9th Annual

Taste of the Caribbean
& Jerk Festival

Free Admission

Saturday, August 2, 2014
1pm to 11pm

Mortensen Riverfront Plaza
in Hartford

Click here for a copy of our sovenior booklet

Crowds of people at the Festival

Taste of the Caribbean & Jerk Festival 2013 Festival Entertainers.

Live Entertainment - Dance into the night with live Caribbean rhythms from local, national and international musical artists.

Caribbean Games Pavilion – Watch and play a game of dominos, limbo or other popular Caribbean Games. Festive face painting for children is free!

Caribbean Travel Village – Plan your next Caribbean getaway with island travel experts. Learn how you can enjoy the beautiful world class destinations and pristine azure beaches that the Caribbean has to offer.

Healthy Body Pavilion – Learn how you can get island fit and bikini ready with experts in our Healthy Body Pavilion. Consult with health care professionals and nutritionists from Hartford’s Community Health Services on healthy diets for a healthy body.

Download the 2013 Festival Brochure

2013 Event Performers List


Featuring Yellowman

King Yellowman has an incredible history in Reggae music. His upbringing at the Maxfield Home orphanage in Kingston and being albino in Jamaica were two obstacles the he overcame and went on to be (at one time) the biggest reggae artist since Bob Marley.

After winning a talent contest at Tastee Patties in Kingston, Yellow went on to excite reggae crowds all over Jamaica and the rest of the world with his boastful and sometimes bodacious lyrics. His ability to ride rhythm and excite a crowd made Yellow an instant hit in Jamaica. He also began to work with the Ace Sound System in St. Thomas and drew big crowds at his dancehall performances. Later in his career, Yellow began to spread out and work for a number of different producers, sometimes releasing as many as five albums per year. This led to a recording contract with CBS Records. Yellowman recorded one album with them before he was diagnosed with jaw cancer and was given six months to live. This was in 1986. After surgery an extended leave of absence from the record industry, Yellowman began his comeback with the song "Blueberry Hill", and his career was re-launched. His first album for RAS came from producer Phillip 'Fatis' Burrell and was called "Yellow Like Cheese". Coincidentally this was the start of a long and fruitful relationship with RAS and Yellowman and also RAS and 'Fatis' and his exterminator production. Yellowman has always been very professional to work with and always a respectful and reliable human being. He has managed to outlive his predicted fate of death and his performances are incredibly lively as he seems to have an unlimited amount of stage energy. We can only hope for the best for Yellowman. He has continued his hard work and his devotion to his family is to be complimented.

The rudest Dancehall toaster of the 1980s, Jamaica's albino son Yellowman made as many enemies as fans with his controversial, often overtly sexist (if tongue in cheek) lyrics. Now back on the Ragga scene, singing at a slightly slower pace, Yellowman's witticisms are as cheeky, spirited and intelligent as ever, and delivered with his customary sharp, melodic style.

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Featuring Terry G

Karen Smith

Karen Smith

Karen is easily Jamaica’s most versatile entertainer. She loves to sing and masters many genres-R&B, Reggae, Pop and Jazz. She takes her audience with her on a smooth musical journey pleasing them with the clarity and sincerity of her pure vocal stylings. To see Karen perform, it is obvious that she truly loves her stage and revels in the unique flow of energy between audience and entertainer. Her adoring fans often comment on her warmth and charm.

An only child born in Kingston, Jamaica to Hoover and Barbara Smith , Karen attended St. Hugh’s High School and later gained a Business degree from Concordia University in Montreal Canada. She worked at the National Commercial Bank, Jamaica for three years before deciding to follow her heart’s dream of being an entertainer. She sang many radio and television jingles produced by Peter Ashbourne during 1984-1992. The most famous radio and TV jingle being Grace Cock Soup which featured Karen and Mallory Williams in the kitchen. This aired for seven years and was very popular. People still remember it today.

Her singing career took off in earnest in 1986 and she performs at many of the major hotels on Jamaica’s North Coast including Swept Away, Renaissance Jamaica Grande and the Wyndham Rose Hall resort .She was the first act featured at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas when it opened in February 1990.

Karen has been the opening act for major artistes-among them James Ingram, Natalie Cole, Chuck Mangione, Smokey Robinson and Harry Belafonte who describes her as “a wonderfully gifted artiste”. She is the voice of the Winds of Hope recorded for Jamaica’s Olympic effort in 1992. Her CD Reflections of Love was produced by the Sly & Robbie & Gitsy. A mix of Reggae, R&B and Hip-Hop it includes the former #1 hit Oh Me Oh My.

