Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Friday, August 03, 2007

Bimini & The Fountain of Youth

According to tradition, the natives of Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and Cuba told the early Spanish explorers that in Bimini (Beniny), a land to the north, there was a river, spring or fountain where waters had such miraculous curative powers that any old person who bathed in them would regain his youth. About the time of Columbus's first voyage, says the legend, an Arawak chief named Sequene, inspired by the fable of the curative waters, had migrated from Cuba to southern Florida. It seems that other parties of islanders had made attempts to find Bimini, which was generally described as being in the region of the Bahamas.

Juan Ponce de Leon (1460-1521), who had been with Columbus on his second voyage in 1493 and who had later conquered and become governor of Puerto Rico, is supposed to have learned of the fable from the Indians. The fable was not new, and probably Pence de Leon was vaguely cognizant of the fact that such waters had been mentioned by medieval writers, and that Alexander the Great had searched for such waters in eastern Asia. A similar legend was known to the Polynesians, whose tradition located the fountain of perpetual youth in Hawaii.

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Fox Hill Day Festival

By Chakara Bennett, Guardian Summer Intern


Freedom is the word that will be on the lips of every Fox-Hillian as they celebrate the annual Fox Hill Festival, the oldest one-day festival in the country on Tuesday, Aug. 14, but celebrations leading up to the big day get underway tonight at Fox Hill Parade at 8 p.m.

And you should be there to celebrate with them, as it's the second largest annual festival next to Junkanoo, and Fox-Hillians are expected to put on a show of grandeur for you, because it's a celebration tinged with nostalgia and joy over the abolition of slavery.

But now it's more about watching the men try to climb the greasy pole, and the young girls plaiting the maypole. And the festival which has been celebrated for the past 19 years will showcase 80 food booths spread out over the two parks-the Fox Hill Parade and Freedom Park, as Fox-Hillians make way for Bahamians from the length and breadth of New Providence to celebrate with them.

This year's celebrations are expected to be spectacularly nostalgic under the theme, "People Celebrating People," inspired by the original celebrations of our ancestors.

We are a people that have grown into such diversity in color, tradition and heritage that it is breath-taking to witness year-after-year how we as a nation come together to celebrate our common forefathers and the people who suffered, struggled and triumphed to create this nation of people.

This is the time of year that Fox-Hillians showcase their pride, and this year like previous years is meant to exhibit that pride in self and country in the celebrations which started in 1834.

"We've always had festivities in one form or the other to celebrate the abolition of slavery. The festival itself was established in 1988 and combines the two signature days, Emancipation Day and Fox Hill Day. This year we are having the normal festivities but this year we've added the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Marching Band and Pop Band," said Maurice Tynes, vice-chairman of the Fox Hill Festival Committee.

"We as Fox-Hillians are a proud people. It's tradition. It's the one part of The Bahamas that has consistently celebrated this original freedom year after year. Other villages stopped celebrating as passionately, unlike us. So that's where I think the real pride comes from," he said.

Outsiders and Fox-Hillians alike will be able entertained with a cultural show, which will conclude with a colorful demonstration by the Farm Road Marching Band and the Fox Hill Congos Junkanoo group, with fireworks to delight the littlest and oldest of people celebrating.

On Emancipation Day morning, Monday, Aug. 6, Junkanoo groups in large numbers will converge on the village for a parade which will be the last one of the year before groups go to the shacks to commence the building of costumes for Christmas and New Year's Day. A significant event in the festival in the Emancipation Day Memorial The Service on Monday at 11 a.m.on Fox Hill Parade. The Service will be attended by government officials headed by the Governor General. The festival feast, at which 500 guests are expected, will be follow.

His Story

By BobMarley.com, For The Guardian

Bob Marley was a hero figure, in the classic mythological sense. His departure from this planet came at a point when his vision of One World, One Love – inspired by his belief in Rastafari – was beginning to be heard and felt. The last Bob Marley and the Wailers tour in 1980 attracted the largest audiences at that time for any musical act in Europe.

Bob's story is that of an archetype, which is why it continues to have such a powerful and ever-growing resonance: it embodies political repression, metaphysical and artistic insights, gangland warfare and various periods of mystical wilderness. And his audience continues to widen: to westerners Bob's apocalyptic truths prove inspirational and life-changing; in the Third World his impact goes much further. Not just among Jamaicans, but also the Hopi Indians of New Mexico and the Maoris of New Zealand, in Indonesia and India, and especially in those parts of West Africa from wihch slaves were plucked and taken to the New World, Bob is seen as a redeemer figure returning to lead this

In the clear Jamaican sunlight you can pick out the component parts of which the myth of Bob Marley is comprised: the sadness, the love, the understanding, the Godgiven talent. Those are facts. And although it is sometimes said that there are no facts in Jamaica, there is one more thing of which we can be certain: Bob Marley never wrote a bad song. He left behind the most remarkable body of recorded work. "The reservoir of music he has left behind is like an encyclopedia," says Judy Mowatt of the I-Threes. "When you need to refer to a certain situation or crisis, there will always be a Bob Marley song that will relate to it. Bob was a musical prophet."

