The St Lucia Food & Rum Festival
The first annual Food & Rum Festival took place in 2006. The "Food & Rum Festival" was a gastronomic event to attract the best chefs, wine connoisseurs, rum fanatics and food critiques from not only across the Caribbean but internationally.
For a number of years this was the festival's official site. In 2019 the festival was held in September. Hope you were able to attend.
For the most up to date information about St Lucia go to: www.stlucia.org/
Content is from the site's archived pages. Enjoy the nostalgic trip back.
The festival was used to promote Caribbean rums, restaurants, chefs, and regionally manufactured food and drink products to a regional and international audience. In addition the festival was a fun-packed weekend of food demonstrations from internationally renowned chefs as well some of St Lucia’s finest chefs rum tasting, wine tasting, gastronomic dinners at five star restaurants. There were Rum boat cruises to the Pitons and music concerts in the Caribbean Boulevard with live performances from Third World, Monty Alexander and Arrow amongst others.
The second annual Food & Rum Festival took place at Rodney Bay Village, St Lucia from November 1st to 4th, 2007.
On Friday December 19th, 2008 the St. Lucia Tourist Board announced the cancelation of the 2009 Food and Rum festival scheduled for January 15th - 19th 2009.
The 3rd Edition of this gastronomic event was originally scheduled to be held at the picturesque Pigeon Island Causeway the same venue set to host the Caribbean Marketplace 2009.
Speaking on behalf of the St. Lucia Tourist Board, Acting Director Mr. Louis Lewis said earlier today: "We are disappointed that we have been forced to cancel the event. Through our co-producer Neysha Sooden of Tout Bagai, we identified potential sponsors for the event and preparations and planning were going very smoothly with a small team working very hard on this project. However, it became increasingly apparent that, given the increasing demands that will be placed on the participating restaurants through the hosting of the CHA 2009 only days after the proposed event, and also that it became obvious that a number of our potential sponsors were facing challenges which resulted in them being unable to confirm their participation, the St. Lucia Tourist Board has reluctantly agreed to cancel the festival.
The St. Lucia Tourist Board and its co-producer Tout Bagai publication wishes to thank all the persons and sponsors who had already accepted an invitation to participate in this event and apologizes for any inconvenience the cancelation may have caused them. An announcement will be made in the New Year about the staging of the next St. Lucia Food & Rum festival with a new and modified format.
AN ASIDE: The Food & Rum Festival came back for 2013 and like its predecessors it was a truly amazing gastronomic event which attracted some of the best chefs, rum connoisseurs, food critiques and gourmands from not only the Caribbean, but internationally. The 2013 Festival was a combination of dinners featuring menus from invited chefs, lectures on rum, chef demonstrations, rum tastings of over 40 rums from across the region and concerts.We arrived from NYC for a month long stay in the fall of 2013. The mixture of both a French and Creole influence affords St Lucia an intriguing and delicious sense of culinary personality. Combine that with the extremely fertile soil that produces an amazing depth of flavour within its home-grown ingredients, I was truly blown away by the quality of local dishes available on this mountainous isle.
Update: 2015 we were back for the festival, this time held held in August. Besides eating our way through all the great restaurants on the island, we decided to work off some of those calories by playing golf each morning. The St. Lucia Golf Club offers perhaps the most challenging 18 holes of golf in the Caribbean. Our three children were also accompanying us. They were becoming avid little golfers. Two years previous we had bought all three, kids golf clubs from a great online site I had learned about from my neighbor whose kids also play golf. What I particularly liked about this site is that they had golf clubs for all ages starting at 2-5 year old range. The appropriate clubs were designated by one's child's height and not just by age. As my children have grown, we have bought the corresponding age / height appropriate golf clubs. Our oldest is now 13 and has graduated to more serious clubs. Our kids were looking forward as much as we were to getting out on the greens. Whenever we went to a restaurant during the festival, my favorite being the Jade Hotel with its expansive views of the Pitons, I would wear several of my fashionable statement rings. Numerous people commented on how unusual they were and were surprised that I had bought them online. The caveat was that the site's owner was also the jewelry designer. Everything on the site is her designs. I felt like a walking advertisement for her special statement rings, bracelets, and necklaces. I hope I sent the site, Siamm Patra, loads of potential customers! Whenever I still wear those statement rings they bring back lots of good memories of St Lucia.
