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Benki contains a wide selection of digital articles dedicated to preserving our national musical patrimony.

Listen to our curated Benki playlist on Skempi and read our collection of musical articles below.

Ever Wonder What Started The Festival Di Tumba In Curaçao?

Ash Wednesday, a day when many of Christian and Catholic faith, among others, go to church to receive their blessed ashes on their forehead and a day that marks the beginning of Lent, a period of piety, repentance and self-denial, marks the beginning of a new period. For many people on several Caribbean islands, among […]

How Caribbean Music Helped Put Colombia On The Map

Ever heard of the Caribbean region of Colombia?  In case you haven’t I’m talking about those eight states to the country’s north, straddled by or directly in the Caribbean Sea. And in case you’re saying “Caribbean-Shmaribbean, it’s still Colombia, right? Why should I have heard of that one particular region?” Yes, the majority of those […]

The Untold Story Behind Merengue Music

In this entry we take a look at a period in musical history. Particularly one in Curaçao’s region namely that of Merengue and the Dominican Republic. You can’t talk about Merengue without talking about the Dominican Republic. It is one of the country’s premier exports. In close contention with Prince Royce, Romeo Santos, Zoe Saldana, […]

Tambú Music: A Survival Story

You ever heard of the Lambada? That Afro-Brazilian dance that gained international popularity in the 1980s? It was also known as the Forbidden Dance. Ring a bell now? Well, that ‘forbidden dance’ title was all for show to sell movie tickets, my friend. Try living it for real, generation after generation for over 350 years. […]

The Rise Of Reggaetón

Back in April of 2004, Reggaetón was everywhere in Puerto Rico; shopping malls, schools, restaurants, bars, cars, busses, beaches. And this was before the big explosion. Reggaetón was gaining momentum in other countries by then with artists like Tego Calderón, Luny Tunes and Don Omar getting airplay, sure, but it was not until October when […]

When Salsa Music Took Over the World

Salsa music! That whirlwind of congas, horns, intricate dance moves and suave attitudes. The mastery of which has become the main armament in the seduction weaponry of many a Don Juan this side of Antonio Banderas in his ‘Desperado’ days. The global phenomenon, the international dance found in pretty much all the metropolitan cities of the […]

The Deep Roots Of Reggae’s Global Reach

You’ve heard of New Zealand, right? That unimaginably far-off island nation where they filmed “The Lord of the Rings”, that land of sharp mountain peaks, rugby and Maori tribes? Well, you know what else is omnipresent over there? The Caribbean music form Reggae. As a matter of fact, you will be hard-pressed to find a […]

Why Rudy Plaate Was Hated By A Dictator

In this entry we press pause on a specific year in music history which took place in 1961. You know what happened then? Drama in the Caribbean sea, off the coast of the small Caribbean island of Curaçao, which inspired a song. Vague, right? Let us give you the backstory. In the year 1961, the […]

The Time Chin Behilia Forced The Hand Of Pinochet!

In Curaçao we all know Oswin ‘Chin’ Behilia today as the man with the golden bronze voice, author of our national anthem surrogate “Plegaria” and a conscientious singer-songwriter who over the span of his career has provided vivid catalogs of the every day lives of Curaçaoans from many walks of life on his beloved island. […]

Making Sure The Legends Are Never Forgotten

You ever heard of Joseph Sickman Corsen?  Well, you should have. This Curaçaoan is considered by many to be the father of Papiamentu literature, for which he blazed a trail with the immortal poem “Atardi”, published in Curaçao on September 27th,1905. Said poem established Papiamentu as a medium with viable profundity when it comes to […]

The Night A Dutch Man Made Carnival History in Curaçao

In this entry we take you back to 1992 when the Curaçao’s Carnival season was bewitched by the timeless Tumba classic “Kumpli Kuné” (Fulfill Your Obligation). Which made its debut in the Festival di Tumba of that year and left an indelible mark on all the following carnival seasons. The occasion marked the first time […]

A Different Kind Of Musical Story

We venture into music played on walls. What does that mean? Francis Sling’s story will give you the answer. The artist known as Francis Sling was born in the year 1979 in Curaçao, where he grew up in the district of Seru Fortuna. He lived on the island until he was 20 years old, when […]

Who Was Julián Coco?

