derek mckeith (naniki caribbean jazz safari)

Derek McKeith Performs at the Naniki Caribbean Jazz Fafari Festival

*(Bridgetown, Barbados) – Jazz and education came together like never before this morning as the Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari presented a Music Workshop for Young Musicians in conjunction with the Traveling Guitar Foundation of the United States.

An invitation was extended to selected schools to send five (5) students each to the workshop held at the Combermere School Hall.  The schools sending students were: Foundation School, Parkinson Memorial Secondary, Coleridge and Parry Secondary, Lester Vaughan Secondary, and Combermere School.

The Traveling Guitar Foundation is the brainchild of guitarist and songwriter Damon Marks who has performed and recorded with a wide range of notable musicians throughout his career, including Alicia Keys and Jermaine Paul, winner of the first season (2012) of the television competition The Voice.   The organisation’s focus is to inspire children through music and education by ensuring that music education programmes are available to them in schools.  Since 2010, the Foundation has provided musical equipment, guitar clinics, and support for music education programs across the United States, working to ensure that students have access to high-quality musical instruments and comprehensive instruction throughout their formative years.

Not only did the Traveling Guitar Foundation present a workshop for students, but the group also donated five guitars to schools in Barbados for children.

“I’ve always felt that the arts play a critical role in a child’s development in school,” said the Traveling Foundation’s Damon Marks. “My whole thing is basically this – as long as I know that these guitars are going to be given to children and that these children are going to be taught properly, I don’t mind going anywhere in the world to do it because it’s for the children, and they’re our future.”

According to Sandra Trim-DaCosta – Executive Director of the Foundation, the five first-class guitars donated to schools in Barbados were possible by both the Foundation and one of its primary sponsors, Schecter Guitars through the company’s Artist Relations Director Allan Steelgrave.  Schecter instruments are played by some of the world’s leading guitarists including Damon Marks himself and the artist once again known as Prince.

Other Foundation sponsors include BulLion Entertainment, Google and Mogami Cables.

“The Traveling Guitar Foundation will mark the first time that the charity has gone outside of the US to visit schools,” said Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari Founder Tom Hinds.  “Today’s workshop has been an opportunity for students between the ages of 11 and 16 from the secondary schools to gain exposure to guitar playing at the highest level.  This event was one of the most exciting features of an already jam-packed Jazz Safari.”

The Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari which runs from January 17 to 21 in Barbados, and the Traveling Guitar Foundation group, led by its US West Coast Director Derek McKeith will also perform as part of the festival on Sunday, January 20 at the Ilaro Court.  McKeith will be joined by DIOS Music/BulLion Entertainment recording artist rapper Stereo H. (aka H. BING), and jazz/ R&B keyboardist Van Taylor of Taylor Made Jazz. Anre’ “NJ Rey” DaCosta, the Traveling Guitar Foundation’s Director of Business Development, will conduct workshops with the artists

The Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari is endorsed by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation and sponsored by LIAT,   the Barbados Tourism Authority, Department of Tourism for Antigua & Barbuda, the Frank Collymore Hall, the Grenada Tourist Board, the St Vincent & the Grenadines Tourism Authority, United Insurance, The U.S. Embassy to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Hilton Barbados Resort, Jolly Beach Resort, Mount Cinnamon Resort, National Cultural Foundation,  Spice Basket, Harrison’s Cave, The Travel House, Caribbean Super Station, The Observer , Super Centre, Farmer’s Choice,, Courtesy Rent-A-Car, Smirnoff, Quality Sound Inc, B3 Imaging, Johnnie Walker, and The Travelling Guitar Foundation.



Alison Saunders
SFa Communications, Inc.
[email protected]

Sandra Trim-Da Costa
[email protected]