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Dominica weekly is a personal weblog about the nature island of Dominica.


My mom always told me “If you can’t say anything nice, it’s best to say nothing at all”. Following her advice, I won’t say much about Caribbean TV other than that it’s usually not the right cup of tea for American and UK expats. After a bit of experimentation, we believe we have found the best, most cost-effective solution. You need:

1.Internet access of at least 1MB/sec download speed. You can get that on phone-line ADSL nearly anywhere in Dominica from LIME (the telephone company) at EC$129.95 (US$48.50) per month. You’re required to take it with land-line phone service that you may never use. If you live in Roseau, Portsmouth or Marigot you can add MARPIN cable Internet to your cable TV service. I don’t know that price but believe it’s less.

2.A US or UK streaming private proxy server, available for US$20/month from www.trustedproxies.com. UK citizens must add15% VAT. A proxy allows you to download content as if you were in the US (or UK) – without the proxy, downloads are blocked because of digital rights management (DRM). The service will allow you enough data per month to watch 350 hours of HD movies or TV per month.

3.Netflix. For US$8/per month you can stream movies from the Netflix library. There is a Caribbean Netflix, but the movies are a library subset and all dubbed with Spanish audio.

4. A local cable TV provider. Of the two here, we prefer MARPIN (www.marpin2k4.com) based both on experience and the fact that only MARPIN gives you both HBO and Showtime and reliably PBS. MARPIN costs the equivalent of US$21/month.

5.Optionally, a way to get the content to your TV and stereo. We use an HDMI cable from the PC to TV and an audio cable from PC to stereo. Otherwise you must watch and listen on your PC screen and to your PC’s audio output.

6.Also optionally, a TV receiver card on your PC. That allows you to record TV content from MARPIN* that may conflict with your schedule (even while streaming something else), although often you can see recorded versions of popular programs by streaming them from the station Web sites or Netflix.

* But only from MARPIN, which brings everything to your TV on the cable. The other local TV provider cables into a box that outputs composite video to your TV. The PC’s TV card would need another box (and account with the provider), and that’s if the card accepts composite video and audio input.

That’s it. For only US$49/month (not counting high-speed Internet, which you’d probably get anyway) you get all the good movie channels and access to content you can stream from the Web sites of those channels and Netflix. And for music, you can stream any type you like and play it through your stereo.

We use the proxy server in the Firefox browser. You can also use it with Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) or Google Chrome to stream otherwise blocked content. We do other surfing and music streaming through our local Internet Service Provider by simply using either IE or Chrome. We like www.jazz.24.org for example.

I believe this is the model of the future for home entertainment. On the one hand, TV forces you to watch what the broadcaster wants to show when the broadcaster wants to show it, often with commercial interruptions, and in US or UK time, which may be inconvenient for those of us in Dominica on Atlantic Time. And one pays for lots of content one might never care to view.

On the other hand, streaming over the Internet lets us see only what we wish to, whenever we want it, and often without interruption (or the ability to fast-forward though commercials). We’ll take streaming any time. Last night we caught up with the PBS series Downton Abby, which the 2nd local TV provider caused us to miss because of problems it had presenting the PBS signal.

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Roots Reggae Superstar Nasio Fontaine

“The music is important; I want my music to be my contribution to the people of the world.” – Nasio Fontaine

It’s such a thrill to share with you this interview with one of Dominica’s International heroes, Roots Reggae superstar Nasio Fontaine.

Born to a Carib Indian mother and father of African descent, in the village of Carte-Bois (Bagatelle), located on the Southeastern coast of Dominica, Nasio grew up in a one room wooden country house without running water or electricity.

To this day, Nasio has remained true his up bringing, and continues to live a simple life – as a farmer, husband, musician, teacher, and as a Rasta.

With albums like Reggae Power (1994) was followed by Wolf Catcher (1997), Revolution (1999), Living in the Positive (2004), and Universal Cry (2006); reggae music lovers from all over the world have grown to love Nasio’s name, his voice and his conscious reggae lyrics – that speaks of revolution, of waking up the sleeping consciousness of oppressed and freedom for loving people across the Earth.

In this interview, Nasio talks about:

  • What started him on the road to Reggae Music
  • Rastafarism, Dreadlocks and Reggae Music
  • The Rights of Musicians, and advice to up-and-coming singers
  • His love for Dominica and advice for travelers visiting Dominica
  • What he has coming up in near future, including his next musical video

We at Dominica Weekly were fortunate enough to have spend an entire day with Nasio and his wife Helen Fontaine.

In our interview we tried to keep the questions to a minimum, avoid repeating too much of what is already available on the internet, and got a little more personal to give you the readers a more in depth insight into the life of Nasio Fontaine – who lives his life according to the teaches of Jah (God), and uses his music to speak to all Jah children.

Plz note: Due to the length of the interview – it was broken up into 5 parts to avoid load problems with persons without slower internet connection. We hope you enjoy this interview!

Part 1:Nasio talks about his life as a Reggae Artist and the path which lead to reggae music.

Part 2: He comments on the topic of Rasta, Dreadlocks and Reggae Music.

(more…)

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Regardless how difficult people’s individual situation might be there are just some things people are willing to continue to spend money on.

Makes you wonder just how much extra effort individuals are making in order to preserve the scarce financial resources in Dominica.

At every turn there are complaints in relation to how bad the economy is, but people are still willing to spend money into things that would offer them even a temporary getaway from the troubles they face.

This is why various shows and other programmes that provide entertainment are still desirable to Dominicans, even though some might be suffering silently.

This leads us to the point I think it very necessary to make when it comes to the stock of local entertainment.

Do these promoters not have auditions to see who fits nicely into the programme and who can bring something positive to the stage? Do they listen to some of the lyrics some of the entertainers, local and international, bring to share with their valued audience? The answer most of the sometimes is a very painful “no“.

Better needs to be done as it’s hard to spend money on a local entertainment which doesn’t justify the investment.

Of course there are some great exceptions at times but quite consistently these local performers are terribly lower the standard of the overall effort. And sooner or later these loyal paying patrons will realize that these types of entertainment don’t measure up to their hard-earned dollars. But then again Dominicans are a special case.

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