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The Osprey Beach Hotel, on Duke Street (tel. 649/946-2666), Wednesday and Sunday barbecues feature music by Mitch Rolling and the High Tide.

Rippin' Ripsaw

Attend the poolside barbecue at the Osprey Beach Hotel, held every Sunday and Wednesday night, and you'll find yourself enjoying more than the excellent buffet of local dishes. Mitch Rolling and the High Tide play music with a uniquely infectious beat that can't help but get your toes tapping (or even, with the encouragement of a few Turk's Head lagers, get up and dance). That beat comes partly from the goatskin drum and maracas being played alongside the guitar-strumming Mitch (dive master for the Blue Water Divers outfit by day); but the sound that crawls right into your nervous system comes from the guy holding that strange but familiar-looking piece of metal against his thigh and drawing another familiar-looking implement across it. He's playing a handsaw by scraping its teeth vigorously with the shaft of a long-handled screwdriver (the blade of an old knife can also be used). The result is a wonderful, rasping sound that turns any song, from a pop standard to traditional island music, into a rocking, calypso-style dance tune.

Ripsaw music, also known as "rake and scrape," is the national music of Turks and Caicos, and it can be heard across the archipelago. Playing a ripsaw is harder than it looks: Neophytes find their arms and wrists tiring after just a few minutes, but with practice, ripsaw players learn to sustain their art for a full 2- or 3-hour show. The origins of ripsaw are unclear. Some say the art form was brought back to the islands by Belongers who fell in love with a similar style of music played in Haiti and the Dominican Republic and used locally available tools to re-create the rhythms here. Others surmise that the instrumental style was brought here by slaves of Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution. Whatever its roots, it's a style you're sure to fall in love with, too.


Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.