boost and garnering for it international recognition. As the number of patrons grew, the festival’s time-frame increased, as did the number of performance venues. Pigeon Island, a national park steeped in history, became the location for the finale.
In the early days, the emphasis was on jazz music with an element of R&B. Aficionados came to revel in the sounds and sights of jazz giants such as Al Jarreau and George Benson. Over the years the pure jazz aspect softened and the festival evolved to showcase international crowd-pullers including Luther Vandross, Diana Ross, Patti La Belle, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, Natalie Cole, Jeffrey Osborne, Smokey Robinson, R. Kelly, and the Isley Brothers. The Saint Lucia Jazz Festival was on the world map – up there with the likes of Montreux!
As the years passed the music moved further away from jazz but audience numbers were still high due to the likes of celebrities on stage such as, Air Supply, John Legend, Kassav, Santana, Seal, and Kool & The Gang. But then the festival seemed to forget its roots; reggae and “pop” took over. Established bands such as UB40 and Third World were better at crossing the divide and appealing to the middle-aged fans. Amy Winehouse and Rihanna were definitely A-list but there was discontent amongst many local and international jazz fans when artists such as Shaggy and Shabba Ranks were billed as the headline acts. This was not jazz!
On the plus side, Saint Lucian artists gained exposure. Boo Hinkson, Carl Gustave, Irvin Loctar, Rob Zi Taylor, Barbara Cadet and Teddyson John performed main-stage at the final weekend performances on Pigeon Island, much to the delight of the local population; other local acts featured at fringe events around the island.
In response to the distinct lack of jazz, the festival was rebranded in 2013 as the Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival. The new look included dance, art, crafts, theatre and culinary experiences as well as a phenomenally successful fashion show – Saint Lucia Hot Couture.
In June 2016 Saint Lucia went to the polls and voted in a new governing party. One of its early tasks was an analysis of the cost and benefits of the Jazz and Arts Festival. The result was a new format: the Saint Lucia Summer Festival encompassing not only music but food, rum, arts, heritage and our carnival.
The Summer Festival features an event each month from May to October. This year’s Saint Lucia Jazz takes place between 04-12 May 2019 and will thrill jazz music lovers. For more information visit www.soleilsaintlucia.com.
This article was originally written and published by The Saint Lucia Star
Did Kevon tell you it is poisonous?
What is poisonous? The Ackee you are eating, said Evelyn.
I was about to enjoy another bite of my Ackee salad sitting in front of me in a beautiful ceramic bowl and sparkling in the perfect olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. As my fork remained frozen, suspended between the white linen-clad table and my mouth my mind went into overdrive. What am I going to do? As a priority measure, swallow hard and smile.
Pretending I have this covered, there is nothing to worry about.
Of course, I could not resist asking. So I asked Kevon what do you mean poisonous?
From Kevon’s facial expression it was pretty clear this was not the first time the subject matter came up with a guest. Well, not really he said with that island smile.
Not really? But still a little? What do you mean?
And then he explained. Ackee is part of Jamaica’s national dish, Ackee and Saltfish with Johnny Cakes or roasted breadfruit. The fruit, that is prepared like a vegetable grows on a beautiful medium-sized tree.
The trees at Calabash Cove will produce 2 harvests every year. And Chef Thierry always has an eye on them.
The fruit initially green, will turn a bright pink just before it is ripe. Pink you may say, screaming “don’t eat me I am poisonous”. At the last stage of the ripening process, the pink shell will open up in 3 wings, exposing the actual yellow fruit. This yellow fruit is removed, while carefully taking out a pink vein. It is then poached in saltwater. This will render the fruit save to eat.
Some lovers of Ackee will sauté it right away in large quantities of oil, onions and saltfish.
This particular Calabash Cove dish calls for the Ackee to be cooled off before being mixed with kale, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, olives or other fresh garden vegetables like smoked pumpkin or zucchini.
But Kevon, what happens if the Ackee is not boiled properly?
Well, that could be a whole different story………..
