Grupo Piedra di Bonaire

The name of a big rock in the north of Bonaire has been chosen in 1994 as the name of this Barí music group. This group was founded by some friends in Antriol, namely Robby Martis and Bubu Evertsz, in the seventies. At the end of the year they played Barí music singing about the spectacular happenings on the island during that ending year. Mainly in the weekends they created ambiance on the pavement of Theater Oranje and during the carnival time trembling the centre of Kralendijk with their Creole Jump-up in front of Theater Carib.

In 1993 it was decided to make the group more formal and organized by adding instruments such as kwarta, bass and wiri. The group started with performances on cultural festivals and private parties at home. Gradually but surely the group, still without a name, began to take shape and became widely known. In 1994 they got the golden opportunity to represent Bonaire at the Festival Afro Caribbean in Valencia, Venezuela.  The group couldn’t travel without a name and that’s when the name Piedra di Bonaire, was born. A name they took with much love.

The success of Grupo Piedra di Bonaire continued and also representing Bonaire in more cultural festivals; amoung others, at the Carifesta Festival in Trinidad, Festival del Caribe in Cancún, Mexico, Festival kultural de Ibague, Colombia and on the sister islands of Aruba and Curaçao. The group accompanied several dance groups and also participated with the recording of CD special for the end of the year. In 1996 the group recorded a cassette with Creole Barí songs.

Supported by Knap Fonds Nederlandse Antillen produced the Foundation in august 1997 the CD “Ban Kuid’e” with Grupo Piedra di Bonaire. On the album are ten songs with a variation of rhythm from Barí till Calypso which has the sub-title “Kansion i ritmo pa Klein Bonaire”. The first song on the album “Nos Klein Bonaire” is a translation of the original English version “Klein for everyone”. This song is composed by the family Gast living for years on the island and who love Bonaire and its nature. The family has given the lyrics as a gift to the foundation.

The realisation of this album, “Ban Kuid’e”, is thanks to the Foundation Preservation Klein Bonaire which has so much appreciation for the group. This foundation mobilised the whole world raising funds to buy back this small island named Klein Bonaire.

At the end of 1999 Klein Bonaire was bought back from Harry Belafonte and Maurice Neme for the people of Bonaire. As a tribute to this tropical pearl, Harry wrote his most famous song, the world hit “Island in the sun ‘.

The funds are now managed by Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) since one of their on-going projects is monitoring and protecting the turtles (and environment) of Klein Bonaire.

The group Piedra di Bonaire has been disbanded for many years now but their songs are still alive.