Are you planning your trip to Martinique? How to prepare? Martinique is an exotic destination. Nicknamed by tourists the island of “repeat visitors” Martinique is welcoming to anyone who likes discovering a new culture. Further down you will be able to click on some articles that will allow you to discover Martinique through a new perspective and less through a tourist’s eyes.
The Rolling Stones of the Caribbean
Look no further you’ve arrived at KASSAV’s home turf! This cherished band has toured the world since 1979 on a constant whirlwind admired worldwide by fans of all ages.
From the very first album, band members Jacob Desvarieux, George Decimus, Jocelyne Beroard and others invented an irresistible joyful and danceful music which universally set them apart from other music bands. They recently celebrated a 40 year anniversary encompassing 2000 concerts over the span of their long career.
In honor of their longevity KASSAV kicked off their anniversary celebrations in May 2019 in the largest and newly renovated concert hall of Europe.
Let’s Go !
KASSAV is unstoppable! Just turn on the local radio stations and you will hear their afrobeats sounds such as “Zouk la se sel medikamen nou ni” (Zouk is the only medication we have). No doubt you are stepping into the fabric of history making in the heart of the Caribbean. An nou ay (Let’s Go)!
Ironic Fate: The Thief Was Saved!
The Story of Cyparis
So the story goes… Cyparis said to himself one day, its’ been days and nights since I’ve been here. How many? Who knows! I’m hungry and I haven’t had anything to eat nor drink since I‘ve been here. Before my dungeon was suddenly engulfed by smoke I used to lick the dew from the leaves to quell my thirst. But now the leaves are like me they are barely alive! This gray cloud of smoke is sticky and burning everything around. I do not know what happened. There is no longer a soul alive in Saint Pierre a city once so full of life and joy.
I remember it’s large streets, colorful and vivacious they are pearls of the West Indies. The city’s nickname “Little Paris” suits it quite well! Saint Pierre is the capital of Martinique. The regular hustle and bustle of a large city. Attractive people always in a hurry. Merchants from all over the world eager for success would come in large numbers eager to showcase their merchandise. Multicolored Indian silk fabrics would be worn by the french upper class on their way to the main city theater a replica of a theater in Bordeaux. Large, heavy, and expensive gold jewelry would adorn the necks of upper class women as they strolled in the plant garden (“Jardin des Plantes). Sometimes leaving their handkerchiefs at the feet of handsome officers and rich merchants all of whom could be potential suitors. Despite the heat and humidity it was always refreshing to walk along the cobbled streets lined with small streams cooling the tropical temperature. In addition these streets are lit by electricity. Electricity! Can you believe it? And there is even a tramway for the bourgeoisie to go to the governor’s house for administrative needs.
Some days when the market would be in full swing I would sit on the floor observing the comings and goings of the farmer’s market. Envious, I would think to myself, me too; I want a beautiful woman by my side, nice clothing , gold jewelry, and an ivory walking stick. I stroked my bare face dreaming of having a mustache just like the men I observed in front of me. You’re in lalaland Samson! my friend exclaimed as he interrupted my daydreaming.
Yes, my name is Samson. Or rather that’s how I am known at work. I work odd jobs either on a sugarcane plantation or on a yawl boat as I am not skilled. I fish with my friends using a fishing net for my boss. We position a large net a few hundred meters in order to catch a large number of varied fish. In the sugarcane fields I cut, cut ,cut away with my machete right after the foreman burns a clearing path in the fields in order to deter the snakes from harming the workers.
My real name is Cyparis Louis-Auguste. Although, I may have an official name this name is unfamiliar to me. Something that is not uncommon in this part of the world many like myself are unaware of their unofficial name.
One day tired of being physically mistreated and beaten. My envy of those having fun overtook me and I decided to flee. I ran thru the countryside into the city where I knocked over women while I ran as hard and far as I could until I couldn’t breathe anymore. Afterall, I was a free man! Free to do as I pleased and not have to cut the sugarcane! An associate followed along for the ride however we ran into some trouble later on that night. We drank too much alcohol and being intoxicated we fought. The fight was initiated by an exchange of words of which I cannot relay because my memory is foggy. One thing led to the next and before I knew it my knife snapped in two as I stabbed him in the back. He died instantly. I quickly found myself thrown in prison. Finding myself in solitary confinement I was left with only my dreams of freedom!
It drove me crazy! However, one day came where I could attempt a jailbreak. I was allowed recreational time in the courtyard and while no one was looking I used this opportunity to escape. Carefully avoiding detection I made my way to the main square of Saint Pierre. While there I sought out my fishermen buddies who very kindly harbored me as a fugitive. We gossiped while we drank rum the one that burns your throat while leaving a pleasant aroma filled after taste. We ate cod fritters made of sweet peppers, local sausages,dumplings, and a locally made avocado puree.The meal was so good that I licked my fingers clean! All the while drinking an excessive amount of alcohol. Drunk like a skunk I fell asleep snoring heavily. When I woke up experiencing a severe hangover I thought about the man I killed recently. I was filled with remorse and sorrowful that I was able to enjoy myself while he no longer could. I became overwhelmed with the sense that I needed to make amends and my victim deserved better.
I decided to go back to the courthouse in order to see a judge. I told the presiding judge about my feelings of remorse and about how sorry I am. Albeit understanding the judge informed me that he had to punish me according to the laws. I was sentenced to an additional eight days in solitary confinement.
I was accompanied by a prison officer to my new cell. It was a very tiny dark and cold rectangular room. I could barely see the ray of sunshine outside. I was closed in by a heavy wooden door. I sat down on the cold floor with nothing to do. After a while I layed down. I decided to recount my life story out loud in the darkness. I even created a new life for myself mentally. Every day at the crack of dawn a prison officer would bring me a bowl of water to drink and a bowl of red beans and rice to eat. He would exit as quickly as he came with me listening to the sound of his feet clanckering away until I could hear them no more.
On one of those customary mornings, I waited and waited and waited for the prison officer to arrive with my meal. In his place I was greeted by lightning which sounded like explosions in my dungeon. Suddenly, the ground shifted under my feet and my sleeping area was engulfed in flames. In vain I tried to escape the flames however to no avail I suffered third degree burns. My eyes burned and I was in excruciating physical pain. An unnerving calmness came over the area. Silence all around. My calls for help were not responded to. I didn’t hear any living thing besides myself. I realised I was alone. I stayed that way for a long time. From time to time when I had some strength I would yell for help. One lucky day I heard some noise and I screamed Cyparis is alive! Samson is here! Help me, help me! As I yelled for help I saw the stones move and the sky appear as my rescuers worked to pull me up from the prison cell. The rescue mission came from the town of Morne Rouge . They came on a rescue mission and found me!
At the hospital I was overcome with emotion. I cried so much. I cried about my burnt skin, about my sins, being the only survivor of the volcano eruption, being saved by a team of search and rescue etc. Even though I was feeling a multitude of emotions I was grateful to be alive. The owner of the Barnum and Bailey circus came to see me with an “offer of a lifetime” an opportunity to travel the world. I had my picture on posters and gained relative fame however I still never experienced having a beautiful woman by my side. I’m sure my parchment skin was a deterrent to most women. To me it was a reminder of the Mt. Pelée Volcano, my ordeal, and my life!