Tanny and The Boys – St. Maarten’s Musical Story-Tellers

Tanny and the Boys is a well-known six-member “string band” from the island of St. Maarten. The members are: George Violenus, manager and tambora player; Jocelyn Arndell, guiro (scraper); Federico “Culebra” Nathaniel Smith, ukulele banjo player and vocalist*; Maxime Emeal Reed, guitarist and lead vocalist; Edward Violenus, accordionist; and James Roosevelt Samuel, marimba.*

  • Their music is an eclectic mix of sounds from the Caribbean and the world including calypso, waltz waltz, polka, and schottisch (the schottisch is similar to the polka but slower); American country western and blues; Dominican merengue; Spanish Caribbean bolero; Colombian cumbia; French Caribbean beguine; and tumba from Curaçao.*
  • Tanny & The Boys was founded in the late 1970s and has the distinction of being the oldest existing band—of uninterrupted music-making–on the island.**
  • The band is named after its once bandleader Nathaniel “Tanny” Davis. Tanny played music for nearly 50 years before retiring in the 1990s (his banjo was made in St. Martin by Albert Cocks and is over 40 years old). He also played the “cuatro,” a small four-string guitar.**
  • In 1992, Tanny & The Boys released Fête: The first recording of traditional St. Martin’s festive music(LP/cassette, Mountain Dove Records). At the onset of the new century came the release of Classic Tanny & The Boys – String Band Music from St. Martin, (A Mongoose Production, 2000), the band’s first CD.**
  • “The Boys” play merengue, calypso, tumba, bolero, waltz, pop, blues, polka, and mazurka with a grace, confidence, and macho mastery that is legendary to the culture of old time musicians, especially as expressed in the playing and posture of the classic panman.**





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MISSION: To elevate the brand of Caribbean culture in the fields of MUSIC, BUSINESS and the ARTS by celebrating the work of cultural ambassadors while advocating for upcoming Caribbean talent1.



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