THE WOODMAN OF CALABASH COVE
A Saint Lucia Tradition
Introducing Stanfield Dolcy,- a joiner by trade, lover of gardens and finally a wood carver with passion. Fifty seven years young, he started his career as a forest officer for the St. Lucia Government. He’s happily married with four girls. Furthermore he has been one of the most loyal, respected and lovable “Calabashies” since the Cove’s opening ten years ago.
An unassuming and charming “Saint Lucian”, he delights the guests with his endless knowledge of indigenous plants and trees of exotic wood. Now and then he opens a fresh cut coconut with his machete to have guests taste this truly healthy local libation straight from the palm. Doing so. reciting a famous Caribbean Song…drink, drink Coconut water, drink, Coconut is good for your daughter, think, etc 😉 You can probably figure what that means. Every Saint Lucian will tell you it works ! Moreover, Dolcy also knows, where the best Mango and Pineapple grow.
One encounters his work as a passionate wood carver immediately on entering the property. An artistic sentry post carved from a massive single branch of a Saman Tree, sits next to the Calabash Cove sign. Exiting from the taxi, you are faced with a magnificent Welcome Sign before entering the lobby. He’s expert in utilizing exotic local woods like Mahogany, Saman, Bamboo, White Cedar and White Wood.
Dolcy created and carved all the hotel’s room numbers, wooden menu covers, bill presenters, paper towel holders and most signage around the property. He also creates special commissions from a single piece of wood, for guests. Some of his creations are on display and for sale in Memories of Calabash.
In September, which is usually the end of the Turtle laying season until next April, we announced a photo competition. We were looking for guests with the best images and the best story from the Calabash Cove beach.
Among the entries there were two we like a lot, from John Groeger and Jesse Williams.
Here’s John’s story:
John Groeger My wife and I spent a truly AMAZING week in paradise at Calabash Cove for our honeymoon in August of 2013. On one of the days we decided to take the kayaks out and paddle to rat island. When we were about halfway out a storm looked to be heading our way so we turned around and high tailed it back home! As we approached the beach, we saw what looked like 60+ crabs running towards the water. As we got closer we realized they were freshly hatched sea turtles! The experience of watching the sea turtles hatch and head to the water was truly a once in a lifetime experience for my wife and I and made our week in paradise that much more magical!
Here’s one popping up from the nest…
All of the nesting and hatchings and excitement take place here between April and September approx, on the little pretty beach at Calabash Cove.
Then another story from Jesse Williams
Jessy Thompson On August 1st, 2013, at approximately 9:07 am island time, I witnessed a once-in-a-lifetime moment of perfection. My wife and I had been staying at Calabash Cove (Cottage #5) for our honeymoon. It was truly one of the best weeks and adventures of our lives. As the time of our stay was winding down, I decided to walk down to the beach to soak in as much of the Saint Lucian sun as I could, while my wife was finishing her shower. When I approached the beach, a garden attendant called my attention to a hole in the sand from which baby sea turtles were emerging. I quickly went back to the cottage to grab my wife. With her in hand and freshly robed, we delicately made our way back down to the ocean front where the turtles seen in the attached pictures were making their way from their nest and into the ocean. We were witnessing an event that most people will only see in documentaries. We were witnessing life, untouched, vulnerable, and breathtakingly beautiful. From a safe distance, we quietly snapped pictures of the baby turtles. Like Saint Lucia, the pictures are not photoshopped or doctored, there is no need, they are as perfect as the moment my wife and I shared witnessing their journey to the sea. The metaphor is not lost on us. Our marriage was only seven days old and very much buried in the sand when these pictures were taken. But, like the baby turtles, we have been bravely, unabashedly, and with our eyes on our own ocean, making our own journey ever since. The innocence and hope captured in these photos is, for us, the essence of island life, the beauty of Saint Lucia, and symbolic of the love we shared at Calabash Cove. And that, my friends, is a picture of one beautiful turtle.
