Gathering in the Grenadines: Carriacou Maroon and String Band Festival

Words by Jesse Serwer—

Carriacou String Festival

For such a small place, Carriacou sure has a lot of culture. Officially a part of Grenada, the “land of reefs” is just 13 square miles in size and home to just about 8,000 people. But not only does it have one of the most unique and distinctive carnivals in the Caribbean, Shakespeare Mas, it now has a remarkable international music festival, too.

The Carriacou Maroon and String Band Music Festival was founded in 2010 to boost the island’s international profile by spotlighting its distinctive Maroon cultural traditions, most notably its famed string bands. (Carriacou’s traditional Parang Festival, held the weekend before Christmas, climaxes with a string band competition).

The fourth edition of the festival, which kicks off this Friday, April 26 and goes through Sunday, features performances by string bands from Carriacou, Grenada and sister island, Petit Martinique, as well as Trinidad, Tortola and St. Vincent, and quadrille dance groups from Suriname and Venezuela. In addition to music and dance, the festival incorporates other Maroon traditions such as its so-called “smoked foods.” Watch the video below for a taste of the Carriacou Maroon and String Band Festival’s flavor.

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