traveling giutars - barbados

Guitar donation/workshop/at the Rihann’s alma mater – the Combermere School in Barbados l to r: Van Taylor, Derek McKeith, Stereo H. (H.Bing), Anre’ “NJ Rey” DaCosta.

*(Bridgetown, Barbados) – Jazz and education came together like never before this morning as the Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari presented a Music Workshop for Young Musicians in conjunction with the Traveling Guitar Foundation and BulLion Entertainment of the United States.

An invitation was extended to selected schools to send five (5) students each to the workshop held at the Combermere School Hall.  The schools sending students were: Foundation School, Parkinson Memorial Secondary, Coleridge and Parry Secondary, Lester Vaughan Secondary, and Combermere School.

The Traveling Guitar Foundation is the brainchild of guitarist and songwriter Damon Marks who has performed and recorded with a wide range of notable musicians throughout his career, including Alicia Keys and Jermaine Paul, winner of the first season (2012) of the television competition The Voice.

The organisation’s focus is to inspire children through music and education by ensuring that music education programmes are available to them in schools.Since 2010, the Foundation has provided musical equipment, guitar clinics, and support for music education programs across the United States, working to ensure that students have access to high-quality musical instruments and comprehensive instruction throughout their formative years.

van taylor & derek mckeith

Van Taylor introduces Derek McKeith

Not only did the Traveling Guitar Foundation present a workshop for students, but the group also donated five guitars to schools in Barbados for children.

“I’ve always felt that the arts play a critical role in a child’s development in school,” said the Traveling Foundation’s Damon Marks.“My whole thing is basically this – as long as I know that these guitars are going to be given to children and that these children are going to be taught properly, I don’t mind going anywhere in the world to do it because it’s for the children, and they’re our future.”

According to Sandra Trim-DaCosta – Executive Director of the Foundation, the five first-class guitars donated to schools in Barbados were possible by both the Foundation and one of its primary sponsors, Schecter Guitars through the company’s Artist Relations Director Allen Steelgrave.  Schecter instruments are played by some of the world’s leading guitarists including Damon Marks himself and the artist once again known as Prince.

Other Foundation sponsors/supporters include Google, ESP Guitars, Marriott, Guitar Center and Mogami Cables.

“The Traveling Guitar Foundation will mark the first time that the charity has gone outside of the US to visit schools,” said Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari Founder Tom Hinds.  “Today’s workshop has been an opportunity for students between the ages of 11 and 16 from the secondary schools to gain exposure to guitar playing at the highest level.  This event was one of the most exciting features of an already jam-packed Jazz Safari.”

traveling guitars - barbados 1

TGF/BulLion team with Combermere Principal Vere Parris: l to r – Reed Hadley, Van Taylor, Anre’ DaCosta, Deidra Johnson, Principal Mr. Vere Parris, Sandra Trim-DaCosta, Stereo H (H.Bing) and Derek McKeith

The Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari ran from January 17 to 21 in Barbados, and the Traveling Guitar Foundation group, led by its US West Coast Director Derek McKeith performed as part of the festival at the Prime Minister’s residence – Ilaro Court. McKeith was joined by DIOS Music/BulLion Entertainment recording artist rapper Stereo H. (aka H. BING), and jazz/ R&B keyboardist Van Taylor of Taylor Made Jazz. Anre’ “NJ Rey” DaCosta, the Traveling Guitar Foundation’s Director of Business Development, conducted the student workshops.

The Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari is endorsed by the Caribbean Tourism

Organisation and sponsored by LIAT,   the Barbados Tourism Authority, Department of Tourism for Antigua & Barbuda, the Frank Collymore Hall, the Grenada Tourist Board, the St Vincent & the Grenadines Tourism Authority, United Insurance, The U.S. Embassy to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Hilton Barbados Resort, Jolly Beach Resort, Mount Cinnamon Resort, National Cultural Foundation, Spice Basket, Harrison’s Cave, The Travel House, Caribbean Super Station, The Observer , Super Centre, Farmer’s Choice,, Courtesy Rent-A-Car, Smirnoff, Quality Sound Inc, B3 Imaging, Johnnie Walker, BulLion Entertainment and The Travelling Guitar Foundation.

Jalisa Marshall & Anthony 'Mighty Gabby' Carter

Jalisa Marshall, a student from Jaris Reed Group, interviews Barbados musical icon Anthony ‘Mighty Gabby’ Carter (Photo: Reed Hadley – Jaris Reed Group)

Additional sponsors/supporters include Van Taylor Productions and Reed Hadley, Founder of the Jaris Reed Group, (a non-profit dedicated to educating young people through classic film documentary workshops). Two students from the Combermere School in Barbados were given the opportunity to participate in a special training program. This included research, scriptwriting and interviews with local celebrities such asthe legendary musical icon Dr. Anthony “Mighty Gabby” Carter, Barbados’ First Lady of Jazz CiCi and Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari festival Founder/promoter Tom Hinds.  The completed segments are scheduled to air on local and international TV outlets.

Upcoming Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari/Traveling Guitar Foundation events are listed below:

March 1 & 2 – Antigua
March 30 & 31 – St. Vincent
April 26 & 28 – Grenada

There’s more to come…..

Check out the websites: