About Carriacou Music Foundation

Carriacou Music Foundation (CMF) has the mission of promoting music education and performance on the small Caribbean island of Carriacou. CMF is a registered charitable organisation (No. 77 of 2012 – 6855).

Carriacou is an island of about 6000 people situated some 18 miles north of Grenada; it is part of the three-island state of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. The people of Carriacou, known as Kayaks, are wonderful, friendly, outgoing people with great enthusiasm for life and eternal optimism. On such a small island resources are always limited and, while successive governments have worked hard to improve resources and develop the island, there are still some things that simply cannot be afforded at present. One of these is music education, unlike some of the larger islands in the Caribbean, there is almost no music education on Carriacou. Yet there is great enthusiasm for music and, of course, some of the most important music genres have been born in the Caribbean – Reggae, Calypso, Soca for example. There is music in the blood of the people; everywhere, islanders sing and dance whenever they can. And as Ky-mani Marley said when he opened the new CMF building in April 2013, ‘Music is a universal language that speaks your mind, body, heart, and soul’. There are two main requirements for music education: organization of a teaching programme and, above all, instruments. Both of these were missing on Carriacou as of 2011.

In 2012, a group of like-minded people decided to form CMF. These were mainly local people but also some enthusiastic aliens! The Mission Statement to ‘Promote Music Education and Performance’ was at the heart of their intentions; to get young people playing and then to provide appropriate opportunities for public performance. At its simplest this would give young Kayaks the joy of playing music; at its most ambitious we would produce the next Bob Marley; in between, there may be various ways for Kayaks to earn a living in the music industry, be that Universal Music Group or the local hotel or bar.

By the beginning of 2013 just over US$12,000 had been raised from diverse range of donors, mainly in the UK and USA. A suitable building, but in need of renovation, was identified to rent and renovated. Local musicians were identified who were more than happy to give their time to teach without financial reward and, of course, there was a huge queue of potential students. We bought instruments and also instruments were donated.

In April, 2013, Charlie Kingsman, one of the current Directors of CMF, organized a concert by Ky-maini Marley on the island. The concert was in aid of Carriacou charities including CMF and Ky-mani ‘opened and blessed the ‘new’ CMF building; he is now one of our supporters.

So today, in mid-2014, we have 5 guitars, 2 violins, a drum set, Congo drums, 3 keyboards, 7 trumpets, a saxophone and 10 recorders. We have 7 teachers and 29 students and there are 10 separate lessons for small groups each week. The July 29th summer party featured student performances; this was also a fund raising event for the Foundation with food, music, and dancing. And a special thanks to Yannick Wey  from Switzerland who brought 7 trumpets and offered lessons five days a week for his 5 week holiday here in Carriacou.

So CMF is up and running in just over a year from concept to reality; the challenge ahead is to keep it going.

Carriacou Music Foundation
Hillsborough P.O.
Carriacou
Grenada, West Indies
carriacoumusicfoundation@gmail.com

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