A unique adventure

For sure, Ella Figerald or Mel Torme — two American Jazz icons and Grammy Award winners — will not be at the Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari lift-off in Barbados this weekend, but the five-night jazz extravaganza will not be lacking in quality, performance and variety as local, Caribbean and international jazz players will be present.

The safari, billed as a jazz adventure and musical ride, was launched in New York in November at the chic Tryst Lounge, when Damal Investments representatives and several Caribbean tourism authorities and jazz enthusiasts symbolically formed a human chain link as an anchor, as a bond of support and commitment to a successful jazz adventure, which will also make stops in Antigua and St. Vincent in March and end in Grenada in April, 2013.

CEO of the CTO, Hugh Riley, sent his best wishes and said: “The CTO is fully supportive of this new and innovative series of events, which will enhance the regional tourism product and bring jazz fans special packages to experience regional and international talent in some of the most stunning outdoor venues in the region. We are delighted to see the involvement of our member countries.”

At the launch, Aja, the master of ceremonies, was excited not only for the jazz journey but for Tom Hinds, who he praised for his efforts to promote jazz in Barbados and the Caribbean. He noted that this effort, Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari, was the brainchild of Hinds, the managing director of Damal Investments and well known promoter of quality jazz events at his scenic Naniki Restaurant and Lush Life Resort in St. Joseph Barbados.

“Come on, let us congratulate the man,” said Aja, an international artist himself and who was now the self appointed cheerleader and chief whip. Hinds, who thank everyone for coming, stated that the safari concept reflected the excitement of the event and its movement across the Caribbean.

“The show will treat jazz fans to both Caribbean and international performers of the highest calibre in exotic settings,” Hinds said, adding that the event would also create opportunities for Caribbean musicians to gain international acclaim and strengthen their global networks.

According to the press release of the organisers, the event also had an educational focus and quoted Hinds as follows:

“An important part of the project is our partnership with the Travelling Guitar Foundation to further the musical education of young students who wish to become professional musicians.”

In the release Hinds also lauded the launch of the regional chapter of the Travelling Guitar Foundation, which will help develop sustainable music education programmes in the region.

It added that the Barbados leg of the inaugural Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari would feature energised live performances of quality international and regional jazz acts headlined by T S Monk, Nnenna Freelon, Cedar Walton, Mario Canonge, Elan Trotman, Jeff Lorber and Melanie Fiona from Jan 17 to 21 at the Barbados Hilton’s Old Fort, the Frank Collymore Hall, Harrison Cave, Ilaro Court and the Naniki Amphitheatre, St. Joseph.

Pledges of support were made by Sylma Brown, the director of CTO, and representatives from the Barbados Tourism Authority and St. Vincent Tourist Board.

There was a 15-minute jazz duet presentation by two well known Caribbean artistes from Boston.

In attendance was renowned musician, calypso arranger, teacher and Vincentian, Frankie Mckintosh. weuandi@aol.com

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