Caribbean vibe cruises toward La Verne

Taylor Bolanos
LV Life Editor

Relaxing vibes from authentic musicians and tasty food meshed with good company for a day of Jamaican cultural appreciation Wednesday in Sneaky Park.

Hosted by the Campus Activities Board, the Caribbean Cruise event featured live music to offer attendants authentic Jamaican sounds and a chance for guests to experience the vibes of the culture.

Alyssa Ramos, CAB concert chair and sophomore speech communication major, and Autumn Simon, CAB multicultural chair and journalism major, teamed up for an immersive cultural experience.

The event opened with the melodic stylings of Amadou Fall, a musician from Senegal. Even from a distance, students heard the gentle tunes of Fall’s unusually shaped wooden instrument.

Fall performed with the Kora, a stringed instrument that he has played for 20 years and has been in his family for generations.

“When I play this instrument, I feel God,” Fall said. “I learned it at home in Africa. Our father played it, our grandfather played it. (We) play to tell stories, to heal people.”

Ramos was pleased with the musical guests.

“(Fall) was really pretty,” Ramos said. “I like the way he sounded, very vibey.”

The ComeUnity Band, a reggae inspired group from Long Beach, inspired and impressed students as they ate meals of plantains, rice, chicken and other Caribbean inspired food from Hilltop’s Jamaican Market and Restaurant in Pomona.

Between the warm and spicy smells of the authentic lunch and laid-back tunes, the event was an enjoyable experience.

The band composed of several guitarists and vocalists played self-written songs for the majority of the event. The live music instilled serenity and pleasing sounds amongst students.

With red, green and black decorations and a booth of temporary tattoos by Gold Ink Tattoos, CAB drew inspiration from Jamaican culture.

“I really liked the band,” sophomore photography major Sarah Vander Zon said. “It’s music that I’ve never heard before.”

Vander Zon said the music reminded her of the beach and enjoyed the Caribbean food.

“I really liked (Fall) at the beginning,” Vander Zon said. “The music makes me feel relaxed, calm.”

Beyond food and music, the Caribbean Cruise was a learning experience for students. As an outlet for culture and new experiences, the event opened up La Verne to a different heritage and offered a chance to appreciate Jamaica.

“I love doing this event,” Simon said. “I can learn something as well as teach something.”

Shades of Essence hosted a Mardi Gras themed booth as well. The club promotes empowerment of women of color and celebrates their achievements.

Simon, publicist for the club, wanted to incorporate various elements of African culture in honor of Black History month and included Mardi Gras as it has roots in African heritage.

By blending different clubs and aspects of CAB, La Verne had a chance to better understand another culture’s values.

Taylor Bolanos can be reached at taylor.bolanos@laverne.edu.

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