She is a multi award winning artiste having won the Jamaica Music Industry Award (JAMI) for Jazz and Cabaret an unprecedented Nine (9) Times and also many Jamaica Federation of Musicians Awards.

Karen is widely recognised as Jamaica’s leading jazz vocalist and enjoys the freedom and challenge that jazz offers.

Karen is married to legendary rock steady bassist Jackie Jackson and they have a daughter Courtni. Karen & Jackie were inducted into the Ocho Rios Jazz Festival Hall of Fame in June 2001.

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Also Presenting

D-Tay

D-Tay

D-TAY is a Haitian band that traditionally plays KOMPA, which is one of the genres of Haitian music. The band is made up of young and talented musicians. In early summer of 2007 a group of friends came up with the idea of putting their talents together and forming the band.

The original founders of the band are: Jean Maignan (Lead Vocal), Jude Jean Charles (Guitar Player) and Max Pospert (Keyboard Player). Since then, D-TAY has been performing all over New England and is very well-known, especially within the Haitian Community in Connecticut. Many of these musicians had been playing since they were very young and played with some famous Haitian bands, like Tropicana D’Haiti and Kreol-la. Their spectacular performances and outstanding talents have landed them some big gigs. They frequently perform in national and international festivals as representatives of their country. D-TAY recently had the opportunity to open up for some big American artists, such as, Megastar and recording artist John Legend, John Forte and Patti Smith at the CT Music Forum at the Bushnell Theater.

D-TAY’s main focus is to continue to please its fans and make music with which everyone can identify and enjoy. Most importantly, D-TAY wants to continue to promote the Haitian Kompa to the world and take advantage of every opportunity to help the genre go mainstream.

The band’s new Album is due to come out in September 2013 with major hit singles: Come Over and Kompa Se Pou Nou.

D-TAY is available for all musical events. Should anyone need to get in contact with D-TAY, please email Jean: maignanj88@hotmail.com or call (860) 799-4314.

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Iroko Nuevo

Iroko Nuevo

Iroko Nuevo Performance Group is a thirteen-member ensemble specializing in music and dance from Afrocuban folkoric traditions, such as Yoruba, Congo, Palo, rumba, carnival, son and more. Iroko Nuevo had its origins in 2001, when Artistic Director Miguel Periche, a native of Holguín, Cuba, and principal dancer of Conjunto Folklorico Oku, left Cuba for the Pioneer Valley.

For several years Miguel’s ensemble was known as Grupo Folklorico Palo Santo, and, in addition to performances, held weekly dance classes in Northampton, MA. In 2012, the group expanded, adding professional singers and additional musicians, and changed its name to Iroko Nuevo, reflecting the new focus. In the Afrocuban religion Lucumí, or Santeria, the iroko tree is a gathering place for the orishas - the saints and ancestors of African religion. The dancers, musicians and singers of Iroko Nuevo gather in this same spirit. We believe that dance, drum and song are not only good for the soul, but help to build community.

The Iroko Nuevo Performance Group has performed in schools, museums, community festivals, benefits for local non-profit organizations, and private venues, and has been teaching and performing Afrocuban dance in the Pioneer Valley since 2007. In 2013 the group received Massachusetts Cultural Council grants from Easthampton, Greenfield, Holyoke, Northampton and Shutesbury to host a series of events, La Noche Cubana: An Afrocuban Dance and Drum Experience. This "Cuban Night" features live music, dance performances, song, education about Afrocuban traditions and a community dance. From rumba to carnival, folkloric to contemporary hip hop, Iroko Nuevo is pleased to share the beauty of Cuban rhythms, song, and dance. For more information on upcoming events find us on Facebook, or at our website IrokoNuevo.com.

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La 860

Over the past 20 years a new breed of Salsa has been brewing in the heart of the Constitution State. Comprised of the best Salsa musicians from Connecticut and Massachusetts, La 860 which derives its name from the area code for Greater Hartford, is making its mark in the realm of "Salsa Dura".

Founded by Co-Leaders Jesse "Timbalon" Perez and Nelson Bello, this dynamic new group flaunting a unique sound and great swing, brings you back in time as they interpret some of the most challenging Salsa arrangements and spirited tribute medleys honoring Salsa classics from El Gran Combo, Frankie Ruiz and others. A guaranteed crowd pleaser, La 860 is creating quite the buzz in the Northeast Region as they continue to inspire Salseros onto the dance floor. Respected as the sweet new groove in Salsa, they are sure to impress even the toughest critics.