The tiny Third World country of Jamaica has produced an artist who has transcended all categories, classes, and creeds through a combination of innate modesty and profound wisdom. Bob Marley, the Natural Mystic, may yet prove to be the most significant musical artist of the twentieth century.

Bob Marley gave the world brilliant and evocative music; his work stretched across nearly two decades and yet still remains timeless and universal. Bob Marley & the Wailers worked their way into the very fabric of our lives.

"He's taken his place alongside James Brown and Sly Stone as a pervasive influence on r&b", says the American critic Timothy White, author of the acclaimed Bob Marley biography "Catch a Fire: The life of Bob Marley. "His music was pure rock, in the sense that it was a public expression of a private truth."

It is important to consider the roots of this legend: the first superstar from the Third World, Bob Marley was one of the most charismatic and challenging performers of our time and his music could have been created from only one source: the street culture of Jamaica.

The days of slavery are a recent folk memory on the island. They have permeated the very essence of Jamaica's culture, from the plantation of the mid-nineteenth century to the popular music of our own times. Although slavery was abolished in 1834, the Africans and their descendants developed their own culture with half-remembered African traditions mingled with the customs of the British.

This hybrid culture, of course, had parallels with the emerging black society in America. Jamaica, however, remained a rural community which, without the industrialisation of its northern neighbour, was more closely rooted to its African legacy.

By the start of the twentieth century that African heritage was given political expression by Marcus Garvey, a shrewd Jamaican preacher and entrepreneur who founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). The organisation advocated the creation of a new black state in Africa, free from white domination. As the first step in this dream, Garvey founded the Black Star Line, a steamship company which, in popular imagination at least, was to take the black population from America and the Caribbean back to their homeland of Africa.

A few years later, in 1930, Ras Tafari Makonnen was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia and took a new name, Haile Selassie, The Emperor claimed to be the 225th ruler in a line that stretched back to Menelik, the son of Solomon and Sheba.

The Marcus Garvey followers in Jamaica, consulting their New Testaments for a sign, believed Haile Selassie was the black king whom Garvey had prophesied would deliver the Negro race. It was the start of a new religion called Rastafari.

Fifteen years later, in Rhoden Hall to the north of Jamaica, Bob Marley was born. His mother was an 18-year-old black girl called Cedella Booker while his father was Captain Norval Marley, a 50-year-old white quartermaster attached to the British West Indian Regiment.

The couple married in 1944 and Robert Nesta Marley was born on Feb. 6, 1945. Norval Marley's family, however, applied constant pressure and, although he provided financial support, the Captain seldom saw his son who grew up in the rural surroundings of St. Ann to the north of the island.

For country people in Jamaica, the capital Kingston was the city of their dreams, the land of opportunity. The reality was that Kingston had little work to offer, yet through the Fifties and Sixties, people flooded to the city. The newcomers, despite their rapid disillusion with the capital, seldom returned to the rural parishes. Instead, they squatted in the shanty towns that grew up in western Kingston, the most notorious of which was Trench town (so named because it was built over a ditch that drained the sewage of old Kingston.)

Bob Marley, barely into his teens, moved to Kingston in the late 1950's. Like many before them, Marley and his mother eventually settled in Trenchtown. His friends were other street youths, also impatient with their place in Jamaican society. One friend in particular was Neville O'Riley Livingston, known as Bunny, with whom Bob took his first hesitant musical steps.

The two youths were fascinated by the extraordinary music they could pick up from American radio stations. In particular there was one New Orleans station broadcasting the latest tunes by such artists as Ray Charles, Fats Domino, Curtis Mayfield and Brook Benton. Bob and Bunny also paid close attention to the black vocal groups, such as the Drifters, who were extremely popular in Jamaica.

When Bob quit school he seemed to have but one ambition: music. Although he took a job in a welding shop, Bob spent all his free time with Bunny, perfecting their vocal abilities. They were helped by one of Trench Town's famous residents, the singer Joe Higgs who held informal lessons for aspiring vocalists in the tenement yards. It was at one of those sessions that Bob and Bunny met Peter McIntosh, another youth with big musical ambitions.

In 1962 Bob Marley auditioned for a local music entrepreneur called Leslie Kong. Impressed by the quality of Bob's vocals, Kong took the young singer into the studio to cut some tracks, the first of which, called "Judge Not", was released on Beverley's label. It was Marley's first record.