Update: 2019 This year we were unable to get to St Lucia for the Food and Rum festival. Oh yes, it is still going strong. Instead we were in NYC where our busy work schedules along with school for the kids made it impossible for us to escape to St Lucia. We decided to have our own Food and Rum festival, all be it on a much smaller scale, at our home. A number of our friends are chefs, so they supplied the food. We supplied the space, wine, rum, and music. It was quit a marvelous night with delicious food inspired by the Caribbean islands. The next morning while we were cleaning up I noticed quite a wine stain on one of the rugs. Fortunately I have a wonderful local Manhattan rug cleaning service I use for such problems. Agara Rug Cleaning specialize in cleaning and restoring antique rugs. They are also experts at removing any stain caused from blood, oil, pet urine, wine, tar, inks, beverages, food, adhesive and gum. With three active kids and two dogs we've had many "accidents" that required Agara's services. As usual they were prompt in picking up the rug and returning it looking perfect. However, next year if we don't make it to St Lucia for the Food & Rum Festival and decide to hold another party here, I will have all the antique rugs rolled up and stored for the event. Cleaning up food and wine spills on porcelain tile or wooden floors is a whole lot easier!
Take a nostalgic trip back to the early days of the Food and Rum festival. It has evolved since then, yet it never disappoints.
The Food & Rum Festival is a gastronomic event which attracts some of the best chefs, rum connoisseurs, food critiques and gourmands from not only the Caribbean, but internationally.
The Festival aims to teach participants about the diversity of Caribbean food and the excellence of Caribbean rum.
The Festival is used to promote regionally and internationally renowned chefs, Caribbean rums and Caribbean food which is fast becoming an international delicacy.
The Festival will be a combination of dinners featuring menus from our invited chefs, lectures on rum, chef demonstrations, rum tastings of over 40 rums from across the region and concerts held on Saturday and Sunday night.
This year, we have a truly star studded culinary team which will allow this festival to rival some of the best culinary festivals in the world.
A festival full of experts from all over the world in Carribean food and beverages, custom made recipes that will make you redefine the idea of Caribbean Cuisine...
Chef Art Smith - Chicago
Art Smith, chef, author, and television personality has brought back meaning and symbolism to the word "table" and has united families and friends through the sharing of a meal.
A native of Jasper, Florida, Art studied at the Florida State University School of Business. He began his career with two internships at The Greenbrier Resort and was then selected to attend the prestigious Walt Disney Magic Kingdom College Program. Following graduation, Art took a position working at the Florida Governor's Mansion where he worked as executive chef for Governor Bob Graham, now a U.S. senator, and his wife Adele. He continued to cook for families all over the globe, including other well-known politicians and celebrities.
After traveling extensively through Europe and Africa as a family chef, Art took a position as chef on the American European Express Train. Once settled in Chicago, he began teaching at Williams Sonoma and later served as a special event chef for Martha Stewart Living Magazine. In 1997, he began a 10-year-long position of personal chef to Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham. He currently acts as the specialty chef for Ms. Winfrey's most talked about events. His fine dining restaurant in Chicago called "Table Fifty-Two," serves handmade, organic foods gathered from some of the best farms in the Midwest.
