By Nicole-Rachelle Moore
China | Sunday 19 June 2016: 8:08 BST
A diverse group of Caribbean musicians returned home in May after a series of hugely successful performances in China’s capital, Beijing. Over four days (April 30 to May 3), the Latin America and Caribbean Music Festival showcased a protean mix of rhythm and tempo from genres including folk, reggae, rock and soca music. The Caribbean was represented by countries including Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and amongst those wowing new Chinese audiences were billboard-charting Bajan soca artist Rupee, Jamaica’s award-winning reggae singer Everton Blender, Trinidadian soca diva Lil Bitts and Antigua’s Tizzy. Chandradath Singh, Trinidad and Tobago’s Ambassador to China, said that the country, “has a big appetite for foreign acts.” Meanwhile, one Jamaican Beijing resident expressed her sense of nostalgia and pride. “It reminds me of home,” she said, adding that it was, “great seeing Caribbean culture being showcased in China.” And a Chinese national said that, although she did not understand the lyrics, she enjoyed the performances and liked the feeling the music gave her. Caribbean Entertainment, the booking agency responsible for providing the featured performers, spoke of the opportunity to ‘showcase talent to a virtually untapped market’. Their director, Brad Hemmings, said, “We expected a clash of cultures, but we were presently surprised. The Chinese truly enjoyed themselves and were willing participants.” Grenada’s Mr Killa remarked on the enthusiasm of the audiences, “Especially the young ones”. The four day event was a natural platform for several embassies (including those of the Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago) based in China to work cooperatively in their aim of showcasing the region’s musical treasures. It was organised by China’s Ministry of Culture, and presented by China Arts and Entertainment Group, in collaboration with the aforementioned embassies. The festival was part of the China-Latin America and Caribbean Year of Cultural Exchange, which was initially proposed by President Xi Jinping at a related Leaders’ Meeting in Brasilia in July 2014. Concerts took place in various locations around Beijing, and the performers were treated to visits to historic and iconic sites such as the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. Feeling like you really missed out on something special? Watch the video of festival highlights at www.caribent.com/press/china/video. Further media information from Caribbean Entertainment; contact Brad Hemmings on +1 305 654 7705 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.