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Experience the Caribbean

Signature Events

Event Details

Hear the sounds and feel the rhythm of the Caribbean at MIM! Experience the vibrant musical traditions of the islands through live musical performances, workshops, Curator Talks, crafts, and other fun, hands-on activities.

Sponsored by APS
Supported by the Arizona Caribbean Cultural Association, Arizona Carnival and Festival, Casa Venezuela Arizona, and the Puerto Rican Center of Arizona
Photography courtesy of James Taylor

Caribbean-Themed Gifts Available for Purchase
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Museum Store
Celebrate the Caribbean’s diverse and colorful traditions when you shop the Museum Store for vibrant music, books, and gifts.

Instrument Spotlight: Caribbean Percussion
9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Upper El Río
Hit, scrape, and pluck some of the most distinctive percussion instruments of the Caribbean. Enjoy this opportunity to try your hand at the tambora, the merengue güira, and the marimbula before exploring the Latin America Gallery to find them on display.

Pandereta Craft-Making Activity
9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
South El Río
In Puerto Rico, panderetas are frame drums used to play a style of folk music called plena. Come by the craft table to build your own handheld pandereta and take home this traditional, easy-to-play drum.

Photo Booth
9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
El Río
Have your picture taken with costumes and props at MIM’s custom photo booth, and instantly get your own copy to take home.

Steel Pan Performance
10:30–11:15 a.m. (Saturday), 3:15–4:00 p.m. (Sunday)
North El Río
Enjoy the unmistakable sound of steel pans from the Caribbean dual-island country of Trinidad and Tobago with Phoenix’s premier steel drum band, J.T.’s Island Steel. Led by musician, arranger, and composer James “J.T.” Taylor, these experienced pan players join MIM to showcase their tropical tunes.

Face Painting
11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
South El Río
Add some lively Caribbean colors to your look! Have your face painted with colorful designs by the skilled painters of Evolving Through Art.

Caribbean-Inspired Lunch Menu Available for Purchase
11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Café Allegro
Enjoy a special menu at Café Allegro highlighting Caribbean flavors, with dishes including “Taste of the Islands” black bean soup, Jamaican beef hand pie, and Caribbean curried goat stew.

Curator Talk: “Folk and Popular Music from the Island of Hispaniola – Towards a Haitian and Dominican Musical Reconciliation?”
11:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
Event Room 3
Beneath the surface of the high-energy, danceable grooves of Caribbean music is a much deeper human experience, one born from the resilience and creative expression of island peoples who have endured tremendous struggle and sacrifice. Join this presentation by MIM’s Curator for Latin America and the Caribbean, Daniel Piper, PhD, to appreciate the history and cultures of Haitian and Dominican people and deepen your experience of their folk and popular music.  Despite a conflictual relationship and major differences in language, history, and culture, Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the island of Hispaniola, centuries of fluid borders and migration, many common Afro-Caribbean cultural traits, and similarities in music. Aided by musical examples, photography, and video, Piper’s talk will explore commonalities between Haitian and Dominican folk and religious music (vodou, rara, salves, palos, and others) and popular danceable styles including konpa, misik rasin, and merengue.

Dr. Piper will also have a selection of Haitian and Dominican instruments from MIM’s collection accompanying his talk. Join him fifteen minutes before and after his presentation for an up-close look!

Latin-Caribbean Music Performance
12:30–1:15 p.m.
North El Río
With decades of experience in the Latin jazz and salsa music scene across the United States, Miguel “El Mambo” DeLeon and the Cárte-Blánc Jazz Project will present “The Soul of Mambo,” performing world-class Latin music that has roots in the Caribbean, but branches extending across the globe.

Salsa and Bachata Dance Workshop
1:30–2:15 p.m.
Event Room 2
Come learn about Latin and Caribbean dance styles and try some salsa and bachata moves yourself! Join dancers from aRAZando Dance Company for a workshop on some dance techniques from the Caribbean islands.

Curator’s Mini-Tour of Caribbean Exhibits
2:30–2:45 p.m.
Upper El Río
Feel like a VIP on this mini-tour of MIM’s Caribbean displays with curator Daniel Piper. On Saturday, he will highlight Puerto Rico, the steel pan from Trinidad, and the French-speaking Caribbean; on Sunday he will introduce collections from Cuba and the French- and English-speaking Lesser Antilles islands.

Bomba Drumming Workshop
3:15–4:00 p.m. (Saturday only)
Event Room 2
Drop in to learn and play a traditional style of Puerto Rican drumming called bomba during this workshop led by local percussionists José Rodriguez and Carl Steinmetz. This intricate and lively music is sure to get you up and moving, so prepare your hands, feet, and spirit for a fun time.

Café Allegro Lunch Menu Highlights

Caribbean Curried Goat Stew with Potatoes

“Taste of the Islands” Black Bean Soup with Plantains and Rice

Jamaican Beef Hand Pie

Jerk Chicken with Red Beans and Rice