Art is a two-time James Beard Award recipient. In 2007 he received the James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of The Year Award and in 2002 he received the James Beard Foundation Award for "Best Cookbook" for his first cookbook, Back to the Table: The Reunion of Food and Family (Hyperion, 2001). For his second cookbook, Kitchen Life: Real Food for Real Families (Hyperion, 2004), he received the prestigious 2001 Gourmand World Cookbook Award for "Best Family and Children's Cookbook." A National Bestseller and New York Times Bestseller, Art was selected twice as keynote speaker for Florida Governor Jeb Bush's "Celebration of Reading," sponsored by the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. He is a contributing chef for best-selling author Dr. Dean Ornish's new family health book. The newest addition to Art's cookbook series is, Back to the Family (Thomas Nelson), which debuted in March 2007.
Art is a contributing editor to O, the Oprah Magazine and the Food section of Oprah.com and has appeared several times on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." He is featured regularly on television programs, appearing nationally on "The Today Show" and "Good Day Live" and serving as a regular tasting judge on Food Network's "Iron Chef America."
A fervent supporter of the community, in 2003 Art established Common Threads, a nonprofit organization based on his passionate belief that families (whether a family by blood or a family of friends) all share an innate desire to care for each other, regardless of culture, race or geographic location. Common Threads embodies Art's mission to foster a familial environment where children can learn to value each other and discover universal understanding and mutual acceptance. The innovative program serves more than 1,000 children at seven locations around Chicago and recently expanded into the Oprah Winfrey Boys & Girls Club of Kosciusko, Mississippi. A Los Angeles location will open in 2007. In January 2007, Chicago Magazine named Art "Chicagoan of the Year" for his work with Common Threads and in May 2007 the James Beard Foundation will bestow its annual Humanitarian Award upon him. He also serves on the board of directors of "Kids Café," a nutrition program for children in Minneapolis.
Art lives in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood with his life partner, renowned artist Jesus Salgueiro, tending to their garden and their three dogs, five cats and 15 fish.
Tony Abou Ganim
The Modern Mixologist Formerly of the Bellagio Resort, Las Vegas
2007 Savor Dallas “Lone Star Award”, outstanding achievement in spirits
2006 Mixologist of the Year, Nightclub & Bar Magazine, Five Star Award
Tony Abou-Ganim, currently featured on the Iron Chef America competition with Mario Batali just released his first DVD “Modern Mixology: Making Great Cocktails at Home” (February 2007). Most notably featured demonstrating the art of cocktail preparation on the Fine Living Network program “Raising the Bar: America’s Best Bar Chefs,” grew up in the bar business, learning the craft from his cousin Helen David at the Brass Rail Bar in Port Huron, Michigan. Tony's initial introduction to the business was steeped in the tradition of classic cocktails and professional barmanship, grooming him to become a leader in the beverage industry.
After graduating from college, Tony learned an appreciation for a well made cocktail using only the freshest ingredients at Jack Slick's Balboa Café in San Francisco. In 1990, Tony assisted with the opening of "Harry Denton's", a legendary hangout in Fog City. In 1993, Tony moved to New York City where he worked with Mario Batali at Po in the West Village.
After two years in New York, Tony returned to San Francisco and re-joined Harry Denton to open "Harry Denton's Starlight Room", atop the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. It was here that Tony created his first "Specialty Drink Menu" featuring several of his original cocktail recipes including the Cable Car, Sunsplash, and Starlight.
In 1998, Tony was hand-picked by Steve Wynn to create the cocktail program at his $1.7 billion Bellagio Resort. Tony immediately implemented his philosophy of bartending and drink preparation - quality ingredients and proper technique create great drinks - developing the hundreds of original cocktails for the resorts 22 bars. Currently, Tony operates his own beverage consulting firm specializing in bar staff training, product education and cocktail development.
Tony's specialty drinks have been featured in top consumer magazines including Food & Wine, Vanity Fair, Wine Enthusiast, Fortune, Wine Spectator, Playboy, The New York Times Magazine, Nightclub & Bar, Cheers and Santé. Tony’s innovative approach to cocktails has been noticed by the broadcast media as well, with segments appearing regularly on many television networks, including CNBC, Fine Living and the Food Network.
