Monday, October 25, 2010

Evita's Italian Restaurant ...A Beautiful Friendship

It's hard for me to think of Evita's as just another restaurant. To be honest, I can't help but think of it with a mix of nostalgic emotions. When I moved to Ocho Rios in 2004 I hardly knew anything about this Italian restaurant. Well, I knew it was famous but it wasn't famous with me. By the time I left Ocho Rios in 2007 it was a part of my heart.

This is where Irie Latino officially started. This is where my passion for Latin music began to reward me for my love. I remember Saturday nights when the heat in the room was overwhelming, people's clothes were soaked with sweat but as overwhelming as it was, it was unnoticeable, because the only thing we noticed was the rhythm of the salsa beats and the bodies which spun and turned so gracefully to the music.

Evita's was about emotion and not just the emotion of music. People came to Ocho Rios from various parts of Latin America to live and work in this town and to build and staff new hotels. I think most of them resigned themselves to the idea that they were going to spend a lot of their time missing home but then there was this Latin night where they could mingle, meet more of their own people and dance the night away to the music of their respective countries. It became a very special evening that nobody wanted to miss on a Saturday night.

And the locals in Ocho Rios were happy about it, too. It added a whole new dimension to entertainment in the town. I didn't just make Latin American friends because of Saturday nights at Evita's. I made Jamaican friends, Indian friends, American friends and more. There was no greater feeling than bringing people together and making them greater feeling than that.

It was there that I met Eva, the heart and soul and mind of Evita's. The charming Italian owner of the restaurant met me when I played for a small birthday party at the restaurant and decided she wanted me doing a promotion there. I wasn't sure about making that move but it was then that I realized it's hard to resist the charm of this amazing woman. Within a few weeks I was playing at Evita's and Irie Latino was born, and so was a new friendship between an Italian lady and an Italian-Jamaican guy. Being two very determined people this friendship sometimes became as fiery as an argument at an Italian family dinner but we endured, and anytime I think of Evita's, the image of Eva and I sitting on the terrace, eating pasta and "brainstorming" for new ideas is the first thing that comes to mind.

There was also the timing of this period in my life. It was a time of change. It was a time of great positives and negatives. It was a time of new friendships. So when I bring up any memory of those nights in the restaurant many thoughts flood my mind, many unforgettable moments, many reasons to stop, think and remember. It was happiness, it was sadness, it was was what life is all about. It was beautiful.

I was going to write this post like any other one on this blog reviewing a North Coast restaurant, bar or attraction...but I just can't do that because it means so much more to me. I just want to talk about the laughter, the romantic relationships that started there, the sound of crickets in the night when the music was over as Eva and I sat at the bar to "review" the night, the time a couple of English guys ran naked through the restaurant which seemed to delight Eva so much, the birthday celebrations and so many special people.

Life goes on, things change, people move and those nights came to an end. But every now and then when the opportunity was right I went back to the restaurant at different times to play music for my friends. And whenever the right time or opportunity comes along I will still go back there if I can.

Eva, I don't think I ever told you thank you. You pulled me into Evita's and made it such an important part of my life. Thank you for everything that meant and thank you for the garlic bread, the buschetta, the pasta, those unique "jam-italian" dishes and all that Bacardi rum and coke. Thank you for the opportunities to stay at Villa Viento on those weekends and wake up to the sound of the waves while I rested an often over-worked mind. Thanks for your beautiful friendship, Eva. In all our advertisements for Latin Night I remember the line "Evita's Italian Restaurant, the best little Pasta house in Jamaica". Those words seem so much more powerful to me, now.

Bluebeat's Copacabana Superhero Parade on Halloween

(click flier to enlarge)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Irie Latino Window: Playa Lido in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela

"Irie Latino Window" contributions are made by Irie Latinos (friends of Irie Latino) in Latin America.

This pic, taken with a Blackberry, was made yesterday by an Irie Latina in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela on "el dia de la resistencia indigena (day of the indigenous resistance)". This holiday on the 12th of October celebrates the resistance of native Americans against the Spanish conquistadors. The photo of the town's Playa Lido bay shows residents enjoying their holiday at the beach. The mountain in the background on the left is the famous Cerro El Morro, known for its hotels and condominiums. Click the pic to enlarge.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Brand New Machine's First Night Out In Montego Bay

Rain couldn't stop the Brand New Machine promotion from rolling out in Bluebeat Montego Bay, last night. The official launch, with it's "Red Cups and Lolipops" theme had Montegonians and Kingstonians soaking up the sounds of DJ Narity and DJ Kamal Bankay well into the early morning hours of Friday. Drinks flowed freely into red plastic cups, and lolipops were on the the lips of the ladies as the Brand New Machine added a whole new dimension to Thursday nights in the north coast city. Your weekend now starts on Thursdays. Next week, it's all about DJ Engine Room so get enough sleep before the machine powers up, again.