In this entry we feature the legendary bassist and guitarist Julián Coco (full name Julián Basílico Coco), born on the 9th of January in 1924 in Curaçao. He grew up in the Otrobanda district of Willemstad and taught himself how to play the cuatro, mandolin and guitar. In 1953 he received a scholarship to go […]

The 5 Most Influential Caribbean Artists Of All Time

Well, the title pretty much speaks for itself, right? Or does it? It’s a dicey game using the word influential. But when you look at the careers of the artists on this list, the impact they have had on their respective Caribbean genres and how they almost single-handedly catapulted them to global celebrity, the role […]

Some Tipiko Santa Rosa For Your Listening Pleasure

In this item we bring you a throwback to a very influential album in Dutch Caribbean music lore. Namely the 1979 Tipiko Santa Rosa album “Kob’e Pos”, which features among others the resounding classics “Mi Djègèdjègè” and “Un Poko Mas”. The band itself was founded in the 1930s by Francisco “Chi” Domatilia and from that […]

The Story Of Aruban Living Legend Padu del Caribe

This entry features the biography of Padu del Caribe. The man, the legend, the father of Aruban culture: Padu del Caribe is perhaps one of the most internationally renowned and influential artists his beloved native island of Aruba has ever known. Starting with the release of his first record in late 1960 – which was […]

Rudy Plaate’s Timeless Masterwork Revisited!

In this piece the album “Solo Sali” by Curaçaoan music luminary Rudy Plaate receives a shining spotlight. Released in 1960, this album has reached immortal status with many tunes that have become as transcendent as they are resplendent. Among the album’s ageless masterpieces are “Minirok” – which, oddly, Rudy Plaate himself was not particularly fond […]

La Perfecta Gives You The Perfect Throwback

In this piece we bring you a classic song that will envelop you in nostalgia and warm loving sentiments. This classic is none other than the La Perfecta record “Liefdespaar”. The heavily accented Dutch somehow adds to the song’s alluring charm. La Perfecta released many smash hits in its day and this song is a […]

Meet The Queen Of Calypso

Calypso Rose – born Linda McCartha Monica Sandy-Lewis on April 27th 1940, in Bethel Village, Trinidad & Tobago – grew up in a small village on the island of Tobago, one of the two Caribbean islands forming the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago. She composed her first calypso at the age of 15 in 1955. […]

A Short Film Which Celebrates Curaçaoan Culture

We take another grab in the vault of Caribbean musical history and bring you a short film created in 1962. The film was titled Solo Sali and was filmed in Curaçao with an all-Curaçaoan cast and all-Curaçaoan music and is a celebration of Curaçaoan folk legends, culture and customs. Enjoy this blast from the past! […]

Julián Coco And Erwin Prudencia Pay Homage To The Wals

This item features the talents of the living legend Erwin Prudencia and the late legend Julián Coco performing a Curaçaoan Wals at a concert of the latter in Curaçao some time in the 1980s. In the video Julián Coco also puts some of his signature quick wit and folksy humor on display. Enjoy!

Go Back In Time With Claudius Philips

In this piece we bring you an Aruban classic from the Aruban hitmaker Claudius Philips. There are so many masterpieces to choose from when it comes to this Dutch Caribbean legend, but in this instance we place the spotlight on an album of his in particular which is the album We Are Back At Last. […]

When Celia Cruz Sang In Papiamentu

We take another grab in the vault of Caribbean music and pull out a powerhouse in the form of the Cuban musical empress Celia Cruz. Born Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso on October 21st, 1925, in Havana, Cuba, this singer of Latin music was the most popular Latin artist of the 20th […]

Rizam’s Classic Revisited

In this piece we bring you another gem from the past in the form of Rizam’s 1998 classic “Bule Bula”, sung by Paul Welvaart. This song had a very significant message. It namely urged listeners, male listeners in particular, to always seek the non-violent path to resolve issues, to ‘jump over’ conflicts instead of firing […]

A Lovely Throwback From Komèr

We bring you “Kuchi Kuchi”, the classic love letter in song from Komèr. This single became a huge hit in its day and you can see why; the Hot Merengue melody and the lead vocalist’s cooing vocals as she professes her love are nothing short of enchanting. If you’re feeling down, this song is sure […]

A Gentz Gem Revisited

We bring you a classic from Curaçaoan superband Gentz. And no, it’s not “No Bai”. The magical memory lane treasure featured here is the 2015 single “Skonde Pa Amor”. Although the subject matter is not exactly jovial – I mean, the verse “If love is in the air / I will never breathe again” doesn’t […]

