Last Saturday night, St Ann’s Fort opened its doors to more than 300 patrons ready to enjoy a night of Tango, wine and camaraderie. In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Barbados Defence Force (BDF), and 50 years of friendship between Argentina and Barbados, the BDF and the Argentine Embassy joined forces to host Argentina Meets Barbados: Tango at the Fort, a cultural extravaganza aimed at bringing together the local and international communities.
In his opening remarks, Chief of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force, Colonel Glyne Grannum invited the public to tour the facilities and to recover the festive spirit of the old Drill Hall Ballroom. Ambassador of Argentina to Barbados and co-host of the night, Gustavo Martínez Pandiani, recognised the leadership of the BDF for “opening its home and heart to the wider community, as a clear indication of its vision and social commitment”.
The event included a tango clinic for beginners and advanced dancers, and a variety of other artistic expressions from both countries such as music, painting, sculpture and a unique exhibition of military paraphernalia. In a packed Officer’s Mess, fully decorated with the colors of the two nations, a group of instructors showcased the basic movements to those who were unfamiliar with the traditional South American dance.
Among the participants were Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson; Ministers Edmund Hinkson, Colin Jordan, and Adrian Forde; Ambassadors of China, Yan Xiusheng, and Cuba, Sergio Pastrana; and many high-ranking officials from local, regional and international law enforcement/military institutions who enjoyed the live performance of the prestigious Barbados Defence Force Band which played the sensual rhythms of the Argentine Tango. The crowd was also delighted by the fusion of flavours of both Barbadian and Argentine cuisines, paired with the world-renowned Trapiche, in its Malbec, Moscato and Merlot versions, provided by Bryden Stokes.
The table was set for an evening full of laughter and entertainment, but the initial surprise that Ambassador Pandiani had prepared for the guests certainly elevated the gathering to the next level: a charismatic Nikita shocked the audience with her fantastic rendition of Astor Piazzola´s Libertango, accompanied live by the BDF band.