How do you keep what is arguably the Caribbean’s most endangered music alive? Well that is Swanky Kitchen Band’s mission! Dedicated to preserving traditional Cayman Islands kitchen dance music, while keeping it fresh for a new generation, Swanky Kitchen Band has been the cultural flag bearers for the Cayman Islands since 2003.
This dynamic 10-piece band comprises Samuel Rose (violin) Nicholas Johnson (guitar), Daniel Augustine (drums), Paula Scott (grater/shakers) Lammie Seymour (bass) Devon Edie, (sax/harmonica), Jonathan Ebanks (lead guitar) KK Alese- (vocals), Jeffrey Wilson (vocals) and Stanley Ebanks (percussion).
In Cayman, “Swanky” is a refreshing local beverage made from brown sugar, water and limes- and like the drink, Swanky Kitchen Band’s sound is refreshingly sweet. Audiences who experience their renditions of kitchen band music for the first time, are wowed by its universal appeal and often liken it to bluegrass or other folk music forms.
They stay true to their violin-centric roots which can be traced back to the Irish and Celtic fiddling traditions brought to the Cayman Islands by its earliest permanent settlers. But the vibrant rhythms brought across by African slaves are undeniably the heartbeat of the music. The unique blending of African and European heritage runs through the blood lines of native Caymanians as well as through their beloved kitchen dance music.
Swanky Kitchen Band has crafted a distinctly authentic sound which balances preserving Caymanian heritage with putting a fresh spin on popular music and old standards. Listeners will recognize other musical influences, including mento, calypso, reggae and jazz which add depth and variety to their performances. Fans are always taken on a musical journey from the past to the future, from elegant to high energy, from the tiny Cayman Islands to the world.
They have opened for Natalie Cole, Arturo Tappin, Ravi Coltrane and Yolanda Adams and have taken the show on the road twice to New York for Caribbean Tourism Organization Week, performed in Panama, and impressed audiences throughout Trinidad at CARIFESTA 2006. Their impressive body of work and unfailing commitment to their craft has earned them the prestigious Cayman National Cultural Foundation’s Cultural Heritage Award. Swanky has also completed two albums – “A Swanky Christmas” 2008 and “Sand Dance” 2011. With more recording projects in the pipeline, Swanky Kitchen Band promises to go from strength to strength.
Fully committed to their mission of keeping traditional kitchen dance music alive and carrying the torch for this generation, Swanky Kitchen Band is proud to be recognized as the guardians of Caymanian musical heritage.