Isn’t it amazing that our two entries are both from August 2013 and both from two couples on honeymoon. I am not going to look up whether they were from the same town, cos that would be spooky. Still it is not only an interesting coincidences but also I think proves that sharing an event like this is most definitely romantic. That’s why we think Calabash Cove is a romantic place all over and for many reasons.
One of our very favorite dishes.
Red Beetroot Gnocchi
Yield 4 Servings
- 1 cup boiled red beets 230 gr.
- 1 cup boiled potatoes 230 gr.
- 1 egg
- 2 cups flour 300gr. + one handful for dusting
- pinch of salt (to taste)
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- ½ cup parmesan cheese, (for serving if needed )
- Boil the potatoes (20min from boiling) and the beets (60min from boiling). Drain and remove the beets’ skin under running water.
- In a big bowl add the flour and mash the beets with a potato masher. Mash and add the potatoes and add the egg and a pinch of salt.
- Mix together with a fork first and with your hands later to create an airy and light dough. On a flat surface dusted with flour, roll a long cylinder of dough and cut it in 1 inch long pieces. Place the gnocchi on some parchment paper, one next to the other.
- Fill a large pot with water and bring it to boil. Add salt and one tablespoon of oil in order not to let the gnocchi stick together and drop 10/12 gnocchi into the water. Don’t overcrowd (I did 10 at the time).After 3/4 minutes the gnocchi, once cooked, will come to the surface.
- Remove them from the pot and place them in a bowl.
- In hot pan, add olive oil and lightly sauté gnocchi for 2-3 minutes, then add to the lobster pesto cream direction listed below.
Yield 4 Servings
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
pepper, to taste and set aside.
- Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor or blender and pulse until coarsely chopped, with the machine running, slowly add the olive oil and process until smooth, add the cheese and pulse until combined. Season with salt and pepper
How many times have any of us said that we should write a book. In answer to a question such as ” How did it go with such and such?” you answer “Oh,I could write you a book!”
It is something all of us aspire to do at some time or another. Taking time whilst away on vacation could be just the thing to get your ideas in order and make a start.
Here’s a cool article in Atlantic.com, I found the other day…hope you find it interesting.
How to Write a Book Without Losing Your Mind
Since then, I have:
Called my mom rejoicing.
Called my mom crying.
Considered changing my Twitter bio, then thought better of it.
Considered emailing all my ex-boyfriends and mentors to let them know I’m an impostor, then thought better of it.
Extensively researched three different long-form writing softwares, only to find that I prefer the first one I ever tried
Researched and bought several different types of special German pens, only to find that I prefer good old Paper Mates.
Now just one task remains: Write the thing.
To that end, I recently consulted with some productivity experts to figure out how it is that people—such as, hopefully, myself—are able to accomplish big, long-term projects, within the time allotted, and ideally with minimal psychiatric help.
I reached out to Laura Vanderkam, who has written several books, most of them about the art of getting things done. (She sees your Lean In and raises you I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time.) She has a book come out every 18 months to two years, but most of the writing gets done in six months, she told me. After that, she’s editing and promoting the book. And between everything, she’s blogging, podcasting, speaking, and traveling. Oh, and she has four children, ages 11, 8, 6, and 3.
“When you write a lot … you know that the first thing you write is not going to be perfect,” she said. “You’re going to be writing all sorts of stuff that won’t be in the final draft, including writing ‘insert this thing here’ in brackets. You will make it better, but it’s so much easier to turn something into something better than to turn nothing into something.”
Phew, that’s reassuring. The ugly sentences I see on my screen aren’t really my writing, they’re my little book embryos, with flipper hands and a tail. My beautiful word baby won’t emerge till months from now.
What not to do? Wait till the last minute, Vanderkam says. Besides, if you get done early, you can take a break from your work and come back to it with fresh(er) eyes.
Not that you would ever put things off, anyway. Joseph R. Ferrari, a psychologist at DePaul University, told me that most people are just occasional dawdlers. “Chronic procrastinators,” Ferrari said, make up only about 20 percent of the population, and the only way to help them is therapy. I don’t know if I’m in that 20 percent, but getting special anti-procrastination therapy seems like exactly the kind of thing I would do to procrastinate. I might also clean up my desk—which, it turns out, might actually work. In one study Ferrari recently did with colleagues, people’s level of clutter predicted their tendency to procrastinate.
