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PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) is gearing up to host what it expects to be “spectacular parades and an epic Jouvert”.

The foundation has scheduled three parades back-to-back-to-back over the weekend and a Jouvert that will take its traditional route around the Great Salt Pond.

The SCDF also explained that the Junior Carnival Parade will be held on Saturday, April 30 and, as announced prior, reminded the public that it move along a different route than usual. It will begin at 3:00pm from Le Gran Marche, move down Bush Road, over Prins Bernard Bridge and move straight to Carnival Village along the Walter Nisbeth Road (Pondfill). So the Junior Parade will not take Frontstreet.

The SCDF explained that after the experience it had with children in the parade and extensive heat in 2015, it was decided to separate the parade from the adults as well as start a little later in the day, along a route that’s open and spacious.

“It’s cooler for the children and allows quicker access to them in case of any medical situation. We needed to put the children in a situation where the heat is less of a factor and they are comfortable. This was our main concern,” SCDF Director Mike Granger said, adding that once the parade gets to the Village, the day continues with activities in the Village for children. SCDF’s annual Village Cook-Up, a cooking competition between booth holders, will also be held that same day on stage. The Junior Carnival parade will feature 7 troupes, 5 floats and 8 individual pieces.

~ Kids parade route along Pondfill ~

The Grand Carnival Parade on May 1 and May 2, will take the traditional route: It begins at St. John’s Estate at 10:00am, moves down L.B. Scott Road, down Bush Road, over Prins Bernard Bridge, turn at the intersection popularly known as “old Van Dorp”, pass Vlaun and Sons, up Frontstreet, Emmaplein, pass the round-about at Sundial school and end at Carnival Village. The Grand Carnival parade will feature nine troupes, 20 individual pieces, 4 road pieces (individuals on wheels) and two floats.

“We have some new troupe leaders and some returning troupe leaders. It has not been an easy year for many (financially), but we appreciate the effort that they have put forward in getting their troupes on the road,” Granger said.

As for Jouvert, Granger explained that once again St. Maarten has attracted a number of visitors to the island specifically for Carnival’s largest road event. “We have approximately 500 people who are on island for Jouvert alone,” he said. Coupled with the passion residents have for this jump-up, Granger said the SCDF is expecting another “epic event.”

Jouvert Morning Jump-Up will feature 22 vehicles, 15 of which are band/dj's. The rest are beverage trucks, water trucks and others.

Jouvert will start in the area on the Salt Pickers round-about on Pondfill, move in the direction of Suckergarden, take Arch Road, Illidge Road, Pondfill and end at Carnival Village. There is also several surprises along the Jouvert route including a “a whole lot of water and paint.”

“We have put a lot of work into our parades and Jouvert. The Jouvert troupes will be out in full force and the trucks are fully decked out this year. The parades and Jouvert are the highlights of the schedule. We look forward to having good, clean, safe fun with resident revelers as well as our visitors,” Granger concluded.

GREAT BAY, St. Maarten  – The multiple award-winning singing sensation, Bracket, whose hit “Yori, Yori” has become an Afro-beat anthem, arrived Sunday on the island for what they promise will be a “great experience” when they take to the Festival Village stage on Tuesday, April 26th, 2016 for the African Flavor Concert. It is the first time in the history of Carnival on St. Maarten that an “African Night” is being offered.

The Nigerian duo will share the stage with Trinidad’s soca maestro, Benjai (“Phenomenal”) who arrived here Saturday. It will also be the first time Benjai would perform on St. Maarten.
“There is a lot of energy here and I’m here to share in it and give back a lot of good vibes in return,” Benjai said.

The concert also features Oswald, who will be performing his latest release, and King Timo who said he has been preparing for this show with a lot of excitement. Roxy from Anguilla adds the feminine touch to the roster, with Fred York and the Musicologists backing the artistes.

Melissa Webster, president of the African Flavor Entertainment Foundation, organizers of the concert, said Carnival lovers should expect a “unique African experience.”

“This is not just a music show; this is going to be a cultural experience, with the Nirvana dancers also lighting up the stage,” she said. “In fact, we’re encouraging everyone to come in their African wear because apart from the two tickets to Nigeria which is the grand prize of the raffle, we will also be giving prizes to the best dressed male and female in African attire worth a combined US$1,000 and a weekend stay at the Towers at Mullet Bay.”

