There are more than 285 competitive bagpipe bands in the United States, made up of thousands of pipers and drummers. Bands are divided into grades based on skill: Grade 5 is the lowest, akin to Little League; Grade 1 is the majors. In May 2014, the Massachusetts-based Stuart Highland Pipe Band was promoted to Grade 1, and next month they'll be facing off against other top-level bands in Glasgow at the annual World Pipe Band Championships. But first, the Stewies made their North American debut at the premier level at a competition in Ontario: Blowhards: On the road, down the bottle, and across the border with Boston’s greatest competitive bagpipe band. [more inside]
There are only five functioning Jewish synagogues with sand floors in the world, and four of them are in the Caribbean. How has the tradition been maintained for hundreds of years? [more inside]
"The early death of I-Roy and dozens of other great reggae personalities is first and foremost – directly as well as indirectly – a legacy of the colonial power structures which still dominate the third world and cripple its inhabitants...We who survive due to the same structures must honour those who did not – and incidentally also whose who are still out there – by listening carefully to their music." An entreaty from a Norwegian gal on a an epic journey learn about early reggae music.
73 dead in Kingston, Jamaica after four days of fighting resulting from the search for alleged drug dealer Christopher 'Dudus' Coke. He remains at large. [more inside]
Newsfilter: Canadian Police (led by the RCMP) have arrested at least 17 people that were plotting to "launch attacks against targets in Southern Ontario", apparently in large part by monitoring Internet co-ordination and communication. This days after the CSIS deputy director warned of "homegrown extremists" plotting "large scale attacks".