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One World Beat News

COSTA RICA: Art and Music Festival of the Caribbean Coast

On March 18th, Puerto Viejo-Limon Talamanca, Costa Rica will be holding an "Arts and Music Festival of the South Caribbean Coast" to promote the region's cultural heritage and its national music, celebrate the fusion of the many styles of music found in Costa Rica, and to upgrade Afro-Caribbean cultural awareness, as well as its appreciation. This incredible event takes place at the Playa Chiquita (, an eco-lodge situated near a tropical rainforest and the white-sand beaches of Puerto Viejo. The lodge is run by Wolf Bissinger, a retired German lawyer, and his wife, Wanda Patterson, who is Costa Rican by birth, brought up in New York, and a former dancer with the Alvin Ailey company.
The Arts and Music Festival of the South Caribbean Coast is now a longstanding tradition which attracts well-known music figures like Manuel Monastel, whose "Canto America" musical group conjures the sights and sounds of Costa Rica with their Afro-Caribbean rhythms, and jazz giant, Manuel Obregon (, whose career includes 14 solo recordings, music research, creation of the Papaya Music label, and work in theater, dance, and cinema. Born in Costa Rica, Obregon studied music in Spain and Switzerland, has formed a number of music groups--including the Papaya Orchestra, Afro Cosmos, Sporadic Jazz Quintet, Malpais, and Gospel Caribe--and collaborated with filmmaker, Jose Cortes, in the video and live-concert production of "Simbiosis" in 2004.

Other artists include Luis Angel Castro (, a folk singer and well-known national musician who has adopted Puerto Viejo as his home. This year, the event features "Musica Para El Alma", a group that mixes vocals, guitar, marimba, percussion, bajo, and quijongo.

Parallel to the festival is an Art Workshop program, developed as a nonprofit with a special focus on children, in particular creating an appreciation of the arts in youth. Some of the festival proceeds each year are donated to children's activities: one year band instruments were given to a local school, in others theater performances and workshops teaching children about theater and scenic arts have taken place, a playground has been built, and collaboration with an ecology center has also taken place. All of this is meant to teach teamwork, dedication, and cooperation, the better to address the challenges these children will face in life.

See the event details...



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"You guys Rock."
Leigh Blake, Founder - Keep A Child Alive
bottomborder" bgcolor="#999999">"You guys Rock."
Leigh Blake, Founder - Keep A Child Alive