“To win the raffle prizes, you have to have bought a ticket and be inside the Village when the raffle is drawn,” Ms. Webster explained. Complimentary ticket holders and those with passes do not qualify to participate in the raffle.

“There will also be a special welcome drink of palm wine which unfortunately only the first 100 men to attend the concert can taste,” Ms. Webster said.

Palm wine is a natural sap from the palm trees of the palmyra or date specimens which is sometimes called the “wine of the gods.” It is used in social and cultural events and in spiritual ceremonies and is considered a very potent aphrodisiac according to some African folklore.

 “We urge the public to come ready to change into their J’Ouvert outfits because from Yori Yori, it is straight into J’Ouvert morning,” Ms. Webster said.

Tickets for the African Flavor concert are available, at US$40 at Van Dorp (both locations), Adolphus Richardson on the Pondfill, Ikemba African Gallery on Frontstreet, Artsen Gas Station in Marigot and from the organizers. They will cost US$45 at the gate.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The Nagico Senior Calypso Finals will be held tonight in Carnival Village.

Ten calypsonians will try to dethrone the reigning monarch Fish Da Mega Boss. Showtime is 8:00pm.

Besides attending the show to hear great calypso and social commentary, Calypso lovers will get the opportunity to win great prizes courtesy of Nagico.

With the purchase of a ticket, patrons can win two night stays at the Westin Resort, one round trip ticket to St. Barths and Free Cable TV.

As for the singers themselves, besides the cash prizes from Nagico, the winner, first and second runner-up will also win round trip tickets from InselAir.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Monday will be the last day for concert goers of the One Love Reggae Concert to get their tickets at US $30. The tickets will increase to US $40 as of Tuesday right up to and including the day of the show.

The One Love Reggae Concert will be held on Thursday, April 28 at 8:00pm in Carnival Village. It will feature a spectacular lineup of artists beginning with St. Maarten’s very own BettiV and MixMaster Pauly.

The line-up also includes super stars Ky-Mani Marley, Spragga Benz, Romain Virgo, Demarco and songstress Alaine. Anyone going to the concert are urged to so so on time as the show will start on time. 

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The St. Maarten Vocational Training School joined in the carnival festivities by hosting a Pre-Carnival Splash and Queen Show on Wednesday April 20th, 2016.

The music teachers of the school spear-headed this successful event in collaboration with management and staff.

Students participated in a queen pageant where they vied for the crown after competing in the following categories: introduction, casual wear, business wear, creative wear and elegant wear.

5 students participated and wowed the judges and crowd with their creativity.

Ultimately, Shenel Haddocks, a 4th Form Hospitality student earned the 2nd Runner-up position, Okefa Benfield, a 4th form General Service student earned the 1st runner-up position and 1st form student Rouvelta Gumbs, won the coveted title of Ms. SMVTS 2016.

Students were also encouraged to write and perform original songs from the calypso, soca or bouyon genres. 1st form student Marvine Milton earned the 1st runner-up position and 4th form Carpentry student Juan-Carlos Richardson, won the title of SMVTS 2016 Calypso King.

2016 Roadmarch King, Rumari Rogers, was the guest performer for the event. He sang 3 of his hit songs and encouraged the students to continue to strive for greatness.

He also graciously gave out his CD’s, with the help of Interim Director, Mrs. Bourne-Gumbs, to students who are on the path to greatness, through their community service and helpfulness at school.

Student Rouvelta Gumbs wowed the crowd with her version of Adele’s hit song ‘Hello’. Ashayna Nisbett, Career Guidance Counselor, performed an original soca piece with back up vocalist, 1st form student Annesia Edwards.

The students, teachers and guests concluded that it was an excellent event. All participants stunned the audience with their caliber of performances considering the short time span to prepare.

The St. Maarten Vocational Training School will continue to promote positivity and creativity at school through events like this one. Feel free to visit the Facebook Page: SMVTS, for additional pictures of the event.

SIMPSON BAY, St. Maarten Bracket, the award-winning duo that gave the world “Yori, Yori” will be arriving on the island this Sunday, from Nigeria, while Trinidad soca sensation, Benjai (“Phenomenal”) will be here on Saturday, ahead of their performance Tuesday, April 26th at the African Flavor Concert, at the Festival Village.

            Already here for the show is St. Martin’s own budding talent, Oswald, now stationed in Paris, France, from whence he hopes to conquer the music world.

