The night is warm, the music hot. This is St Maarten/St Martin where the music is as varied and diverse as the people who live here. The hot sounds of Latin, funky Soul, blood-stirring Rock, foot-tapping Pop, cool Reggae and pulsating Zouk, with thumping, heart-busting Soca and Calypso thrown in for good measure, and the whole lot tempered down with soothing classical and flamenco guitar, making up the melting pot of the music scene on the island. Let’s introduce you to some of our most popular musical maestros!

 By Kerry Biddle-Chadwick

If Rock and Pop stir your blood, then you won’t go wrong with Mr. Skin. You won’t walk into a place where he is playing and think “wallpaper” as that just does not enter into his vocabulary. However, that being said, for a restaurant the music will never be so loud that you won’t be able to eat your meal either. Mr Skin has the perfect balance of Blues and Rock/Pop to cool the air off or to heat to searing depending on what the crowd is enjoying. A bar is a totally different matter and he will rock the place off the foundations and have people up off their seats and dancing. Catch him at his regular gigs at Ciao and Royal Palm in Simpson Bay, Bikini Beach in Orient Bay, and Sesame Kafe in Grand Case, or listen to his show Beyond The Pond on Wednesday nights on Island 92.

For Pop and Rhythm and Blues, hotfoot it to Pineapple Pete’s and listen to longtime resident musician Ronnie Santana entertain the dinner crowds with popular covers and then crank up the volume and heat with his band House of Blues once a week. The musicians in House of Blues all play in other bands on the island as well, so don’t be surprised if you see them playing totally different styles in other places. The staff at Pineapple Pete’s love to pull one over on visitors, saying that Ronnie is related to Carlos Santana, even though Ronnie is originally from Indonesia and looks nothing like the other Santana. Some late nights you can catch Ronnie Santana and Gianfranco playing at the Red Piano for a sound leaning much more towards Blues and Rock.

Heat up the night with Latin Sugar and let the passion of Salsa and Merengue set free your spirit for fun. If you see Ranchos in Simpson Bay or Calmos Café in Grand Case shaking at the seams, that would be Latin Sugar cranking it out.

Moving right along to funky Soul and horns, horns, horns. Sax player, Mo Melin, trumpet player, Youmay Dormoy, and trombone player, Sasa bring One White Chick up to a whole new level of island Soul. Funky, sit-up-and-take-notice kind of sounds that make you want to get up and dance and break out in gooseflesh every time the horn section kicks in, while Nacio on bass and drummer, Handel, work together to keep the whole thing together and as tight as a... drum skin. After all that heat, slide into the soothing sounds of a more classical nature. Jim Spector creates a relaxing atmosphere where you can kick back and unwind with classical guitar and flamenco and enjoy every word of an intimate conversation with your partner. The Stone in Pelican is graced by Jim’s special brand of music so if soothing is what you need, then that is where you will find him.

And for the final curtain... reggae, zouk, soca and calypso...the very soul of the islands. DreadI, a well-known reggae man whom most visitors to the island know by his wanderings up and down the beach at Orient Bay with CD player, headphones and a handful of his CD’s in hand, but is better known with locals as playing with his band at various functions and venues. Barbwire band add to the pulse of Grand Case at Blue Martini, and Percy Rankin and The Bonfire Band set the island pace at Sunset Bar and Grill.

The Red Piano is a popular bar in Pelican and always features seasoned and highly talented entertainers on the piano as nightly entertainment. Church on Monday is the house rock band - to be enjoyed on Mondays.

Now all that’s left is to decide what you would like to do for the evening – rock until you drop, or start off slow and end up dancing barefoot in the sand, the choice is yours.