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Junior Tucker

Junior Tucker

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Junior began singing at age 5. In 2 years, he became a household name and attained his first #1 song, "Happy", followed by "One of the Poorest People", "Which Side of the Coin", "Some Guys have all the Luck", and "It’s a Small, Small World". He began traveling and performing locally and internationally and everyone who saw him knew that being on stage was what he was born to do. He has performed alongside the best of Reggae Music, Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Dennis Brown, Beres Hammond, Maxi Priest and Inner Circle to name a few.

With great success, he navigated his way through three international recording contracts which have literally taken him across the world. At 12 years, he was signed to Island Records which produced the hit song "One of the Poorest People". At 14, he landed a recording contract with Geffen Records USA which turned out "Mr. Telephone Man", later covered by the R&B group New Edition and at 23, he signed to Virgin Records UK which produced hits like "Don’t Test" and "16".

After his release from Virgin Records in 1991, Junior returned to his roots to pursue a career in Jamaican Dancehall Music, which was beginning to catch the attention of the international music community. A slew of hits ensued, "Love of a Lifetime", "Move Along", "Don't Tough My Baby", "Lock Me Up" and "Love Somebody among others. Dancehall brought its accolades, number one hit songs, singer of the year titles and a high profile lifestyle. Quickly however life became far from "Happy". Despite "fortune and fame", his life was falling apart. It was spent chasing the next hit song in order to stay on top of the charts in order to fill the huge void he felt in his life.

In 1996, the death of his father and the birth of his first child led to a period of searching for answers to fill that void. Being on stage his entire life, he felt there must be more than this. He explored various religions, including Rastafarianism which is so deeply imbedded in Jamaica culture and music. With no concrete answers, he began penning songs like "I Pray" and "Praise His Name", having no true knowledge of the God he was writing about.

In October 1997, bombarded by religion, a distorted childhood and being plagued by nightmares, Junior cried out "God, if you are real, show me who you REALLY are and allow me to sleep?" The Living God answered; he slept as never before and woke up completely set free and rested. He knew that moment that Jesus Christ was his Lord and Savior. He publicly confessed his Christian faith that week at a gospel concert in Kingston, and was later baptized.

Junior was definitely born to sing, but for God’s Glory! Since confessing his faith, Junior declares, "There is nothing to go back to! It's about a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ", who has added clarity, direction and purpose to the singers once hazed life.

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Misteree

Misteree

Visit Misteree's Website

Born in Spanish Town, St. Catherine Parish, and growing up in Paul Island, Westmoreland, Jamaica, this lovely singer-songwriter "Misteree" acquired her love of reggee, R & B, and gospel music listening to her grandparents' albums by Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Marcia Grifiths, Luther Vandross and Shirley Caesar.

After singing her rendition of Caesars "Jesus Oh Jesus" at a concert in Luci Westmoreland and receiving a standing ovation at the age of nine, "Misteree" knew she wanted to become a singer. She soon began singing in the youth choir, traveling to different stages and arenas all over the island.

At 16, she migrated to the U.S. and began modeling part-time in Miami while singing in the church choir every Sunday before relocating to Hartford, CT. In June of 2007, she entered the West Indian Idol competition at Weaver High School auditorium, the only un-intimidated female, and came home with second place after singing an original calypso tune, "Love de Caribbean" in the finals. But it was her voice people remembered. In one of the toughest towns for local artists to succeed, she captured their hearts with her intense performance and versatility.

"Misteree" has since gone on to open for legendary artists like Beres Hammond, Maxi Priest, Gregory Isaccs, Shabba Ranks, Frankie Paul, Tarrus Riley, Beenie Man, Sanchez, Capleton. Leroy Sybils, Macka Diamond, Dean Fraser, Duane Stephenson and others, though people still wonder where that big voice comes from in such a slender, but curvy and drop dead gorgeous young woman..

You can hear the magic for yourself in "Just As I Am" a soaring fusion of reggae, r&b, hop-hop and gospel that leaves the listener with little doubt who "He" is that loves "Misteree" with such unconditional love. Originally penned as a gospel ballad by R. Meltzer and S. Sarbocca, this rewrite has her unmistakable melodic and vocals influence along with those of Capsicum writer-producer, Osborne "Ifield" Joseph

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Dance Group

Dance Group

2010 Performers

2012 Performers