Kids playing in water
Stell and Snuggs Perform Live Music

Christel and Jarad Astin of Stell and the Snugs are visiting St. Croix musicians

A fair amount of musical groups from the mainland tour the Caribbean Islands through the winter. From average to phenomenal, the modes of travel are always the same, though – start with flight from said city of origin, make it into Charlotte Amelie’ Cyril King airport, and from there it’s a mixture of renting vans, hopping puddle jumpers and riding ferries to complete the journey, all the while sleeping in hotel rooms, efficiencies, and crash pads with each new day bringing a different story.

Enter Stell and Snuggs, professional real life musicians, sailors, and troubadours from NYC. Musical partners and lovers, this duo endured losing their home and nearly everything in it through Hurricane Sandy in the fall of 2012 while living in Rockaway Beach, NYC’s up and coming hipster con-surf town. After months of organizing food relief for victims with Andrew Wandzilak’s (Brooklyn’s Two Boots Restaurant owner) brainchild, “Hurricane Sandy Relief Kitchen,” which went right along with a lot of couch surfing and sub-leases of their own, this duo decided to take the opportunity of no longer being wed to a home on land to follow a dream that had been brewing for some time – to hop aboard a sailing vessel, playing music wherever they go.

Through walls of disbelief and toil, though, they managed to make the 1500 mile sail to the Virgin Islands by way of Bermuda back in November, and have been steadily performing throughout since. Along with them are their two daughters, Arden, 12, and Riley, 3. Along with performing, they homeschool aboard, and hope to provide an enriching experience for their entire family.

Jarad, a brilliant jazz pianist/organist was raised on a healthy dose of bebop, Latin Jazz, and jazz soul from mentors Edward Simon and Trudy Pitts while attending the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts. Rodney Franks of jazz station KUVO 89.3 said, “With his skill and talent on the rise, Jarad Astin continues to grow each and every time he sits at his instrument.”

Christel, a classically trained flutist who can switch seamlessly between Bach and traditional Irish music attended the same school where they met in the university choir. “Her runs and articulations are speedy, but nonetheless possessed of a plaintive soulfulness and verve that reminds the listener of an ecstatic nightingale.” Rob Wasserman- Colorado Daily

The band is compelling and dynamic, saucy and playful, balancing their performance between instrumental and retro pop songs that they arrange through the sonoric flavorings of the flute, ukelele, piano, and accordion. Stell and Snuggs have drawn from influences further South, such as Brazilian choro and Colombian Cumbia just over the past year. Their music possesses a quality which captures the “all-walks-of-life” listener, as they perform their life experiences through their fingertips.

Watch this video on how they get from one gig to the next, one island to the next….