GREAT BAY, St. Martin (May 4, 2017)—The St. Maarten Carnival has just ended but music is still in the Caribbean air. And music will be critically highlighted at the St.

Martin Book Fair, June 1 – 3, 2017, said Shujah Reiph, the literary festival director.

“The music workshop will be conducted by Dr. Petra R. Rivera-Rideau, who will present reggaetón in what could be a revolutionary way compared to how we generally think of, rap along with, or dance to this popular music originating in the Caribbean,” said Lasana M. Sekou, a book fair co-founder with Reiph.

Dr. Rivera-Rideau comes with her highly recommended book Remixing Reggaetón: The Cultural Politics of Race in Puerto Rico. Along with her examination of the racial politics of the Latin urban music scene, Dr. Rivera-Rideau’s ongoing research on popular music and society is very significant to the peoples and cultures of the Caribbean and Latin America understanding themselves and each other, said Sekou.

Dr. Rivera-Rideau is also the co-editor with Jennifer A. Jones and Tianna S. Paschel of Afro-Latin@s in Movement: Critical Approaches to Blackness and Transnationalism in the Americas. The assistant professor of American Studies at Wellesley College holds a PhD in African Diaspora Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

The interactive reggaetón presentation will add to the series of well-attended music workshops hosted by the St. Martin Book Fair since 2003, at the University of St. Martin (USM), said Reiph.

Music history, writing songs, analyzing lyrics, judging calypsos, how sexual content in contemporary songs affect St. Martin children are areas covered over the years in pan, kaiso, hip hop, and reggae workshops by experts and artists such as Dr. Hollis “Chalkdust” Liverpool (Trinidad & Tobago), Michaela Angela Davis (USA), Isidore “Mighty Dow” York (St. Martin), Kwame Dawes (USA), and Dr. Carolyn Cooper (Jamaica).

“I’m very excited about Dr. Petra Rivera’s contribution to our book fair for the entire family,” said Reiph. “Her presentation will definitely boost our understanding, skills, and enjoyment of another Caribbean music that is taking the world by storm.”

The St. Martin Book Fair 2017 is scheduled to open at Cité Scolaire Robert Weinum on Thursday, June 1, at 8 pm, said Reiph. The new high school/jr. high school complex is located in The Savanna—the area between Rambaud and Grand Case. The main day of workshops, open mic readings, book sales and book signings by famous, new, and upcoming writers is set for USM on Saturday, June 3.

Conscious Lyrics Foundation and House of Nehesi Publishers are organizing the 15th anniversary of the literary festival in collaboration with St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, University of St. Martin, and LC Fleming Foundation, along with SOS radio 95.9 FM and Peridot Foundation, said Reiph.


p8-Petra Rivera-Rideau

Prof. Petra R. Rivera-Rideau to conduct the reggaetón workshop at 15th annual St. Martin Book Fair.
(Photo courtesy PRR)