Currently, Tony’s cocktail tips can be seen daily on the Fine Living Network as part of their “Essentials” series. He also talks cocktails weekly on KLAV 1230 AM as co-host of the show "Taste of Vegas", contributes regularly to trade and consumer publications such as: Santé, Las Vegas Food & Beverage, and In the Mix, and is working on his first cocktail book. He has received numerous awards for his contributions to the beverage industry including: the 2004 “Raising the Bar” award by Cheers Magazine, Santé Magazine’s 2004 “Spirits Professional of the Year” and a Gold Medal for the United States at the 2003 Bacardi-Martini Grand Prix World Finals held in Turin, Italy.
As the National Ambassador of the US Bartenders Guild, www.usbg.org, and Associate Member of the Museum of the American Cocktail, www.museumoftheamericancocktail.org, Tony continues to educate about the history and lore of cocktails as well as lead the bar industry into continually improving the art of the cocktail. Tony lives in Las Vegas where he hones his craft daily by creating, sharing and enjoying the very best cocktails.
Jessica B. Hariis
Is the author of nine critically acclaimed cookbooks documenting the foods and foodways of the African Diaspora: Hot Stuff: A Cookbook in Praise of the Piquant, Iron Pots and Wooden Spoons: Africa’s Gifts to New World Cooking, Sky Juice and Flying Fish Traditional Caribbean Cooking, Tasting Brazil: Regional Recipes and Reminiscences, The Welcome Table: African American Heritage Cooking, A Kwanzaa Keepsake, The Africa Cookbook: Tastes of a Continent Beyond Gumbo: Creole Fusion Food from the Atlantic Rim, and On the Side, a book about side dishes and condiments, and The Martha’s Vineyard Table . She is currently working on a narrative history of African Americans and food tentatively entitled High on the Hog: African Americans and Food.
A culinary historian, she has lectured on African-American foodways at The Museum of Natural History in New York City, The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, The Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC as well as at numerous institutions and colleges throughout the United States and Abroad.
In her three decades as a journalist, Harris has written book reviews, theatre reviews, travel, feature and beauty articles too numerous to note. She has written extensively about the culture of Africa in the Americas, particularly the foodways, for publications ranging from Essence (where she was travel editor from 1977-1980) to German Vogue. She has written for most of the major food magazines Including Gourmet, Food & Wine, Cooking Light, and Eating Well. She has chaired panels and given presentations at the Fancy Food Shows in both San Francisco and New York, at Chef Magazine’s Chef des Chefs, at IACP [International Association of Culinary Professionals] and AIWF [American Institute of Wine and Food] conferences too numerous to note, and at The Caribbean Culinary Federation’s annual Taste of the Caribbean, where she gave the keynote address for six years.
Dr. Harris has made numerous television appearances on shows including The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Main Ingredient, and B. Smith with Style. On the Television Food Network, she has appeared on the Curtis Aikens Show, Sara Moulton’s Cooking Live, and TV Food News and Views. She has hosted five episodes of Chef du Jour and served as the resident food historian of Sara Moulton’s Cooking Live Primetime from July through November 1999 and has served as a culinary and cultural expert on two Burt Wolfe series for PBS.
Dr. Harris has served as a consultant for Kraft Foods, Pillsbury Foods, Unilever, and Almond Resorts in Barbados, among others. She has also been a member of Sterling Rice's culinary council that that serves as a think tank for major food manufacturers.
In addition to her work on the foodways of the African Diaspora, she is also the author of The World Beauty Book (HarperSanFrancisco, 1995), a collection of beauty secrets from women of color around the world, the co-editor of La Vie Ailleurs (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989), a multicultural French text, and the translator of Ton Beau Capitain, a play by Simone Schwarz-Bart, which has been performed at colleges around the country. For six and a half years, she was a restaurant reviewer for The Village Voice in New York City.