A Throwback From Ir-Sais

We bring you a single by the Bonairean superstar Ir-Sais that reached many ears back in its day. The single in question is the profound “Awo Mi Mes A Mire”, released in 2011. The subject matter is admittedly somewhat of a downer, but Ir-Sais’s silky voice most certainly is not. And the easy going melody also […]

A Splendid Performance By Kimu Candelaria

Erquimides ‘Kimu’ Candelaria was a legendary Curaçaoan singer-songwriter who achieved massive fame in his day thanks in no small part to his characteristically soulful voice. He had great success both as a solo artist and as a member of the group Trio Melodias, releasing a slew of hits in the 1950s and 60s. In this […]

A Performance For The Ages By GIO Fuertisimo

We take you back to 1995, when the legendary Curaçaoan band GIO Fuertisimo gave a live performance at Curaçao’s Festival Center. The songs they performed were all crowd winners but there was one in particular that stood out. It was the ageless classic “Biba Bai Laga Nan”. The topic continues to resonate with those who […]

Nice And Crispy With Macay

We bring you one of the many classics from the legendary Macario ‘Macay’ Prudencia. It is the crisply lively gem “Bròs Bròs”. The immortal Macay Prudencia infused all his productions with his jolly and folksy character and this classic is no exception. The way he lists and expresses his appreciation for the different types of […]

The Saint Lucian Queen Of Culture

In this entry we bring you the story of Sesenne, a Saint Lucian singer and cultural icon. She was born Marie Selipha Charlery (later Descartes when she married) in La Point, Micoud, Saint Lucia on the 28th of March 1914. The area where she was born and grew up is the patois Kwéyòl-speaking part of […]

Back In Time With Boy Dap

Anselmus “Boy” Dap, born October 25th 1933, needs no introduction in Curaçao. He is widely known on the island as “E Tata di Tumba” (The Father of Tumba), a title which he received after he won Curaçao’s Festival di Tumba a record ten times. His first big hit was the Tumba gem “E Djaka”, which […]

Happy To See Doble R!

In this instance we bring you yet another trip back in time. This time it comes courtesy of Doble R and their classic piece “Kontent’i Mirabu”. With legendary composer Rignald Recordino at the helm this band was a conveyor belt of hit songs on the island of Curaçao for nearly 40 years. One of their […]

Arnell i Su Orquesta’s Ode To Fishermen

In this instance we bring you Arnell i su Orquesta’s 2003 version of “Ola Wawa”. This ode to fishermen tells a vivid story while mesmerizing the listeners with melodic Salsa rhythms. This band has been entertaining the Dutch Caribbean community for decades now and the song “Ola Wawa” is just the right length to keep […]

Ced Ride Tells A Story

In this piece we deliver a blast from the past courtesy of Ced Ride’s classic performance of the immortal Pierre Lauffer poem “Balada Di Buchi Fil”. The lament and passion in Ced Ride’s voice as he tells the unfortunate story of the slave Buchi Fil while hitting every note with force and dedication is sure […]

A Golden Masterpiece From Boy Thode

Boy Thode has released over 40 albums, both as a solo artist and as a member of ERA Outentiko. In 2016 ERA Outentiko released the album “The Sky Is The Limit” which became a gigantic hit in Curaçao thanks in no small part to the smash “E Sekreto”, which featured Boy Thode on lead vocals. […]

Another Timeless Gem From Doble R

In this piece we bring you the Doble R classic “Ayo Marisse” from their 1975 album Super Special Stars. Although the subject matter is a bit somber (two friends fall in love with the same woman and both decide to end their relationships with her), this song is sure to have you floating. It is […]

A Classic From ENOS

We bring you a classic from the musical group ENOS, which stands for El Nuevo Ompi Stefania. The classic is none other than “Bekita Dams”. This Tumba became a huge hit upon release. It features verses from the poem “Bekita”, written by one of Curaçao’s greats of Papiamentu poetry Elis ‘Ompi Elis’ Juliana. It is […]

The Queen Of Merengue

In this entry we go to the island nation of the Dominican Republic and its reigning Queen of the Merengue, Milly Quezada. Born Milagros Quezada Borbón (1955) in San Carlos, Villa Francisca, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, she moved with her family to New York at a very early age and completed her education there. Her […]

How Do You Eat An OREO?

In this piece we bring you a classic from 1998. The classic is none other than Claudius Philips’s extremely fun gem “Con Bo Ta Come O.R.E.O.” from his album Call Me. It has been said often about classic gems featured on this site but it is no less true now: this is sure to put […]

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