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CMEA takes Soca Monarch to CARIFESTA

The time for the Caribbean Festival of Arts is here again and this year the Cayman Islands contingent will feature stars such as Notch and his Band Local Motion 345, as well as Cayman Islands 2019 Soca Monarch Vashti Bodden. The musicians are part of a group of 50 artists from the British Isles to make the journey on this occasion.

Notch, whose legal name is Jean-Eric Smith is also the President of the Cayman Islands Music Association and is credited as being one of the progenitors of the Soca Monarch becoming a part of the CARIFESTA delegation; a development that came as a result of the CMEA working together with the Cayman Carnival.

Mr. Smith explained the importance of having our Soca Monarch as part of Cayman’s musical offering.

“As you may know, the Soca Monarch competition was actually started by the CMEA. Most countries in he Caribbean Region showcase their respective Soca Monarchs at CARIFESTA and what better opportunity to out ours on display for our neighbors to see.”

He added that Soca music, is one of the primary genres to emanate from the Caribbean and Cayman is now ‘in the mix’.

In relation to his appearance/performance during CARIFESTA, Mr. Smith shared the following:

“It’s always an honor to represent Country. It does’t get any better than this; not just personally but also as President.”

Mr. Smith added that the Association is also working more closely with the Cayman National Cultural Foundation and partnerships such as this would serve the arts industry in the Cayman Islands imminently and for years to come.

This year Cayman is not holding anything back and with a sturdy cash injection of CI$150,000, the CI Government is definitely sending a strong message about their support for the arts.

Entertainer and Soca Monarch Vashti Bodden has been contributing to both the local and regional scene; performing and releasing original music and representing the Cayman Islands brand near and far.

Accompanying Miss Bodden, as here Musical Director is Mr. George Jones, formerly of the world famous, Square One Band.

The Cayman Islands have been represented by musicians at CARIFESTA several times before, with bands such as the well known Swanky gracing the stage several times.

Lasting for roughly two weeks, this year’s CARIFESTA will be held in Trinidad and Tobago. The event has been held since 1972.

According to Carifesta’s website, “This first CARIFESTA attracted the participation of 1000 plus artistes from over 30 Caribbean and South American countries, giving expression to their creativity in music, dance, drama, painting, sculpture, folk art, photography, and literature.”

Since that time CARIFESTA has grown exponentially and has become the premier event for culture and arts in the Caribbean.

Representatives from the Cayman Islands noted that this is also a great chance to network and look for other opportunities further afield.

The event also marks a return to touring for Notch and his band, as his duties as CMEA President meant his focus had been geared more toward governance and oversight of the music industry in the Territory more recently.

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