A tenured full professor of English at Queens College, C.U.N.Y., Harris holds degrees from Bryn Mawr College, Queens College, The Universite de Nancy, France, and a doctorate in Performance Studies from New York University where her dissertation focused on the French-speaking theatre of Senegal. She speaks French fluently and is conversant in Spanish and Portuguese.
Dr Harris has been a National Board member of the American Institute of Wine and Food and a board member of the Caribbean Culinary Federation, the New York Chapter of Les Dames D’Escoffier, and the Southern Foodways Alliance where she was a founding member and also served as chair of the planning and then programming committees. She is a life member of the College Language Association and a member of the SLOW food committee for the Ark of Taste.
Harris has been honored numerous times for spreading the word of African and Caribbean cuisines around the world. Some of her awards include an appreciation award from Walt Disney World Epcot Center, the Heritage Award from the Black Culinarians, and the Food Hero award from Eating Well Magazine. In October 2004, she was given a lifetime achievement award by the Southern Foodways Alliance. In March 2005, she received the Toque award from Philadelphia’s the Book & the Cook, joining culinary notables such as the late Julia Child and Jacques Pepin.
Ian Burrell - UK
Ian Burrell has been a well-known face on the London bar scene for over 12 years. As well as being a “mixologist” and running cocktail bars across London since 1991, he also managed to find time to present a couple of TV shows, play professional basketball, sing and song write for Hollywood movies and most importantly to become a “Rum Ambassador”, travelling around the world teaching about the wonders of rum appreciation.
His restaurant and cocktail bar, “Cottons”, boasts the largest collection of rums in London and he has personally tasted them all. Being of Jamaican decent, rum has always been in Ian’s blood. In fact he is quoted in saying that his first rum experience was ‘when he was 4 days old and his mother put a little bit on his lips to help him to sleep’. A master “Edu-tainer”, he educates and entertains while delivering rum and rum cocktail seminars & rum education programmes to a growing cocktail culture. With his own style, Ian is always smiling and enjoying himself because as he says, “Life’s too short”, and there’s a lot of rum out there to drink…
Ian Started The Appleton Rum Academy in New Zealand. A Rum training programme for the top bartenders in New Zealand, which included rum history and rum cocktail knowledge and then went on to help launch Appleton Rums in Australia with a series of rum cocktail training sessions in Sydney & Melbourne.
Ian has judged numerous world rum competitions including the International Cane Spirits Festival and Tasting Competition in Ybor City, Florida and well as the INTERNATIONAL SPIRITS CHALLENGE held in London, England.
Ian currently organising Europe’s 1st Rum Festival in London. This will see a consumer and trade show based on the Rum Experience of sipping and savouring. Mixed with some cocktails, music, dancing and fun. He is also planning on rolling out the Rum Experience festival in France, Spain, Holland and Italy over the next 2 years.
A recipient of a James Beard Foundation Scholarship Award, Payne served the “Symphony of Spring” meal at the James Beard House in 2006. He began his U.S. professional career in October 2000, serving as Sous Chef at Le Mas Perrier restaurant in Wayne, PA. Payne’s three-year term at Le Mas, saw him become Senior Sous Chef before moving to Chicago.
For his accomplishments and culinary expertise, Payne has been featured in publications, such as: Chef Magazine, Plate Magazine, Nation’s Restaurant News, Chicago Magazine, Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune. He has also appeared on NBC5Chicago and ABC7Chicago for cooking segments.
Chef Robert Oliver - New Zealand
Robert Oliver was born in New Zealand and was raised in Suva, Fiji Islands.
He has lived and worked all over the world, including opening restaurants in Las Vegas –Rumjungle (awarded Best New Restaurant 1999), Miami – SUVA ( modern interpretation of Pacific and Polynesian cuisine which gathered national press attention)
Robert has consulted for China Grill Management in New York City, taught tropical cuisine workshops at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City and is a consultant to the Fiji Hotel Association.
