Cayman adds its touch to CARIFESTA  

A troupe of youthful Caymanian dancers treated their Caribbean audience to another ingredient in the regional cultural melting pot of CARIFESTA XIII – a musical blend chockfull of Latin and Jamaican influences.

When Dance Cayman entered the stage in the car park of the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on Monday, they immediately contrasted the previous energy-filled St Vincent and the Grenadines presentation which was dominated by pulsating beats, enthralling Garifuna flounces, and top-notch regional calypso and soca performers.

The serene movements of the Dance Cayman performing artistes, meantime, was in sync with the Caymanian song, The Sea, which simultaneously summoned Central American and Jamaican images representing the strongest cultural influences on Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac which form the Cayman Islands.

Their dance to The Sea was an ode to the Caymanian way of life that radically changed only in the latter half of the 20th Century.

Caymanians fondly refer to their territory as the land that time forgot.

“In their isolation, Caymanians relied very much on the bounty of the ocean for their survival and livelihood. This bounty did not only provide food and salvage, but it carried people, news, culture and music from as far away as Europe and Africa to these isolated and unknown islands,” wrote a Caymanian chronicler, Natasha Kozaily.

The dancers were followed on stage by the musical ensemble Swanky Kitchen Band, some of whose renditions further established the connection to their physically closest neighbour, with music that can be properly described as an offshoot of Jamaican Mento.

Swanky Kitchen Band keeps up in name and its musical renditions, a long discontinued Cayman tradition that saw impromptu music groups start up in the kitchens of Caymanian homes.

Source: By George Alleyne

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