The other tunes – including "Terror" and "One Cup of Coffe" –received no airplay and attracted little attention. At the very least, however, they confirmed Marley's ambition to be a singer. By the following year Bob had decided the way forward was with a group. He linked up with Bunny and Peter to form The Wailing Wailers.

The new group had a mentor, a Rastafarian hand drummer called Alvin Patterson, who introduced the youths to Clement Dodd,, a record producer in Kingston. In the summer of 1963 Dodd auditioned The Wailing Wailers and, pleased with the results, agreed to record the group.

It was the time of ska music, the hot new dance floor music with a pronounced back-beat. Its origins incorporated influences from Jamaica's African traditions but, more immediately, from the heady beats of New Orleans' rhythm and blues disseminated from American radio stations and the burgeoning sound systems on the streets of Kingston. Clement – Sir Coxsone – Dodd was one of the city's finest sound system men.

The Wailing Wailers released their first single, "Simmer Down", on the Coxsone label during the last weeks of 1963. By the following January it was number one in the Jamaican charts, a position it held for the next two months. The group – Bob, Bunny and Peter together with Junior Braithwaite and two back-up singers, Beverly Kelso and Cherry Smith – were big news.

"Simmer Down' caused a sensation in Jamaica and The Wailing Wailers began recording regularly for Coxsone Dodd's Studio One Company. The groups' music also found new themes, identifying with the Rude Boy street rebels in the Kingston slums. Jamaican music had found a tough, urban stance.

Over the next few years The Wailing Wailers put out some 30sides that properly established the group.

The Fast and the Furious: Nassau Drift

By Chakara Bennett, Guardian Summer Intern

Calling all Skylines, calling all race cars, The Fast and the Furious has hit Nassau. The third Annual Island Tunerz Summer Nationalz will hit the streets, Aug. 10-12.

It will not only be weekend for owners to show off their "tricked out" rides but also to legally race and finally find out who's the best driver in Nassau's street racing world.

The weekend will rev up on the initial Friday night with sinful racing under a cloak of darkness, at the Motor Sports Track in the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre.

The following Saturday is designated to the grand Auto Show which is open to anyone who wants to showcase his car and browse others to view other flaming vehicles.

But for the real action, you have to be there on Sunday for the "Race Day" in which all participants can race against other cars in their designated class. This weekend is open to all people interested in the racing world no matter your age, sex or race.

This weekend is expected to be hot, and racing enthusiasts had better not miss it.

And of course, Bahamians love to eat, so there will be booths set up with food, drinks and the hottest products on the market.

This year's drifting weekend is powered by Pepsi Bahamas Ltd., The Paint Depot, Tunerz Auto Salon, The Bacardi Company and Head's Up! Network Ltd.

Some of the top companies that were in attendance last year that are likely to be back this year are, RMS Motorsports, Flying Low Audio, Red Bull, Installer Institute of Daytona, FL., and Jukebox.

Hot Fuzz

Get the DVD and enjoy a great movie. I give it 5 stars and 2 thumbs up! :)

Hot Fuzz Review at IMDB

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Women In Art

500 years of female portraits in Western art are morphed from one to the next in this video.

Show of Bahamian Art in Miami

Emancipation Day

August 6: Emancipation Day/ August Monday

This holiday is also known as August Monday and is celebrated on the first Monday in August.

The holiday celebrates the emancipation of slavery in the British Colonies in 1834. The holiday is celebrated with a Junkanoo Rush out, a day of beaching, sailing, and regattas in New Providence and the Out Islands. In New Providence old slave villages such as Gambier in the west and Fox Hill in the east have their own special celebrations.

Bimini: 57th Annual Native Fishing Tournament

The Native Fishing Tournament, held the first week of August around Emancipation Day, was established in 1950 by The Bimini Progressive Sporting Club.

57th Annual Native Fishing Tournament
Aug 5 - Aug 10 2007

The object of the tournament was to build camaraderie between the locals and visitors in a street festival atmosphere. The tournament started with 12 boats and grew to be one of the largest tournaments held in The Bahamas.

The Sporting Club will forever be indebted to the founders, organizers, past presidents and committee members who are deceased: Gloria Johnson, Harcourt Brown, Naaman Rollins, Douglas Weech & Alvin Taylor. The club also salutes those faithful leaders and committee members, George Weech, Elsie Weech, Eleanor & Roger Spindler, Alma Brown, Walter Weech, Anthony Stuart, and the Honorable Minister of Tourism, Obie Wilchcombe, who are working to ensure that this tournament continues to be a huge success.

A great part of the fun during the tournament comes from the activities held each night. It is here that the long tales are told of the "one that got away;" it is here where the locals and visitors rub shoulders and clink glasses or sway gaily to the tunes of Calypso music.

Mrs. Antoinette Stuart
Bimini Tourist Office
Phone: (242) 347-3529