Sometimes, though, I clean because I feel like I’m not in the right “mood” to write. But mood is meaningless when it comes to getting things done, as Timothy Pychyl, a professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, told The Washington Post in 2016. “I have to recognize that I’m rarely going to feel like it, and it doesn’t matter if I don’t feel like it,” he said. It’s also a myth that you need a “good chunk of time” to really get going on something. The famously productive business writer and Wharton professor Adam Grant says he’ll even use the eight minutes between meetings to get started on a project.
Getting started—and other small victories—might be all it takes. Linda Houser-Marko, a research psychologist at the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation, once did a study in which she found that it’s better to measure your progress toward large projects in terms of smaller, incremental “subgoals”—whether it be a chapter of the book or a small portion of your dissertation—rather than the larger objective. This is especially helpful when you struggle, she found. “The higher-level goal might give you more meaning, but the lower-level goal is better when you have setbacks or when you’re not making as much progress,” she told me.
“If you’ve written 800-word articles in a day,” Vanderkam assured me, “you’ve already written a book in six months anyway. You just have to do a little, then do a little bit more.”
At least, that’s how she does it.
The beautiful island of Saint Lucia has two airports. Although only 26 miles North to South, this might seem a little excessive but the reasons are easy to explain.
GEORGE CHARLES AIRPORT
The smaller of the two, originally known simply as Vigie Airport, is located in the North of the island. It’s too small to land large wide bodied jets and therefore for the most part services, inter-island travel. LIAT run daily schedules to most other islands direct or non-direct. For many years, American Eagle ran a regular, very useful service between Saint Lucia and Puerto Rico. This became the port of entry to the USA and from Puerto Rico you could fly anywhere in the United States.
August 4, 1997 – Vigie Airport, was renamed the George F. L. Charles Airport.
This decision was taken by the Cabinet of Ministers in recognition of Mr. Charles’ dedicated service both as a champion in the struggles for the working class, and as a statesman.
One of the most significant events in Mr. Charles’ career as an advocate for the rights of the dispossessed, occurred in 1945, when he was employed as a time-keeper on the renovation and extension project of this same Vigie Airport. A wild cat strike (the first militant trade union action of the island) by workers on the project, placed him into sharp focus as he expressed solidarity with the workers. The workers at that time were affiliated to the St. Lucia workers cooperative union. Mr. Charles became secretary to the union branch.
The event at Vigie Airport marked the beginning of a l
ong and difficult struggle on behalf of the workers of St. Lucia. It is from this base that Mr. Charles launched into populist politics.
Mr. George Frederick Lawrence Charles was the first Minister of Education and Social Affairs and first Chief Minister of St. Lucia.
Hewanorra International Airport UVF, located near Viuex Fort in the southern area of Saint Lucia is the larger of Saint Lucia’s two airports and is managed by the Saint Lucia Air and Seaports Authority (SLASPA). It is on the southern cape of the island, about 53.4 km (33.2 mi) from the capital city, Castries.
The airport is a Fire Category 9 facility that handles 500,000 passengers a year and can accommodate Boeing 777 and 747 and Airbus 340 and 300, and other long-range intercontinental aircraft. Aircraft maintenance is carried out by Caribbean Dispatch Services.
Hewanorra International Airport was originally named Beane Army Airfield and was used as a military airfield by the United States 6th AirForce during World War II. Beane Field was activated in early 1941 with a mission to defend Saint Lucia against an enemy attack.It was also used as a base/support airfield during the 1983 intervention in the nearby island of Grenada.
The former base was then refurbished and converted into a commercial airport.There is still a disused northeast/southwest runway north of the main east–west runway that was part of the military airfield.
The name of the airport is an Amerindian word meaning “[land of the] Iguana”, referring to what the Island Carib Indians called Saint Lucia.