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Back in 1871, when Scottish engineer Minor Keith contracted with his uncle, Henry Meiggs, to complete the railroad line between San Jose and the port city of Limon, he was probably taking on a bigger and messier project than he realized. Once completed, the tracks would stretch across a tropical mountain range and plunge through the jungle for much of its course. To complete this arduous undertaking, they hired cheap labor from Jamaica, Barbados, and Saint Kitts, as well as workers from China, India, and southern Europe, expanding an immigration influx of rich cultural diversity. Among those who survived the ongoing threats of poisonous snakes, malaria, yellow fever, dyssentery, other tropical diseases, the torrential rains, and the suffocating heat, many remained here, settling along the coast and on the Talamanca Slope. All along much of the route, Keith planted bananas, which later saved him from debt to the railroad’s financial backers, when he founded what eventually became United Fruit Company and amassed his personal fortune exporting the fruit to the world at large. Since the sound of Scottish music has always reminded me a little of locomotive engines for some reason, I took a brief departure from the tropical rhythms and returned to my own Celtic roots to tell the musical story of this saga.





Jim Vick Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Jim currently performs regularly on the southern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, just outside of the popular ecotourism and surfing town of Puerto Viejo, Limon. Following up on his recently released instrumental album, PUNTA RASTA, he's now at work on a new solo acoustic album, as well as the album presentation of BHAKTI BLUE, a collection of his musical interpretations of the Sufi poet Rumi. ... more

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