Chat with Rebel Outdoor Piano Man in St. Thomas, USVI, during Covid-19.

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Freddie Rabuse. www.facebook.com/freddierabuse

I’m sure you’ve seen them on Facebook and Instagram during this worldwide lockdown – almost every musician, famous or not, has taken to posting in-home concerts online. Hence, it’s refreshing to see someone doing live outdoor concerts on the back of a pick-up truck! Freddie Rabuse, the well-known Piano Man from St. Thomas, USVI, is doing just that and making some listeners and his own pocket very happy.

Well, why not be a bit of a rebel and make some sweet noise outside? He’s not breaking any rules. He’s social distancing plus getting some healthy Vitamin D. He is also bringing the power and charm of live music to the people. It’s a win-win situation!

Sure, a Caribbean musician’s life during a pandemic can be challenging. But according to Freddie, who always is full of fun and jokes, the pros outweigh the cons. It’s still a lifestyle like none other.

While living on an island, you must never forget that life’s speed is always measured at the island’s pace. And it’s actually really simple in Caribbean climes: stay indoors when it’s hot and go outside when it’s cool. For an island musician, or any musician anywhere, that translates to practicing during the day and performing at night. With the pandemic in the mix, Freddie the maverick, however, has now taken to playing outdoors during the day and resting at night because most venues are closed, even night curfews are in place.

In times like these, people have to make do, make some dough by drawing on any skill the outside world might deem buyable. Freddie is originally from New York and that is where he learned to play the piano. In fact, he has been making a living like this for a few decades now, having travelled the world for it – from St. Tropez to Norway to New York City to St. Thomas. He also has a strong talent for ball sports – he still plays a mean game of basket ball and tennis. Being multi-talented sure helps to keep the pot cooking in the kitchen, meaning he teaches these sports on the island when the opportunity arises.

I asked Freddie some questions, since he is not so busy at the moment, like everyone else in the world practicing social distancing, really.

What is it like to run a business on a Caribbean island?  I enjoy being self-employed in the Virgin Islands. With my entertainment skills I usually have a good choice of venues to work at. 

How are you coping during the Covid-19 crisis? I’m able to do a few things for money – keyboard rental, piano lessons online and in person, tennis lessons, online mini concerts. This brings in much less than when I’m normally performing, but it’s something. No governmental assistance has come in but that window is still open. Health-wise, I’ve respected the social distancing mandate but I have been out, getting exercise. It’s good for the immune system. 

What is the first thing you will do to spark interest in your business when the crisis is over? When the crisis is over, hopefully I’ll be reinstated at the restaurants I worked at.

Check out Freddie’s special touch on keyboards and his off-the-cuff jokes, here and there, on www.facebook.com/freddierabuse. Also, on YouTube just search: “Freddie Rabuse pickup”. Once one hears his skills, one realizes it takes many years of practice and a special talent to do what he does. This must be celebrated in an age where Guitar Hero and Wii deceive kids into thinking they can play a musical instrument when they actually can’t. You can donate to his virtual tip jar at:

VENMO: Venmo.com/Freddie-Rabuse

PAYPAL: PayPal.me/freddierabuse

Next time you’re in St Thomas, check out Freddie Rabuse and his music by staying up to date on his movements via Facebook. Or you can just embark on a trip to a beautiful Caribbean island right now by following him, as he virtually transports you to a beautiful ocean-side bristling in the background.


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Electric Cars Gaining Energy in the V.I.

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailWhen St. Thomian Adrien Austin founded Drive Green VI six years ago, he dreamed of igniting a revolution in how Virgin Islanders drove – or what they drove – and in a bid to accelerate the process, he put electric cars at the forefront of his venture.

“Nowhere in the world does a car depreciate or break down as fast as in the Virgin Islands,” said Austin. “The goal was to bring in a few new kinds of technology, do my own R&D out of my own pocket, figure out what works, try and push this technology, see what the market is receptive to.”

Since then, electric cars, vehicles that run purely on batteries as opposed to internal combustion engines, have multiplied on the roads of St. Thomas as demand continues to rise, driven by expensive per-gallon cost of gas in the territory and an increasing awareness of climate change pushing residents to pursue a neutral carbon footprint. Austin’s company has so far sold roughly 50 electric cars, and he estimates St. Thomas has about 150 in total.

But it was a bumpy road to normalizing the use of electric cars on island. About five years ago, Austin brought down five Wheegos, another type of electric car, and one Nissan Leaf. He wanted to explore how these vehicles would fare on the island’s terrains, find out if they had enough power-to-weight ratio to maneuver the hilly, tortuous roads, and identify which cars performed better than others. Austin said.

Read full article on St. John Tradewinds

A Revolution to Save the Caribbean’s Coral Reefs

A Revolution to Save the Caribbean's Coral Reefs

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The Nature Conservancy is launching a revolution to save our coral reefs throughout the Caribbean and beyond. Joining forces with the world’s best scientists, we are developing and deploying groundbreaking techniques to grow new corals and bring dying reefs back to life.

Learn more about how we’re fighting to save these unique and essential ecosystems before our oceans are irreversibly damaged. The Year of the Reef! Keep up with The Nature Conservancy’s latest efforts to protect nature and preserve life on Twitter (twitter) and Facebook (facebook) Text NATURE to 97779 to join The Nature Conservancy on text.

To sign-up for nature e-news visit:  support.nature.org

We Survived – St. Thomas USVI

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailJoel Kling, manager of the Emerald Beach Resort in St. Thomas says:
“We survived! 125MPH gust wind
From 10:30p until 4:30am really felt like everything was going to cave in.
Non stop torrential rain besides the still very stormy weather and after 9 hours we are still at sustained wind 70MPH. Crazy

We never slept. The island is getting 15-20″ of rain. I’m not sure how many will be able to live trough this.
It’s been an experience with two massive hurricanes back to back. Now Puerto Rico is getting the worst of the storm.

I’m praying for all of us.
Climate change is not a hoax!
Love.”