Occur Goes Global - The Music of Aruba


The Beach Boys wanted to take listeners to Aruba, a Caribbean island characterized by white-sand shores, warm temperatures and a melting pot of peoples. No less than four languages are frequently heard here, according to the country’s official tourism site. And with that variety comes an aural culture that borrows from indigenous populations, the Dutch and African nations. Here are five artists who exemplify the colorful history of Aruba.



Dushi Band

Dushi is a Papiamento-language word with a bevy of meanings: sexy, sweetheart, even tasty in reference to food. Whatever definition you go with, Dushi Band encompasses it all. With singer Cathrine Camara leading the party, the quintessential Carnival group combine crystalline vocals with blaring synths and rocket-power drums. “Line Up” assures a good time when these capital-city revelers come around.


Mystical Connection

The message is simple and beautiful: “Let Love Reign,” these Rastafarians suggest in a breezy 2014 tune. Over the nimble chucking guitars of William Quiroga and Hario Angela, Anwar Van Dinter (aka JAH Mystic) spreads his sermon of peace. Bob Marley would be proud, and you’ll be entranced by the heartfelt reggae of Mystical Connection.


Acoustic Soul

First things first: Acoustic Soul are primarily an electric band, and a heavy one at that. They do deliver full-throttle originals, but it’s their transforming of big hits that give them their wow factor. Watch them turn an Adele ballad into a melodic metal monster above. Jairo Boekhoudt has the versatile voice of Steve Perry shouting down Perry Farrell. And those six-string licks by Armin Solognier are hotter than going barefoot on the white-sand beaches.



They have a keytar. I repeat: THEY HAVE A KEYTAR. Not to mention honey-sweet group vocals, life-affirming horns and rhythmic tumba, traditional drums of the former Netherlands Antilles. The collective tend to dress in all white, which represents the pure spirit of the music, according to Tsunami’s website. Their unique flavor melds gospel, Latin, Afro-Cuban and even a little Broadway showmanship. Tsunami are busy bees, with a slew of shows occurring in Aruba this summer. (Top photo courtesy the artist.)


Vince Irie

Another artist who adheres to nonviolence and soulful music, Vince Irie recently countered civil unrest in The Hague with the charity single “One Love and Unity.” The silky vocalist made a name for himself as a contestant on The Voice of Holland in 2013, bringing a warm calmness to the typically overstimulating spectacle. He also fronts the reggae-rock band Offshore, crooning in English and Dutch.

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