Boukman Eksperyans
Photo credit: kompaworld.com

What’s going on in South Florida this month?  The Caribbean’s taking over! The Caribbean’s taking over!  Is English even the official language anymore?  Mezanmi, sak pase la!  Ay, Dios mio! *snicker*

While the month of June has been proclaimed National Caribbean American Heritage Month, we South Floridian transplants aren’t happy to dedicate just one single month to the celebration of all things Caribbean.  Nope, we prefer to show our pride year-round!  I bet you didn’t know that nearly four of every ten immigrants in Florida were born in the Caribbean, the majority being from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Haiti (that’s me), and Trinidad & Tobago.

With Haitian flag day being commemorated on May 18th, there are lots of celebrations leading up to this date.  The one that I’m really excited about is Boukman Eksperyans‘ performance at Big Night in Little Haiti on May 16.  Believe it or not, this is a free event which takes place the 3rd Friday of every month.  Needless to say the headliner changes, but phew… caught several great performances there (Estrelha Brilante, Wanito).  Did I mention that it’s free?

The below list is by no means exhaustive, but I think these happenings, ranging from food tours, nature, art exhibits, dance and music, are well worth checking out.  Since we’re not all from the islands, there should be something that interests almost anyone.

Feel free to follow along on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, or Instagram.

ONGOING

White Rabbit Society

White Rabbit Society is an open mic/showcase that takes place every 2nd Thursday at The Stage Miami. Its goal is to provide a platform that will give artists the experience and exposure needed to enhance their musical and creative endeavor. FREE.

More info: http://bit.ly/1fIiRcS

Miami Culinary Tours

Every Saturday, tour founder Grace Della or one of her knowledgeable guides leads groups around the Miami’s culinary communities. Tour options include South Beach, Little Havana and most recently Wynwood. Tour-goers get to interact with local artists and hear about the traditions of Santeria. “More than a food walk, MCT’s Little Havana tour is like a cultural detour to Cuba.”

More info: http://bit.ly/1s1hGqa

THROUGH AUG 17

Caribbean: Crossroads of the World

Caribbean: Crossroads of the World will highlight over two centuries of rarely seen works—from paintings and sculptures to prints, photographs, installations, films, and videos—dating from the Haitian Revolution to the present. This exhibition employs an inter-disciplinary approach to advance our understanding of the Caribbean and its artistic heritage and contemporary practices. It focuses on four central themes: Fluid Motions, Counterpoints, Shades of History, and Kingdoms of this World. These interconnected frameworks allow insight into the complex context from which the vital and varied artistic production of the region has emerged, illuminating the multiple histories of the region.

More info: http://bit.ly/1kJEg2t

THROUGH SEPTEMBER 12

Sushi & Stroll Summer Walks at Morikami

Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens welcomes guests on select Friday evenings throughout the summer to experience and explore its Japanese gardens, cold drink in hand while enjoying drum performances by Fushu Daiko. Sip craft sake selections from Stacole Fine Wines – some sweet, sparkling, creamy, or even in a can – that you might not find anywhere else in South Florida.

More info: http://bit.ly/RpEowM

MAY 7

101 Years of Indian Cinemas

A dance/music demonstration that explores the evolution of India’s Bollywood (and other regional) film dance and music from its early age in year 1913 to 2014. Free.

More info: http://on.fb.me/1ipe4ZE

MAY 9-11

Butterfly World Celebrates Moms with Free Admission

From 1988 to 2014, Mother’s Day Weekend has been and is THE weekend at Butterfly World. During our very first year of operation, all Moms were admitted FREE on Mother’s Day, and it instantly became a cherished tradition. Over time the celebration grew from one day to the weekend, to what it is now, a 3 FULL Day Event!

More info: http://bit.ly/1jyeVvK

MAY 10

Brazilian Voices presents Rhythm

Rhythm is an energy-packed, one-of-a-kind performance that will undoubtedly captivate the audience with exhilarating Brazilian music, with songs by Gilberto Gil, Maria Gadu, Lenine, and Milton Nascimento among others. This award-winning all female vocal ensemble, accompanied by great musicians led by Jorge L. Sosa, Brazilian percussionists and dancers will once more take the audience on a journey through emotions, rhythms and culture.

More info: http://bit.ly/1ioS1SO

Taste of Haiti

Sample a range of delicious foods from Haiti’s rich gastronomic heritage, along with family friendly activities. Free.

