DJ Outkast speechless after performance in BeijingPOSTED: 05/23/16 6:47 PM
DJ Outkast at work in the People’s Republic of China. Photo contributed
St. Maarten News – DJ Outkast returned to St. Maarten earlier this month following his performances at the Caribbean Music Festival in the Chinese capital of Beijing. The DJ was included in a diverse group of musicians selected from the Caribbean to represent their country at the Latin America and Caribbean Music Festival. Other nations represented included Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.
The free festival staged at the Rose Bud, 798 Art Zone in the Chinese capital was organized to promote cultural cooperation and create opportunities for enhanced exchanges between China and the Caribbean.
Performers included Jamaica’s award-winning reggae singer Everton Blender, Grenadian soca performer Mr. Killa, Trinidadian soca diva Lil Bitts, Barbadian Billboard-charting artist Rupee and 11 other bands from 15 Caribbean and Latin countries, offering fans multiple reggae, soca, rock and folk music performances.
The festival took place from April 30 until May 3. There were also performances at various venues throughout Beijing including the Beihang University and Modernsky Lab. According to Caribbean Entertainment (CE), the artist booking agency that provided the festival’s featured performers, “the music festival provided not only opportunities for cultural exchange but a stage for our artists to showcase their amazing talent to a virtually untapped market.” Trinidad and Tobago Ambassador to China Chandradath Singh said, “China has a big appetite for foreign acts in a big way.”
“I like the feeling the music gives me. I could be here for half a day and not feel like leaving, it makes me feel like I want to get on the stage.” said Luo Lifang, 26, from Guizhou Province, who works in Beijing’s finance sector. Li said that although it was her first time to listen to Caribbean music, and she didn’t quite understand the lyrics, she enjoyed the show. Sheree Wilson, a Jamaican who lives in Beijing, said the event had her reminisce about home. “I really enjoy the music festival. It reminds me of home,” she said. “It’s great seeing the Caribbean culture being showcased in China.”
“What took me for surprise was how open they were to our Caribbean music. I came here blind not knowing what they listen to,” Outkast reflected about his visit, “but they were just open to everything we played whether it be soca, dancehall, reggae. I’m pretty sure if we tried zouk or something like that, that would have worked too, they were just so open. It was enriching how they were so open to our culture. It was an overwhelming experience.”
The event, which featured musicians and bands from all the Caribbean countries that have embassies in Beijing, provided a forum for all the embassies in Beijing to work together to showcase the Caribbean. Jointly organized by the embassies of the Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago, in collaboration with China’s Ministry of Culture and presented by China Arts and Entertainment Group (CAEG), the music festival is also part of the China-Latin America and Caribbean Year of Culture Exchange.
Proposed by President Xi Jinping at the China–Latin American and Caribbean Countries Leaders’ Meeting in Brasilia in July 2014, Year 2016 marks the China–Latin America and Caribbean Year of Cultural Exchange.
In addition to four performances in various venues around Beijing, Outkast had the opportunity to visit some of China’s iconic sites including the Great Wall of China. “It was only something you have ever seen in TV, you never thought you would have the chance to see it in person; it completely left me speechless.”