Get ready, music lovers! A celebration of Creole music and culture is taking over the nature island of Dominica and they are welcoming everyone to come and share in the fun. In fact, the island always gets caught up in the spirit of celebration about this time of year, culminating on the weekend of October 28-30 when its World Creole Music Festival becomes the centre of the Creole universe.
What constitutes Creole music? Promoter Prince Wadix (Leroy Wadix Charles) says it’s a melting pot of flavours with contributions from everywhere, much of it having evolved right on the island of Dominica. Back in the 1970s, Gordon Henderson, Jeff Joseph created a style known as Cadence-lypso. This precursor to Zouk has put the nature island on the map of world music. Other musical styles have their roots in Dominica as well and those will also be performed during the festival, including Jing-ping and Bouyon.
But there is more, because the festival will showcase a broad spectrum of musical styles, while always keeping that Creole flavour in the mix. You’ll find Jazz, Soca, Reggae, Dancehall, Kompa, Zouk, Pop and Afrobeat flavouring the pot. Don’t miss out! The whole week of October 24-30 is all about jamming with music-makers. The party starts with four days of Creole in the Park, held in Roseau’s beautiful Botanical Gardens. This family-oriented event features Creole food and music daily, beginning at midday and continuing until 7:00pm. That builds up to the big event “World Creole Music Festival” on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
On Friday, October 28, you can totally immerse yourself in Creole! The radio airwaves will be flooded with the Creole language, and everyone will wear traditional Creole fashion and enjoy real Creole food. And, of course, the big concerts also start on Friday. Soak in the righteous Afro-beat rhythms of Timaya from Nigeria, sway with Midnight Groovers (the kings of cadence-lypso music) and satisfy your zouk-hungry soul with Le Grand Mechant Zouk. Round off the night with some Kompa music from Kreyol La and some Bouyon music from Triple Kay International and you’ll be feeling the love for sure.
By Saturday, October 29, look for the “Fugees” man himself, Wyclef Jean, and the Grammy award winning reggae band Morgan Heritage. Don’t miss out on Extasy Band and Queen of Cadence-lypso, Ophelia. The traditional Jing-ping will be performed by Dédé St. Prix and the show rounds out with some hip-moving soca from Kes the Band (of Trinidad) and Mr. Killer (of Grenada).
The show will climax Sunday with Jazz Creole from an amazing Dominican guitarist named Breve, a surprising German reggae band called Gentlemen, and the riotously popular Asa Banton. You’ll see Akon melt all the ladies in the audience and Michele Henderson (Cadence-lypso) and T Micky (Kompa) will bring them back to life! Dominicans are not fooling around, you know, because after all that, they rest a couple of days and then pick up again with their independence celebrations on November 3. Bless their Creole souls! What this world needs more of is their music, dance, culture and love – and they know how to bring it!
This year will be more important than ever, because last year’s festival was halted due to the passing of Tropical Storm Erika. Dominicans are now ready to dance, sing and share the love of their culture and the beauty of their island with all their neighbours. Prince Wadix says the island thanks everyone for their solidarity most of all, during Dominica’s time of recovery and for their continued support to keep the music alive and strong.
Make your plans now to travel to Dominica via BVI Airways, LIAT or Winair. Flights from the Grand Case airport to Guadeloupe are another option as there are multiple ferries between Guadeloupe and Dominica daily. Check the festival’s website to purchase tickets and to arrange accommodations on the island. Tickets are US $45 nightly and $125 for the season.