St Kitts Music Festival Begins, With Calypso, Soca and Merengue

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Above: Merengue star Elvis Crespo (all photos by CJ)

By Alexander Britell

ST KITTS — St Kitts is moving.

It certainly was Thursday night, as the island began the 18th edition if its annual St Kitts Music Festival, which has grown into one of the region’s premier musical events.

A cast of local and international stars took the stage on Thursday evening at the Warner Park Football Stadium, beginning with the talented Fantastic Tunda and concluding with global soca sensation Machel Montano.

Above: the talented Fantastic Tunda

In between, the island experienced a new style, thanks to the merengue magic of Elvis Crespo, who sought to bring his music to an English-speaking Caribbean audience.

Earlier in the day, Crespo told the media that, while he had been born in New York and grew up in Puerto Rico, he considered himself a “tropical music singer.”

Above: the Small Axe Band

And that meant he was right at home on a balmy night in St Kitts, joined by stars like calypso legend Explainer, along with the the excellent Small Axe Band, among others.

The Puerto Rican singer, famous for his “Suavemente,” was the first merengue artist to ever take the stage at the St Kitts Music Festival, bringing a taste of a new genre to the twin-island federation.

The festival continues on Saturday evening as Caribbean star Tarrus Riley leads a reggae-influenced evening.