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Top acts for CARIFESTA concert

By Balford Henry
Observer senior reporter

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Grammy Award-winning artiste Shaggy is to join Trinidad and Tobago's Alison Hinds, Machel Montano, and evergreen Calypso Rose on Saturday's Island Beats' Super Concert in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

Scheduled for the city's Grand Market in Queen's Park Savannah, the concert will also feature Ricardo Drue from Antigua, as well as Caribbean Festival of the Creative Arts (CARIFESTA) brand ambassadors, Neval Chatelal, Nishard Mayrhoo and Nailah Blackman.

French Caribbean band, Kassav, will also be on show.

Both Shaggy and Montano were booked from as early as January as headliners for the show. However, Hinds was added more recently, after the promoters announced that they would add a third act to balance the line-up.

Best known for his singles Oh Carolina, Boombastic and It Wasn't Me, Shaggy is currently touring with vintage UK reggae unit UB40, and is expected to visit a number of North American venues over the next few months, including Toronto in Canada, Boston, New York City, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Virginia over the next few weeks.

Shaggy's collab album with Sting, 44/876, won Best Reggae Album at the Grammy's in 2019. Prior to that, he won in 1996 with Boombastic.

However, the Port of Spain concert this weekend will have him representing Jamaican reggae music at the Caribbean-flavoured event.

The show is one of the highlights of CARIFESTA XIV, which opened in T&T last Friday and will continue through to Sunday.

The Caribbean Festival of Creative Arts is a biennial celebration of the ethnic and racial diversity of the region, and over 20 countries from across the Caribbean are being represented at the event, including a Jamaican contingent of approximately 170 dancers, singers, writers, fashion designers and about 20 artisans.

The Jamaican delegation — headed by Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia “Babsy” Grange — left the island on Friday, the same day the festival was officially opened. It ends on Sunday.

Included in the Jamaican contingent are several well-known names including: Movements Dance Theatre Company; Rayon McQueen's Quilt Performing Arts Company; Dahlia Harris Productions; L'Acadco Dancers; the National DanceTheatre Company (NDTC) and gospel star Kevin Downswell and his band.

Caricom notes that CARIFESTA, hailed as “the inspirational exchange of creative flows”, has its underpinnings in the staging of the first Caribbean Festival of Arts in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1952. However, it was the cultural and artistic groundswell generated by the success of the first CARIFESTA held in 1972 in Guyana that gave impetus to the call to institutionalize the festival, within the emerging structure of Caricom.

In response, Caricom the Heads of government approved the establishment of a permanent unit within the Secretariat, with oversight functions for coordinating subsequent CARIFESTA events.

Carcom says “CARIFESTA engenders a nostalgic pride among Caribbean people of who and what we are, what we are capable of achieving, what we possess, our peculiarities and similarities, and that which is excellent among us”.