Robert came to the Caribbean in 2005 for an extended consultancy with the Almond Resort group out of Barbados to develop three restaurants for their St Lucia property. Long a proponent of sustainable business development, Robert developed purchasing infrastructure with a group of St Lucian farmers for the Almond property.
Look for Robert in 2007 in Port of Spain, Trinidad where he will be opening another SUVA. He is writing a book with the University of the South Pacific on Pacific Island cuisine.
Eoghain O’Neill - UK
Eoghain O’Neill, of Irish and Trinidadian parentage, was born in Ballensloe, a little village in the heart of Galway, Ireland and grew up in his mother’s home country Trinidad. His higher education was in England where he graduated Hotel and Catering studies summa-cum-laude at Canterbury College. His first introduction in the work place was Normandy in France working for the Michelin Star Restaurant La Manoir De Barville where he learnt the exquisite opulence of fresh produce in his pursuit for herbs in the garden, fish in the river during service times and feeding the live stock in the early mornings.
He then joined the culinary team at The Savoy Hotel, London where he mastered the nuances of myriad kitchens and gained a strong Classical knowledge of Cuisine for two years. He further benefited immensely by going on to work with legendary names such as Roux Brothers, Gordon Ramsey’s Aubergine and Gordon Ramsey’s at Royal hospital road which holds 3 Michelin Stars, particularly Gordon Ramsey’s where Gordon taught him about the 5 senses of cooking, Taste, Texture, Appearance, Consistency and the delectable Marriage of ingredients.
On leaving London he moved to Munich, Germany where he worked for Restaurant Am Marstal a 2 Michelin stars restaurant that gave Eoghain a great insight into German gastro cuisine where he stayed for 1 year.
Back to London, Eoghain worked as head chef within the famous celebrity hangout of Soho House.
La Pachyderme was a new venture for Eoghain in Paris as Head Chef and received heady reviews from Le Monde, Le Figaro, Gault & Millau, L’Hotellerie, Zurban, Elle Magazine, Entrée Magazine, Cuisine Creative Magazine, Hotel and Catering Magazine, Sunday Times Magazine, and Privilege Magazine
Next, Jacque and Laurent Pourcel appointed him Executive Sous Chef in their new quest opening W’Sen’s in London “this was a very exciting and interesting insight into launching a new restaurant”.
At W’Sen’s Eoghain also had the opportunity to star in a TV series called Britain’s Top Models a big brother style show in which members of the public were challenged to cook along side his brigade of chefs. With his infectious laugh he tells that the real challenge was for him having 10 fashion models in his kitchen but says “there are no losers in my kitchen”
On his appointment with Raffles Resort Canouan Island, he brings his wealth of knowledge back to his roots in the Caribbean. La Varenne is his “new play ground” with a strong team of chefs he welcomes and inspires all with his French and European influences and creativity.
Raffles Resort Canouan Island has received several prestigious awards during 2005 it’s first year of operation, and now Eoghain has personal ambitions for La Varenne to ensure that this superb restaurant achieves top international accolades in 2007.
He also had the honour in participating in The Word Gourmet Summit 2007 in Singapore as one of the Master Chefs.
Set in the luxurious Villa Monte Carlo and adorned with most spectacular panoramic views of the Caribbean, the resort and the islands of the Grenadines, a setting of refined & understated elegance, makes this gourmet restaurant lend itself perfectly as a very exclusive retreat from the sun trenched island life.
Culinary precision to preserve flavours dominates every single dish. The motto of the restaurants’ Kitchen Team is to offer dishes that are of “Essence and Beauty”.
Injected with a classic and modern flair that match a European Michelin Star Restaurant and promises the most discerning gourmet a refined dining experience.