More info: http://bit.ly/1mEsTvf

MAY 16

Boukman Eksperyans performs at Big Night in Little Haiti

Boukman Eksperyans ushered in a musical revolution with their Grammy-nominated debut album, Voudou Adjae. This brilliant release introduced the world to Boukmans worldly high energy sound fusing traditional Haitian and Caribbean rhythms with rock and reggae. Voudou Adjae brought the band international prominence and made them spokespeople for Haitian people. The night will feature kreyol cuisine from Leela’s Lakay, ice cold Prestige Beer, Clairin Rum at the bar, and more. Free.

More info: http://bit.ly/1hvhmLt

MAY 17

Dragons & Drums, Celebrating Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month

Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with the Ronin Taiko Drummers, Chinese Lion Dancers, Samoan Fire Dancers, and more. Free.

More info: http://bit.ly/1lWdZ53

Sounds of Haiti with Romel Joseph

Sing and dance to Haiti’s most popular children’s folk songs! Haitian classical violinist, Romel Joseph, will perform selections from his collection of musical arrangements in honor of Haitian Heritage Month. All proceeds will benefit Friends of Music Education for Haiti, Inc.

More info: http://bit.ly/1j0oZcf

MAY 18

20th Annual Unifest Celebration

Live Caribbean music and entertainment, cultural displays, a mini carnival street parade, kids zone, arts & crafts booths, health and business expo, Island food and more are always the focus of the festival. The goal is to provide educational scholarship to deserving students of Caribbean heritage from the community, while at the same time providing dynamic, educational and culturally diverse entertainment.

More info: http://bit.ly/1fNDWne

MAY 23

Annual Interest 2014 + Supersaturated

Bedlam Lorenz Assembly and Young At Art Museum present an overabundant exhibition dripping with color and sensory stimuli featuring world-renowned and locally acclaimed contemporary artists: Saya Woolfalk, Kenny Scharf, Federico Uribe, Alex Trimino, Misael Soto, Johnny Robles, Peter Hammar, Michael Gellatly, Katerina Friderici and Jacqueline Falcone..

More info: http://on.fb.me/1g6OM2t

MAY 25

Israeli Dance Festival 2014

Festival Yachad will feature more than 500 dancers on stage with local groups and invited companies from Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Panama and Israel, performing to Israeli folk dance music, with colorful costumes, amazing scenery and spectacular lighting effects. Each dance is choreographed to portray a different moment and milestone in Jewish lives.

More info: http://bit.ly/1g6cNXm

MAY 26

11th Annual Palm Beach Jerk & Caribbean Culture Festival

This year’s Jerk and Caribbean Culture Festival will be held at the South Florida Fairgrounds and feature music by the “Queen of Reggae” Marcia Griffiths, international reggae icon Frankie Paul, dance hall superstar Mr. Vegas, lover’s rock neophyte Romain Virgo and dancehall DJ Josey Wales.

More info: http://bit.ly/1siF6cL

MAY 30

Wow! Cacao! From Bean to Bar: Educational Talk & Tasting

Why does it take 40 days to get from fruit to bean? What is the process of chocolate making? How can Cacao Beans and Nibs and Powder be used and what is the difference between them? How can you make your own chocolate at home with the equipment you already have? Why is this raw product SO good for you? What scientific studies have shown about cacao in its raw state. Uses, techniques and lore..

More info: on.fb.me/1kbYW2l 

JUNE 8

Caribbean Jazz Matazz

With an impressive lineup of top-notch performers, Caribbean Jazz Matazz delivers a mesmerizing fusion of jazz, reggae and calypso music for an unforgettable evening of island sound. Featuring Myrna Hague, one of Jamaica’s top female jazz performers. Also apprearing Richie Stephens backed by Eugene Grey & his band. Special guest appearance by Trinidad’s Charmaine Forde and George Tandy.

More info: http://bit.ly/1nms7ob

JUNE 14

Hollywood Artspark Experience: Colors Of The Caribbean

Celebrate Caribbean American Heritage Month at the Hollywood ArtsPark at Young Circle in Hollywood with a free celebration of Caribbean culture – all free and fun for the family. Highlights at the show include roots reggae from Midnite (Virgin Islands), Haitian konpa group Harmonik, and Caribbean star Kevin Lyttle, plus other delights. The evening also features dance, art, crafts, delicious Caribbean food, and drinks representing the richness and diversity of the Caribbean community.

More info: http://bit.ly/1mA00F2

JUNE 28

Tropical Fruit Festival at Mounts Botanical Garden

In collaboration with the Palm Beach Chapter of the Rare Fruit Council International, this annual festival attracts hundreds of local horticultural enthusiasts, tropical gardening fans, amateur chefs and fruit aficionados. Fun and informative activities include the popular tropical fruit tastings, cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs, and purchases from food trucks, tropical fruit displays and tours of the Garden.

More info: http://bit.ly/1oizZqv