“…Support means providing information, workshops and lectures so that everyone may have access to all the tools and opportunities I used to reach my goal. This is a very hands-on type of support. I believe it is also important to have an educational system kids can turn to, to develop their talents. This is the only way to keep local music alive, interesting and developing. It needs to grow, develop and be injected with new blood and ideas.”
Name: Izaline Francisca Juanita Calister
Date of Birth: 9th of March but the year is a big big secret
Place of Birth: The beautiful sunny island of Curacao
Your connection to the Caribbean: I was born there and lived there most of my life, the most important formative part of my live there. I love the vibe, the sounds, the colours, the music, the people……need I go on???
Highschool attended: Radulphus College. Willemstad, Curaçao
Current Studies /Occupation: Well I finished studying a few years ago. I studied Business Administration in Groningen and when I finished this I studied Music in Groningen as well and graduated in 1998.
What is or are the accomplishments you are most proud of up to now?
Bringing the music that I write and sing in my own language papiamentu, to all parts of the world. There is no greater feeling than noticing that it works everywhere and people leave the concert with a happy smile on their face even if they don’t understand a word I am singing.
Who has been your inspiration?
Oswin ‘chin’ Behilia, Richard Bona, Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, Sara Tavares. Artists from different parts of the world who create by mixing and matching different influences in a unique way.
What are the choices you made that you believe have brought you to where you are today?
Early on in my career I decided to be a true professional; to always be on time, always well prepared, always fair and straight, always friendly….and artistically always follow my gut feeling and my heart.
What do you feel about the state of Antillean music in General?
There is a lot happening and brewing underground. I can’t wait to hear and see what is going to come up in a few years.
How do you feel you are contributing to the evolution of Antillean music?
That is one of the things I am most proud of. I know that even if it is for a small part, my music and my success abroad, a lot of young musicians on my island are now daring to dream bigger dreams. People are now more aware of the richness of our music and culture even though we are a small island. They are finding more and more ways to express their pride.
What do you prefer to do on one of those “I have nothing else to do, no obligation,chill out type of days” in Holland? Those days are very rare for me. But when I have them I love to go see a concert by artists I admire, catch a movie or just curl up on the couch and watch a nice series on DVD. Nowadays I have two addictions: Grey’s Anatomy and Heroes.
How do you feel about the state of contemporary music on the islands/or Holland? Well, sometimes I miss some originality I guess. I think people are too obsessed about being succesful instead of being original. Thank Goodness you always have special quircky individuals that will try something new and make it hip to be special for a while. I love real musicians, real singers, and real songwriters. I hope they are the ones who will keep on prevailing in this world filled with plastic, computer enhanced artists.
How do you think we can improve music education on the islands?
I hope the government realizes how important music education is for it’s people. We need a proper way of teaching so children can get a good basic music education. We need a way to detect kids that have a special inclination or talent early on. We need ways to make sure gifted children fully develop their talents.
For this we need a methodology that fits our culture and people. This has to be designed and thoroughly thought over. This requires money, determination, tools and knowledge. We also need to realize that this should be an ongoing process with a long breath. The government is the first who can help in this process. Then we need rolemodels who are willing to teach, talk, advise, listen and form. Here is where I see a big role for me and my fellow musicians.
Why do you believe it is important to support local music, and what does Support mean to you?
Support means providing information, workshops and lectures so that everyone may have access to all the tools and opportunities I used to reach my goal.
This is a very hands-on type of support. I believe it is also important to have an educational system kids can turn to, to develop their talents. This is the only way to keep local music alive, interesting and developing. It needs to grow, develop and be injected with new blood and ideas.
What’s the top five on your Play List?
- Eyala-Richard Bona
- Lisboa Kuya- Sara Tavares
- Be still my heart-Silje Nergaard
- When morning comes-Dianne Reeves
- James-Pat Metheny
What is your favorite song in Papiamentu? No bai by Oswin ‘Chin’ Behilia
Any new projects or new sounds? I am preparing a new CD. I want to try something new but don’t know what yet. I’m thinking, trying, experimenting, writing, tossing and turning…….so I guess it’s 2008 were watching out for.
Message to the Global Community:
“ Keep supporting the music from lesser known parts of the world. You might never know what kind of gems you may encounter and be very pleasantly surprised by music from the smallest of islands.
Shout-out to the Caribflava (The UCC) community:
Hi guys, I feel honored to be part of this community. With ears and eyes wide open to what is happening in the Caribbean region and beyond. Thank you for making me feel so welcome!
( UPDATE: Watch her perform for the King and queen of the Netherlands in April of this year 2014)