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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.


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, and visit 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.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Your visit to the Carnival village this year could earn you tons of Fun Miles, that’s if you are seated in the right chair.

Jamie Lee of Fun Miles told our news room that they have placed a special chair in the Festival Village where card holders can sit, take a fun picture and post it to their Fun Miles Facebook or Instagram page and earn up to 50,000 Fun Miles.

Fun Miles will also be taking part in the Carnival parade giving away a wide range of freebies as well as full costumes.

More can now be heard via PodCast.

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PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Legendary dancehall artist Spragga Benz has been added to the One Love Reggae Concert for Carnival 2016. Already boasting an impressive lineup of artists, organizers completely surprised lovers of the genre with the announcement via social media on Monday.

The concert event will be held on Thursday, April 28 in Carnival Village. It will feature superstar artists Ky-Mani Marley, Alaine, Romain Virgo and Demarco.

With the addition of Spragga Benz to the lineup, Reggae and Dancehall enthusiasts have an event which the promoters have described as “pure, sweet Reggae”. Fans also know Spragga and Ky-Mani from the popular Caribbean movie Shottas.

Spragga began his career around 1991. Once known to his friends as "Spaghetti" (tall and slim), but this was later shortened to Spragga. The Benz in his name comes from the sound system for which he used to work for, L.A. Benz, and it is through this that he found his way into the music industry at a Dubplate recording session with Buju Banton.

The famed elder DJ was slated to do four tracks for L.A. Benz but only voiced two and suggested that Spragga do the other two. Since he was new to recording, he freestyled a couple of lines of what would then become, "Love Mi Gun", a popular tune.

He soon became an in-demand performer for numerous producers, including Bobby Digital, and hits followed with "Could a Deal" (produced by Winston Riley) and "Girls Hooray" (Steely & Clevie).

A series of well-received singles followed, many included on his debut album, Jack It Up (1994). This success led to a deal with Capitol Records, who issued his second album, Uncommonly Smooth, in 1995, featuring duets with Chevelle Franklyn ("A-1 Lover") and "Spanish Harlem" (with Ben E. King).

The album didn't sell well enough for Capitol, who dropped him, after which he spent a few years releasing further singles in Jamaica, also collaborating with the likes of Wyclef Jean and KRS-One. In 1999, he recorded a 'clash' album with Beenie Man, Two Badd DJs, and had a number one Jamaican hit single with "She Nuh Ready Yet (Hype Up)", which was also included on his third album, Fully Loaded (2000).

This album featured duets with Lady Saw (on "Backshot") and Foxy Brown (on "Too Stoosh"), and was co-produced by house music legend Todd Terry. In the same year, Benz made his film acting debut in Brooklyn Babylon, and the following year played a leading role in the gangster film Shottas. 2002 saw the release of his fourth album, Thug Nature.

In 2003, Benz recorded a number of duets, with the likes of Carly Simon and Shannon, with the aim of breaking into the US market. In July 2007, Benz co-hosted the Urban Music Awards in New York with Foxy Brown. Benz was nominated for three awards at the first Caribbean Urban Music Awards, held in Jamaica in April 2008. On 31 August 2010 Spragga Benz released his sixth solo album Shotta Culture.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Director of events/marketing company Montage N.V. Grisha Marten on Sunday congratulated all the performers of the 2016 Soca Rumble competition while lamenting untrue comments that two former monarchs of Soca Rumble are reportedly making publicly.  

Marten lauded the winners of Soca Power King Vers and Soca Groovy The Mighty Dow, for what she termed as “great performances” at a very high level. She also made special mention of the first runner-ups in both categories; Kenyo Baly in the Power Soca category and Magic in the Groovy Soca category. “All of the performers worked hard and they should be congratulated for stepping on stage and giving it all they had,” she said.

Not to take anything away from the 2016 winners, Marten used the opportunity over the weekend to address sentiments that the former Soca Rumble kings did not get what was due to them as winners. She stressed that not only is this untrue, it is wholly ungrateful considering how hard her team has worked to give St. Maarten a solid Soca product.

She explained that both singers received their US $10,000 prize from Starz Casino which was widely publicized in the media. Through her connections, they also received the opportunity to perform at the Miami Broward Carnival on At two events Sunday Oct 11, 2015 and October 12, 2015

“Because of our bureaucratic process in government it was until the last minute they were able to obtain the tickets for the show. This happen the day before. But they arrived and because they were not preregistered they meet up with setback with getting into the place. In the end they got their chance to perform and even made contacts with well-known people in the Soca entertainment industry,” Marten Heyliger said.

Both singers also passed up on opportunities that could have greatly helped their careers. The first was to shoot a professional video clip and the second was signing a contract with Caribbean music label VP records (placing their winning songs on iTunes) which could have opened many doors for the artists.

“Montage N.V. has given the 2015 kings everything that was promised. Their comments or rather lies, are disappointing considering the opportunities afforded to them.” She said she wants to public to understand clearly that the goal of Soca Rumble is to elevate St. Maarten’s Soca music and artists to levels of other well-known Caribbean Soca artists. For this to happen, she added, artists must be disciplined and “hungry”.  

“Our artists must be willing to take that extra step if they truly want to advance their careers. When opportunities present themselves. If the artists are not hungry enough to seize upon opportunities to advance themselves, using the Soca Rumble as a launching platform, then why are we doing Soca Rumble?”

“This is most definitely not a money-making initiative when you look at the commitments to promotion, show production, prizes, ect. We are doing this for St. Maarten music. That should be the ultimate goal. We were hoping that we could get the cooperation from the artists to obtain this goal and we hope we still can,” she concluded.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Carnival 2016 is in full swing and one of the well promoted nights was April 15, the night for the Soca Rumble in the village.

Winning the event was the Mighty Dow Sir Isadore York in the Groovy Division with his song “Doing It”.

The Second winner was King Verse in the Power Soca Division with his song “Pressure”. We spoke to the Mighty Dow who told us that he was elated about this victory.

Meanwhile the promoter of the Soca Rumble Grisha Martin-Heyliger of Montage told our news room that she is satisfied with the show and is now looking forward to the prize giving ceremony.

More now via PodCast.

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