RICHÈS KARAYIB continues in Anguilla: The impact of Art & Culture on Tourism

In a two-day event last February 24th and 25th, 2023, Anguilla and its culture have been at the center of this third stop of the Richès Karayib caravan of events. The event was co-organized with Davon Carty and counted on the support of the Department of Youth and Culture, Ivan Berry, Caribbean One TV, the AMA Center, the Lit Lounge and the band British Dependency.

It is at the remarkable Lit Lounge on Sandy Ground on Friday evening that was held a soapbox with guest speakers discussing on “The impact of Arts and Culture on Tourism”. The next day was dedicated to six talented young Anguillians that performed on the Lit Lounge stage for the Anguilla edition of the Richès Karayib Voices challenge.

The impact of arts and culture on tourism

On Friday, February 24th, a crowd gathered at the Lit Lounge to take part of this important discussion based on the varied perspectives of the three guest speakers, who provided a full vision on the challenges and opportunities that the arts and cultural players in Anguilla face within the tourism industry. The historical and experienced perspective of boat builder and former parliamentarian David Carty provided the foundations to understand culture as it is now known in Anguilla, highlighting the importance of seamanship and sailors, who played a key role in the economic development of the island. Closing his speech with a poem of his own inspired by the pristine landscape of Sandy Island, David concluded “I look at simple people, simple heroes, and our humble history with an enormous sense of pride and it helps me define day in, day out, who I am and how I show up“.

From a business perspective, music executive Ivan Berry focused on the opportunities around the business of music. As he expressed, talent does not lack in Anguilla, but there is a need for more business professionals to support talented artists. Capacity building, leadership and the development of supporting jobs are only some of the key elements needed for the full development of the music sector. As he pointed out, “We need to establish the music industry in Anguilla and the entire Caribbean as a viable and respectable avenue for wealth creation and retention“.

Finally, the Minister of Social Development, Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers talked about the nature of the different exchanges that happen in the island between hosts and guests. Anguilla offers a unique experience to tourists, that goes beyond a simple transaction and has a lasting impact on the mind of the visitor. In her own words, “The real undercurrent beneath the blue waters that keep tourism afloat is the lived experiences of the people in this country“.

Watch the entire event here

A couple of days before the final of the challenge, on Thursday, February 23rd, there was a workshop session gathering all six finalists at the high-end facilities of the AMA Center, the Anguilla Music Academy. Inside one of its recording studios, Mijah, Yama, Soddi, Riri, Sami Songsz and Tyree, had the unique chance to learn from their mentors, three top music business executives: Davon Carty, Ivan Berry and Darius James. It was an inspiring talk that gave them insights on how to launch their career in music, stay confident about their talent and explore different music genres, amongst many other topics.

Ready and confident, the six contestants took the stage of the Lit Lounge on Saturday, February 25th and performed their own original songs in a variety of music genres, ranging from Soca to Reggae and many others. As the host Lisa Rey said, “all should be considered winners”, but the judges decided to elect Soddi, known as Asaad Halley, as the winner of the challenge, for his authenticity and stage presence, and for his capacity to represent Anguilla with his catchy song. We will be seeing him in Martinique for the Big Show in August 2023!

After an exciting competition, the evening closed with the rhythmic and eclectic sound of Anguilla rooted band British Dependency.

Watch the entire show here

Richès Karayib – We can make the Caribbean Bigger is a project led by ASIS WI, OMDAC and SKMK in the context of the Interreg Caribbean programme. The collaborative project Richès Karayib is a multimodal media aimed to promote the development of a business environment in the cultural sector in the Greater Caribbean.

The next stop of Richès Karayib will be Barbados; dates and content will be announced soon!

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