There are some pretty big names heating up the Caribbean music scene this month and in late summer, heavy hitters in the world of music in general, jazz in particular.
Saint Lucia Jazz, now in its 21st year, runs through May 13, with main-stage performances on May 13 by powerhouses Diana Ross and Toni Braxton, with nearly 150 million records sold between them, and performances by more than 50 artists in all, playing in locations that include Pigeon Island National Landmark, Rudy John Beach Park in Laborie, Pointe Seraphine in the heart of Castries, and Fond D'Or in Dennery.
Other big names playing include Hugh Masekela, Ziggy Marley, Joshua Redman and Melanie Fiona, along with Saint Lucia's own Luther Francois, Ronald "Boo" Hinkson, Richard Payne, Derek Yarde Project and others.
The festival is presented by the Saint Lucia Tourist Board, and is said to be one of the top five jazz festivals in the world. For information, including ticket prices, visit www.stluciajazz.org and for info on the island and places to stay, check out www.saintlucianow.com
Another event, the third annual Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival, runs Aug. 31-Sept. 1, headlined by the legendary band, Santana. Other world-class performers scheduled to appear include Mana, Ruben Blades, Sergio George's All Star Salsa Friends and the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band led by Paquito D'Rivera.
The festival runs at the World Trade Center Curacao in Piscadera Bay. In the week before the festival, concerts with local musicians are held on various locations throughout the island, including the popular party spot, Mambo Beach. Last year's festival drew names performers like Sting, Dionne Warwick, Earth, Wind & Fire and Juan Luis Guerra.
Day tickets start at $195. For more information, check out www.curacaonorthseajazz.com and for information on the island, including places to stay, visit www.curacao.com