            “We are coming to St. Maarten to give a very special performance that people will never forget,” said Bracket’s manager. “We understand that we have a fan base here because of our hit song, “Yori, Yori” however, Bracket is more than Yori, Yori and we will show that on stage here at the African Flavor Concert,” he added.Bracket vs

            According to Melissa Webster, president of the African Flavor Entertainment Foundation, organizers of the concert, Carnival lovers should expect a “unique African experience.”

            “In fact, we’re encouraging everyone to come in their African wear because apart from the two tickets to Nigeria which is the grand prize of the raffle, we will also be giving prizes to the best dressed male and female in African attire worth a combined US$1,000.”

            “We want this to be not just another music show, but an unforgettable cultural experience. That is why we came up with the idea of the raffle of airline tickets to Nigeria. The winner will get two return tickets to Nigeria, which means the lucky person can take someone else with them on the trip,” Ms. Webster said.

            She explained that however, the winner must be inside the Festival Village when the raffle is held and must have purchased their ticket. In other words, people with complimentary tickets will not be able to participate in the raffle unless they buy another ticket.

            “Then there is the special welcome drink of palm wine which unfortunately only the first 100 men to attend the concert can taste,” Ms. Webster continued.

            Palm wine is a very special wine for Africans, which some refer to as the “wine of the gods.” It is used in social and cultural events and in spiritual ceremonies. Derived from the sap of palm trees of the palmyra or date specimen, the wine is considered a very potent aphrodisiac according to some African folklore.

            “None of these will take away from the quality of the show or the great performances all the artistes have promised,” Ms. Webster said.

Tickets for the African Flavor concert are available, at US$40 at Van Dorp (both locations), Adolphus Richardson on the Pondfill, Ikemba African Gallery on Frontstreet, Artsen Gas Station in Marigot and from the organizers. They will cost US$45 at the gate.

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POND ISLAND, St. Maarten - Promoters of the TelCell Night of the Hit Makers concert Saturday are looking out for the wearer of the craziest decorated Night of the Hit Makers t-shirt to present with a special phone prize during the height of the evening .

The raffle for the prize will be made after the show from photos that will be presented to the judges, so all customized t-shirt wearers should be sure to take a picture with our photographer who will be posted at the gate.

The “Buy, Bling and Win” promotion invites music and carnival fans to purchase one of TelCell’s Night of the Hit MakersT-shirts for $10.00 which they can customize to their liking and taste.

Buy now and be the first to get a FREE HM glow cup. Shirts available by contacting Cheryl, Lucrecia or Stephani at TelEm (546-0200 ext 389/125/311) or at the TelCell booth in the Festival Village.

The only criteria is that the T-shirt should get the attention of a panel of secret judges to be in a chance to take home a mobile phone prize.

TelEm Group says the promotion is in keeping with the fun of the evening and also to promote TelEm Group’s blazing color – Red and status as the main sponsor of Carnival 2016.

POND ISLAND, St. Maarten - Performers at Saturday’s for the much-anticipated TelCell Night of the Hit Makers event will be making a guest appearance at the TelEm Group building Friday to meet the press and also some of their closest fans.

The event is billed as carnival’s flagship event, featuring hot performers: Kes the Band, Tanya St. Val, Mika Ben, Jean Marc Ferdinand, Tsunami and St. Maarten’s own popular, Control Band.

Promoter, Bertaux “Mr. Rude” Fleming, of Xtratight Entertainment, is bringing the performers together for a mass gathering in the TelEm Group lobby, to talk about all that will be taking place on the night of the show – including the line-up of performances.

“We will try to get some t-shirts signed for some fans if they bring their t-shirts along with them, or T-shirts can be purchased on the spot,      and we will also have a special offer, including FREE Hit Makers glow mugs upon purchase, to keep the buzz going,” said Mr. Rude.

He said the artists are very excited and thrilled about performing in front of a St. Maarten audience from whom they are expecting a huge carnival welcome.

“The artists are just as keen as Xtratight Entertainment to light up the Caribbean’s hottest open-air dance floor and keep their fans dancing throughout the night and early morning hours,” continued Mr. Rude.

He is encouraging visitors to the show to wear their “Blinged out” and specially decorated TelCell Night of the Hit Makers T-shirts to the show Saturday or wear red, to catch the judge’s eye and win a fabulous prize of a mobile phone package.

“We have been promoting not stop since December last year with many, many specials and now we are down to the wire with very few tickets left,” said the promoter.

