By Francisco Forteza Martin
TTC Service.- Music is probably the most direct appeal to the soul that the Caribbean can offer to its visitors. Reggae of Jamaica, Calypso of Trinidad and Tobago and Bolero of Cuba have in common the magic of the Afro-Caribbean rhythms, with its percussion born in Africa, mixed with the European traditions, enriched by the jazz and “sweetened” by the rum of sugar cane.
Music in the Caribbean is a vigorous cultural presentation, humble and rich at the same time. The sound of Reggae music and the images of Bob Marley are inseparable. The legendary Nat King Cole shows us Cuba, when Nat use to sings happy and romantic Cuban songs in an old, immortal recording. The calypso that traveled the world in the 50s in the voice of Harry Belafonte reflects, in addition, the hard daily work of the simplest Caribbean people and also their picaresque and love stories.
Music festivals play a big part in Caribbean tourism. It could not be otherwise. Jamaica is the undisputed birthplace of reggae music. Son, Rumba, Mambo, Cha-cha-cha and salsa styles were born in Cuba. The Merengue is a type of music and dance originated in the Dominican Republic which has become a very popular genre throughout Latin America and also several major cities in the United States who hold Hispanic communities.
The Caribbean Music Festivals has experienced significant growth in the last decade as tourist planners have come to recognize the demand-pull of the arts, popular music, entertainment and themed events.
According to a specialized study distributed on the Internet the most originals festivals in the region are Theo Reggae Sunsplash in Jamaica, which started in the late 1970s and was succeeded by Reggae Sumfest in the early 1990s. The Santo Domingo’s “Festival de Merengue” is an outdoor week-long celebration which was originally sparked by Puerto Rican visitors in the late 1960s and has been fueled by summer travel by the large diasporic Dominican population. The St. Lucia Jazz Festival from inception was geared towards creating a demand-pull in a trough period in the tourism calendar. The festival has had strong media appeal and attracts an up-market audience of international and intra-regional tourists.
Caribbean music and musicians do not reject influences. That is the case of the majestic Jazz born in the United States.
For example, the Havana International Jazz Festival first took place in 1979. Over the years it has become one of the most important dates in jazz-lovers’ diaries. During the festival, fans flock to major concerts and intimate events in Havana’s clubs that really get the juices flowing.
You can also rocking around the Caribbean. Last March The Rolling Stones went to Havana and unleashed two hours of rock and roll in a concert that made history on a crowd of hundreds of thousands of Cubans and foreign visitors. It was the first presentation of the legendary British group in the Caribbean.
But the rock has been in the Caribbean for some time and will stay in the future. An offer for 2017 is the Monsters of Rock Cruise, the 7th edition of the ultimate hard rock/heavy metal experience at sea, will set sail February 2-7, 2017 aboard a new ship and has expanded to six days, visiting two additional ports in the Caribbean for the first time.
Next year a five-night/six-day exclusive full ship charter cruise will set sail out of Tampa, FL aboard Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance Of The Seas, visiting Georgetown, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico and feature 15 artist performances, including headliners Vince Neil “The Voice Of Mötley Crüe,” Cinderella’s Tom Keifer, Queensrÿche, Night Ranger, Saxon and Stryper. It’s real. In the Caribbean there is music for all tastes.