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ST THOMAS — The preservation of Virgin Islands culture, customs, and traditions has been at the heart of The Ten Sleepless Knights, Inc. (aka TSK). This 501(c)(3) non-profit organization was formed by the legendary band Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights, who are known for keeping Quelbe music alive. Distinctively Caribbean yet uniquely Virgin Islands, Quelbe is the official music of the U.S. Virgin Islands. This folk music is a form of oral history used to preserve significant historical events, tell stories and jokes, and relay the day-to-day trials and tribulations of island life.

TSK hosted their first Folklife Festival on St. Croix in 2022, a showcase of activities that celebrated and promoted the rich culture of the Virgin Islands through food, dance, history, and music. They hosted a series of workshops that incorporated storytelling, moko jumbie performances, quadrille and maypole dancing, cariso singing and drumming, and Crucian cooking and woodworking.

Thanks to the success of the 2023 festival, Folklife Festival 2024 extends its celebrations to St. Thomas, featuring musicians, dancers, cooks, artisans, and storytellers at events on the island. “Our goal, in addition to holding onto what is ours, is to promulgate public knowledge of our culture and increase its visibility,” shared Dr. Stanley Jacobs, founder and band leader of TSK. From March 18th to the 22nd, TSK will embark on a Cultural School Tour in St. Thomas, with visits to all of Charlotte Amalie High School, Eudora Keen High School, and All Saints Cathedral School. Students will take part in a cultural presentation by TSK showcasing Virgin Islands music, dance, arts, and crafts. On March 22nd at Fort Christian, a cultural presentation about “The Evolution of Quelbe Music” will be introduced by Dr. Lauren Larsen, Ph.D. Starting at 7pm, attendees will learn about the origins of the Virgin Islands grassroots folk music and how it has advanced from its origins on plantations throughout the territory to the distinct sound that it is today.

To learn more about Folklife Festival 2024, visit TSK’s Facebook page at

Written by Anquanette Gaspard