Third World Band - Reggae
After 33 years of smash hit songs, sold - out tours and inspirational messages, one may wonder, "Where did it all begin? What gives Third World the staying power so rare in the music industry?"
Third World is more than just one of the top Reggae bands of all time, it is an institution. An institution that stands for producing and performing music that, while holding firm to the cultural and ancestral roots of it's members, still pushes forward the cutting edge of music worldwide. It is an institution whose themes are positive, progressive and internationally relevant.
Formed in 1973, Third World is committed to the excellence of reggae music by combining Jamaican Reggae and Folk music with all strains of African Rhythms, American Pop, Rhythm & Blues, Rap and Classical music. Third World is one of the longest running and most diverse bands Jamaica has ever produced.
Born out of a drive to write and perform original material incorporating reggae, rock and funk, and a desire to tour and take music to a wider audience, Third World was conceived.
Arrow - Calypso
SlinAlphonsus “Arrow” Cassell MBE was born on the lush green Caribbean island of Montserrat. Today Arrow is an international recording artist recognized globally as the “King of Soca” His songs flavour movie soundtracks and enhance products in advertisements;
His music has led him to share the stage with the likes of Don Henley, Celine Deon, Joe Cocker and James Brown. Arrow is indeed a superstar in his own right
Arrows reputation as the “party man” of Caribbean music grew with his sound. But it was in with the release of “Hot, Hot Hot” things went into over drive. The song tore though the Caribbean and had the whole region jumping. The Soca King had arrived and the party was on. “Hot, Hot Hot” would go on to sell over 4 million plus copies; be recorded in twelve different languages; charting in multiple countries and become the international Soca anthem; to date over 22 different versions of “Hot, Hot Hot” exists.
Arrows “Hot, Hot Hot” opened the door for his other songs. “Groove master” another Arrow hit, was used to add flavour to several movie soundtracks; “casual sex” and “The mighty Quinn” to name a few. Other songs have been used in adverts to sell cars, fast food, exotic holidays and the list goes on. Disney used some of the Soca Kings songs to sound tracks as well. In short Arrow has crossed over to diverse audiences.
MBE (Member of the British Empire) for his contribution to Soca music.
Arrow joined a phenomenal group of international recording artists on stage at “The Royal Albert Hall” (London) in a concert organised by Sir George Martin to raise funds for the volcano-ravaged Montserrat. Artists such as Sting, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Buffett, Elton John, and Paul McCartney also took part .
Arrow has put Montserrat and Soca music on the map. With over 33 albums under his belt, he is showing no signs of slowing down.
He continues to be in demand at venues and festivals worldwide.
Monty Alexander - Jazz
By grafting the traditions of American jazz to his authentic Jamaican roots, pianist Monty Alexander has spent a lifetime exploring the rich depths of musical and cultural diversity. In a career that spans more than four decades, he has performed and/or recorded with artists from every corner of the musical universe: Frank Sinatra, Ray Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Quincy Jones, Ernest Ranglin, Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare and many more.
Through it all, he continues to draw inspiration from the great icons of American music and popular culture. “All these people came from struggling circumstances,” he says. “They didn't go to music school. They came from the street. Nat Cole, Sinatra, Louis Armstrong – they all had to hustle to get where they got. It's that story of people who can grow up in America or come to America and achieve something just because they have this great attitude and they have the talent to go with it, and they reach for something and they get it.”
In many ways, Alexander has lived that same story. Born and raised in Kingston , Jamaica , he took his first piano lessons at age six. As a youngster, he was often invited to sit in with the bands of prominent musicians working in Jamaican nightclubs and hotels.
During his teen years, he enjoyed, among others, the performances of Louis Armstrong and Nat “King” Cole at the Carib Theater in Jamaica
The shades of joyful gospel music in these artists' performances had a profound and lasting effect on Alexander's own style. He eventually formed a band called “Monty and the Cyclones,” which landed several songs on the Jamaican music charts between 1958 to 1960.