Emerging as its own nation from the Netherland Antilles in 2010, Curaçao thrives on diversity. Everything from reggae to rock and South American genres permeate the myriad clubs on the island. Here are five artists who embody the independent spirit of Curaçao.
A multilingual, soulful artist who spends time between Curaçao and Amsterdam, Philip “Junior” Tecla picks up Bob Marley’s mantle of peace and harmony. Armed with an acoustic guitar and a calming voice, he presents fresh originals and timeless covers. His 2011 release, Turtuga, made an impression on the venerable New York Times. Tecla also fronts the Marley tribute group Rootsriders, who enjoy a worldwide following.
Call it dancehall with heart. Reshine’s M.O. is to serenade, soothe, seduce and educate. From the recently released ballad “Mi Reina Official” to the urgent anthem “Curaçao Street Life” (above), the singer-rapper always creates with his home in mind.
When life gets too heavy and you’re seeking something to enliven your ears, the Highway Band get it done right. With the effervescent duo Judienne Lebacks-Curiel and Roald Balentien leading the charge, this hard-working group revel in salsa, breezy Caribbean vibes and positive energy.
Calister is as good-natured as they come, with her crisp enunciation and passionate performances. She just released the triumphant Rayo di Lus, a celebration of soca, jazz and souk. She, like many artists from Curaçao, sings in Papiamento, a Spanish Creole language interspersed with Dutch and Portuguese. (Photography: Hester Doove.)
A real royal of tumba (a mix of African, Latin and jazz music) Yanga has starred in international productions of The Lion King and The Wiz. His motto: “Make it happen. Shock everyone.” With his emotive, powerful vocals and larger-than-life stage presence, no one is shocked he’s accomplished so much in his 34 years.
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