The fifth edition of the Bonaire Heineken Jazz Festival 2009 Delights audiences under the stars


The 5th Bonaire Heineken Jazz Festival unfolded on the island of flamingoes at different venues during the first weekend in June.

Organized by the Bonaire Jazz Foundation, the festival offered a variety of musical styles with renowned musicians from different parts of the world performing two main concerts, opened by an evening of poetry and Jazz and concluded by a Jazz Brunch this past Sunday.

The Tourism Corporation of Bonaire, TCB, in collaboration with the most-charming Harbour Village Beach Resort invited a number of press people to attend the program and spread the word that the festival is delightful and nicely put together as far as music and arrangements.

Thanks to the excellent relationship of sponsors and the people of Bonaire, The Heineken Jazz Festival has become an important event in the annual activities calendar adding music to a mix of diving, sightseeing, dining and total relaxation.

The first concert of the festival was attended by Lt. Governor, Mr. Glenn Thode, and his esteemed wife. The Silver Bullet Steelband, from Bonaire, was the opening act with an excellent repertory including bolero, soca, wals, meringues and tumba, among other regional compositions proving the versatility of the steel pan as an instrument and the terrific talent of the players. The Silver Bullet Steelband with eleven musicians delivered a rich orchestration and a nicely amplified pure Caribbean sound. Nilda Emerencia on double tenor up front is also the band’s lead dancer, her feet move as she plays Carnival music, and the entire company swings and sways to the beat, with great passion and flair.

The first lady of the Bonaire Jazz Festival returned after an absence of a few years. Denise Jannah, a Jazz singer from Surinam who lives in Holland and just received a royal decoration from the Dutch queen in April for her contributions to music performed many tremendous classics including Softly, How Fragile we Are, and a number of songs she wrote herself in collaboration with her musicians, Ronchi Matthew on piano, Hershel Rosario on guitar, Lonte Conradus on drums, and Pierre Dunker on bass.

Alfredo Naranjo y El Guanjeo wrapped up the first night with an on-fire performance of Latin Jazz, with band leader Alfredo Naranjo on vibe, backed up by Venezuela’s finest musicians, and vocalist Edgar Quijada.

The president of the Bonaire Jazz Foundation, Rene Hakkenberg, reports that the venue on the beach at the Plaza Resort, around the Tipsy Seagull bar offers Jazz music against the backdrop of the ocean, with comfortable seating, toes in the sand, food and drink booths, a souvenir and CD stand, a VIP lounge and a casual yet sophisticated atmosphere.

All concerts were recorded by the local radio stations and televised for future transmission. See you next year for the 6th edition of the festival.

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June 05, 2009
Rona Coster