Monday, January 30, 2012

Pan Concert

Last week, one of the taxi drivers arranged for a group of us to visit a "pan yard", the rehearsal venue for a Pan (Steel Drum) Band.  The band was the Commancheros.

The "Pan" was first developed in Trinidad and has become the sound synonymous with the Caribbean.

 The Commancheros rehearse at the St. Paul Community Center.

 About a dozen musicians from the band set up outside on the basketball court so we could get an up-close look at the instruments.

 The musicians we were listening to were part of the Junior Commancheros although they were very experienced players.  Aging from 14-18 they had all been playing pan for several years.  The leader told us that one of his jobs is to identify and recruit students for the band at a young age.  Being a part of the band provides more then musical training.  The band members study, practice, perform and compete together but they also have lots of fun activities that are planned for them.  It is a prestigious thing to play in a pan band!  The goal is to become good enough to play with the senior group who also compete and travel to perform. 

 There are tenor, cello and bass pans.

 The bass drum.

 A drummer to set the rhythm and a set of conga drums.

More bass drums. 
Half the time the bass drummer is playing behind their back as they have 6 drums to play.

 Tenor drums.

 Here you can see how the pan has been hammered or tuned into sections that create different notes.
On a piano, one person can play a chord (3 notes) by themselves.  A pan drummer can only play 2 notes, one with each hand, therefore it takes 2 drummers playing together to create a chord.

 This musician is beating out a rhythm on an automobile brake drum!

 Inside the community center is where they study new music and practice.

 A practice pan with the musical notes written in chalk.

A wall of pans in the practice room.

There was barbecue chicken and salad for dinner and a complimentary rum punch. 
There was also a pot of "mannish water", a goat or sheep soup that is believed to be an aphrodisiac and is made from various parts, sometimes including the head, brains, heart and testicles and various vegetables and dumplings.  Lucky Jim got the goat testicle!

It was a wonderful evening of pan music spent with a talented group of kids.
They didn't even laugh at us as we danced along.
At least not to our faces!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sailing on Kool Kat

Last week we went sailing.
I know, some of you find this hard to believe but we did, we do and we really like it.
It's especially nice when it's on someone else's boat!  We can relax because we're not in charge!

 Our friends John and Linda on S/V Kool Kat were getting ready to head north.  Here's a photo Linda took of their Houston Texan flag proudly flying from their dinghy.  John and Linda were going for fuel and then sailing around to St. George's for some last minute duty-free shopping (code for "we're heading to the liquor store!") and to clear customs.  We asked if we could be crew for the day.

 I wanted to be helpful and earn my passage so here I am giving the anchor chain a scrub and wash-down while Linda raises the chain and directs John.

 We motored to Secret Harbor, one bay to the east for fuel.
Kool Kat is a beautiful Leopard 47 catamaran where we have enjoyed Christmas dinner, domino games, happy hours, dinners and watched football.  We were looking forward to this day-sail but in all honesty it was an opportunity to avoid having to say good-bye to our friends for one more day.

 Fueling up at Secret Harbor marina.

 I have always been intrigued by this house. 
Look closely and you'll see that it is an earth home, built into the hill with a sod roof.

Here's the view looking over to the Hog Island anchorage to the east as we leave Secret Harbor also known as Mt. Hartman Bay.  The south coast of Grenada has a number of great anchorages, the temporary and permanent home to hundreds of boats.

 Heading west now and passing Prickly Bay where Merengue is anchored.

St. George's University on the south coast.  I don't know how the students get any studying done with the gorgeous views and many distractions.

 What's this?  Asleep at the helm!
Who left Jim in charge?

Just as I thought, auto is on the job!

 We had a beautiful down-wind sail around the south coast.
Here's John and Linda taking us in to anchor outside St. George's.

One last lunch aboard and it was time to say goodbye and head ashore for the bus ride back to Prickly Bay.  Fair Winds Kool Kat and come back soon. 
We miss you!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Whew! What a Happy Holiday!

To say that I am a little late in telling you about our holiday is an understatement!
To say that we have been VERY busy and have not had time is not an exaggeration!
Christmas day was spent with our good friends John and Linda on S/V Kool Kat, a beautiful Leopard 47 catamaran.

 Wendy and Linda......

Steve and Hope (S/V Starshine, an Island Packet 37), John and Wendy......

and Rikky and his mom Garda who was visiting from Jersey in the Channel Islands.
Yes, Jim was there too but as usual he manged to take pictures and not have his taken.

Ahhhhh, Christmas in the islands!

There was lots of great food, mimosas, bloody Mary's, wine, oh you get the picture.  The typical holiday overindulgence!  It was great!  Thank you John and Linda for a wonderful day!

 Two days later and it was time for more food and fun at De Big Fish's Pot Luck and Music Jam.

 Linda and I helped with the organizing by making announcements on the morning cruiser's radio net, taking reservations and organizing the food and lists of performers.

More then 100 people attended bringing with them lots of great food and musical talent.

 de Big Fish staff singing Bob Marley's "One Love."

You don't see this everyday, at least not in the northern hemisphere.  This cruiser is playing a didgeridoo.

The music jam was a huge success, the highlight of the season.  Thanks to de Big Fish for the great venue.

News Year Eve and we were back at de Big Fish for their annual party.
The sun hasn't even set and we're ready to party!

John, Lorna and Jim.

Wendy, Kim and Linda.

Larry and Jan (S/V Sea Bear)

Steve and Hope

Because they recognize that cruisers rarely stay out late, de Big Fish celebrates the new year at midnight GMT. They had the countdown from London, England playing on the big screen and we were all celebrating at 8:00 p.m. local time!  This is great for cruisers who like to be in bed by cruiser's midnight, 9 P.M!
However, our happy group headed out to Sea Bear for more drinks and to await the midnight fireworks over the bay.  We no sooner headed out in our dinghies when it started to rain.

So much for dressing up and trying to look good!  We arrived soggy but happy. 
Ahhhh, life on the sea!

In between the holidays were numerous happy hours and dinners with friends and lots of football.  We've been able to watch several Green Bay Packer games as well as the Wisconsin Badgers in the Rose Bowl.  This was the before picture.  There wasn't a happy after picture.  Oregon 45-Wisconsin 38 in the highest scoring Rose Bowl ever.  More football fun to come as the Packers head into the playoffs.