Cayman Arts Festival: A rich mosaic

Cayman Arts Festival 2010 begins on
Friday, 5 February. The biennial bash has grown from its beginnings back in
2004 to become a fixture of Cayman’s cultural landscape.

It was set up by internationally-acclaimed
piano duo Jennifer Micallef and Glen Inanga in order to offer a forum for local
artists whilst bringing in the very best from the world scene. Inanga said that
the pair had first come to Cayman as performers to a fantastic response.

Since then Cayman Arts Festival has
become an important part of the fabric of Caymanian artistic life, reflecting, Inanga
said, the mosaic make-up of the island’s residents.

“There are so many different
cultures that people need something like this. There’s nothing else like this
on the island and also nothing else like it in terms of education so people are
really starting to see the effects.

“We bring top international talent
which opens people’s minds as to which is possible, particularly the young
ones. They can’t necessarily afford to travel abroad so if you bring it down
here they can actually get to work closely together. The cross-fertilization of
cultures is phenomenal.”

Events

This year’s Arts Festival starts on
Friday 5 February with Broadway Comes To Cayman, Kim Criswell and Wayne
Marshall chatting about and then singing Broadway Classics. It’s at First Baptist
Church.

Saturday 6 at the same venue sees
Micallef and Inanga, plus John McLaughlin Williams and Wayne Marshall, performing
pieces together on two pianos. Acrobatic musicianship is promised. There’s also
Carnival of the Animals, narrated by Rita Estevanovich.

Up at Camana Bay
on Monday 8 February there’s a chance to see Cayman’s young talent at the
Rising Stars performance, which features a host of exceptional young musicians.

Michael Testori is a saxophonist
who won the Butterfield Young Musician of the Year 2008.

“It truly shows what unbelievable
talent these small Islands have to offer in
comparison to our nation’s population,” said Michael.

ACME

Heading to the Brac on Tuesday 9
Feb then over to First Baptist on Grand Cayman
on Thursday 11 and Friday 12 February is musical comedian Rainer Hersch.

Once a manager and performer,
Hersch brings his All Classical Music Explained (ACME) show to the islands,
tackling all the important questions like ‘Why is organ music so boring?’; ‘How
can I play a musical instrument without practising?’; ‘What do conductors
actually do?’

Hersch is a seasoned performer who
has done the clubs on the circuit. He said that supporting the arts was
something that everyone needed to make the effort to do. Just try it, he said,
and you will get a lot out of it.

“If you’re in the DVD rental place
and there’s one you’ve heard about before and one you’ve never heard about but
looks interesting then the chances are you’ll go with the safe option in case
you ruin your evening.

“But actually it’s those little
gambles that really do pay off and that’s ultimately what supports people like
me – if it sounds interesting, give it a go.”

The grand finale of Cayman Arts
Festival 2010 is on Saturday 13 February when Youth2Youth perform. They’re a
fab orchestra direct from Jamaica
and will be joined by instrumentalists from CAyman schools.

Cultural map

This kind of collaboration across
the sea is something central to the ethos of the festival, said Inanga.

“People come and fall in love with
the island and the people they work with so it links people in ways that would
never happen otherwise. It really puts Cayman on the cultural map.

“All the artists who play here want
to come back so Cayman Arts Festival in a sense creates a humungous performing
arts culture we really need.

“I can’t think of anything more
valuable than creating these links which will last a lifetime. I can’t think
where we’ll get to in the future but we’re extremely excited and extremely
humbled about how things are happening now,” he added.

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