The students of Blairwood Academy got became a band for a day, backing up a 65 year veteran in Bahamian music, the legendary John “Chippie” Chipman. Chippie came to visit the school at the behest of the school’s music director, Dr Diane Major. She wanted the children to learn more than just the classics - so she reached out to an indigenous musician with a worldwide appeal.

Chippie told the students not to underestimate rake n’ scrape, an authentic Bahamian style of music. He said rake n’ scrape has taken him around the world to every continent on the globe. He said his band has been so successful because they don’t have to buy instruments. They are resourceful and find items like paint cans, buckets, steel drums, pigeon peas, goat skin, and of course, a saw, to make their instruments.

Kim Kooskalis, principal, was elated at the visit, because all of the children responded positively and were truly impacted by Chippie’s presence. He was fun and down to earth but also gave the children serious messages like, manners and respect can take you around the world, she said.


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