He has once again thanked main sponsor, TelEm Group, for opening up their doors to the artists on Friday.

The performers are scheduled to arrive at 4:00 pm for a short press conference in which members of the local media will be invited to pose questions to the artists, promoters and sponsor.

COLE BAY, St. Maarten – Lagoonies Bistro and Bar will host Antiguan band Sound Citizens for a fantastic night of free live music on Saturday, April 30th, beginning at 8:30pm

 
Sound Citizens bring together Brazilian, Caribbean, British and Spanish musical influences to create swunk: their unique, irresistibly danceable fusion of soul-drenched swing, funk, reggae and Brazilian roots music. Their triumphant first album MIA [Made in Antigua] was recorded by renowned sound engineer Stevie Jackson, who has previously worked with Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney, and they will be releasing their second album “Swunk” soon. The free April 30th concert gives island residents and visitors the opportunity to experience the swunk for themselves.
 
“Our mission at Lagoonies is to bring new music and musicians to the public, as well as great bistro-style food,” explains Olivia Roudon, director of Lagoonies Bistro and Bar, “so we're really psyched to welcome Sound Citizens to the island for this show!” Roudon and her partner Stephen Winkel are keen supporters of both international and local musicians, and can proudly say that some of St. Martin's outstanding home-grown talent got their start at Lagoonies. They regularly host artists from this island and around the globe, kicking into high gear after last year's hugely successful Orange Grove concert, and are excited to showcase Sound Citizens. “It's going to be an unforgettable evening so get ready to dance!” says Roudon.
 
The concert starts at 8:30pm, and is free and open to the public. Reservations are recommended for dinner, and can be booked at +1 (721) 544-3703. This event is made possible by Lagoonies' media partner Island 92 and the generous sponsorship of Amstel Bright and Mount Gay. For more information about the event, visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lagoonies-Bistro-and-Bar/341082047532, and visit http://soundcitizens.com to learn more about the band.
 
Lagoonies Bistro and Bar is accessible by land or by sea. By land, it's located at Wellington Road 33-35 between ELECTEC and FKG in Cole Bay. By sea, it's located at the Lagoon Marina, on Simpson Bay Lagoon between Budget Marine and Island Water World.

ROSEAU, Dominica - Discover Dominica Authority announced the inclusion of the Cadence All Starts for the 7th Dominica’s Jazz ‘n Creole Festival.
The performance on May 15, 2016 at the Cabrits National Park will showcase the musical talent of Dominica’s top musicians.

The Cadence All Stars will feature Fitzroy Williams, founding member of Exile One band and cadencelypso icon; Cornell Phillip, bouyon music pioneer and keyboardist extradorinaire; versatile guitarist Jerry Moulon;   drummer Jason Joseph, aka Froggie   who performs with the Triple Kay Band; and bass guitarist Freddie Nicholas, of Bill O Men and mighty Arrow fame. 

Lead singers are  Carlyn Xavier- Phillip and Joy Stoute,  who have held their own in the musical field.  Caryln  is a member of C Squared and Fanatik Band and won the 2016 Carnival Bouyon Monarch; Joy Stoute was  a past winner of Q 95 Talent Search competition and has represented Dominica at various regional musical  contests.

Marketing Executive at Discover Dominica Authority Monique Jacob, stated that the Cadence all stars will make the event “well rounded with Jazz and Creole music.”

Digicel brand ambassador Michele Henderson noted that Digicel’s sponsorship of Jazz ‘n Creole for the past six years have been “solidifying its desire to help sustain culture and to promote Dominican artistes and to promote the island …. as a whole.”  As the Gold Partner for the 7th Dominica’s Jazz ‘n Creole, Digicel will not only promote the event locally, but will also promote the festival to jazz enthusiasts in the French territories of Guadeloupe and Martinique.   

Other artistes carded   to perform at the festival this year are Andy Narell Quartet, Cameron Pierre and Breve, Soft and Elan Parlé. 

Confirmed partners for Dominica’s  Jazz ‘n Creole are Gold Sponsor Digicel, Business Partners Dominica Brewery & Beverages Ltd, Fine Foods Inc, HHV Whitchurch & Co. Ltd, Rejens Hotel, West Indies oil, Courts Dominica, Rainbow Rentals, DA Vibes, Vibes Radio, DBS Radio, Kairi FM, The Sun Newspaper, The Chronicle, Dominica News Online and Le Pelican newspaper in St. Martin.

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