CARIBIA SITE REVIEW: Bernard Ottley’s de Carnival Jukebox, U.S. Virgin Islands

(Originally published at OnePaper.com)

The United States Virgin Islands is a hotbed of activity three times per year: in December and early January, the big isle of St. Croix is home to the Crucian Christmas Fiesta, and in June, several fun cultural events lead to the Emancipation Day/July 4th activities. The undeniable Crown Jewel, however, is the Virgin Islands Carnival, which takes place on St. Thomas in the capital, Charlotte Amalie. Virgin Islanders living in the continental United States and around the world in the armed forces or as residents abroad have missed not only the excitement of V.I. Carnival, but the music most of all.

The stinging wit of Kaiso and the celebration call of the road march contenders have brought joy and pride to Virgin Islanders around the world – and with the internet, there is no longer any need to be without timely Carnival news and music. Bernard Ottley, Jr. has contributed to the growing number of cultural resources available to Virgin Islanders home and away with his U.S. Virgin Islands Carnival Jukebox. The website is conceived by Ottley, and designed by Macaso with economy and eye-catching color.

You will need the latest Windows Media Player to enjoy tunes from 2002, and Real Audio Player for the music of 2001; each year has a handy link at the top right of the page. Macaso’s webmastering skills have come together to present the African colors of red, gold, black, and green in a vibrant yet simple splash page which doubles as a launching pad for a grand variety of Virgin Islands music. The works of artists like Trash Row, Jam Band and Calypso King Whadablee flow easily and place you smack dab “in de Calypso Tent”, “at Post Office Square”, or ” ‘Round de Field”.

The immediate popularity of the site meant that even this reviewer had to cool her heels until the bandwidth quota had been reset. According to Ottley, the site features nearly 50 songs, and, “Well, the 3GB of bandwidth is being swallowed FASSSSSSSSSTTTTTT..!” Fortunately, any lack of availability is only temporary; I was able to access the page within an hour on that same day.

Bernard Ottley had previously created a website that was reviewed by Caribia Digest last year following Virgin Islands Carnival; we’d like to see some it the elements in the original site on this one eventually. In particular: the carnival troupes coverage, videos and the “Rides” section that sported lots of boss wheels. This new format (Webmaster Macaso has also been reviewed by Caribia Digest) will lend itself quite well to the sheer volume of information contained at Ottley’s original website. Here, Macaso uses Macromedia Fireworks 3.0, with Cascading Style Sheets, tables and the infamous IFrames. Netscape 4.X and Internet Explorer 4.X users will be told to get with the times, which appear to belong to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 5 + and Internet Explorer 6.

Macaso’s minimalist style produces pages that are not only attractive but facile. The layout for the Carnival Jukebox is intuitive and easy to access. So highly recommended, it’s ridiculous! Don’t waste another second; visit, bookmark and share the de Carnival Jukebox!