“EACH year it grows and changes and takes on its own spirit,”says Wanda Patterson, speaking of the event she helped found: theSouthern Caribbean Music and Arts Festival.This year’s festival – the seventh – kicks off today and will continuedfor three consecutive weekends. Events will take place inPlaya Chiquita at one of three locations – Playa Chiquita Lodge, theGaia Center or Playa Chiquita School – and at the soccer field inPuerto Viejo de Limón. Presented by Costa Rican artists, all concertswill be at the lodge and start at 9 p.m., for a cost of ¢2,000($4.30); workshops, films and other presentations are free.An experimental jazz group called Amarillo, Cyan y Magentaopens the festival tonight. The members of the group are all classicallytrained musicians who have found a home in improvisation,blending jazz, Hindu, Arabic, African and Latin Americaninfluences.THE ethnic ensemble Rayo del Sol will take the stageSaturday, March 5, playing jazz and rhythm and blues. The bandincludes members from the United States, Nicaragua, Spain andCosta Rica.Creative workshops for children will also take place tomorrowat 11 a.m. The Book Club of San José will facilitate a variety of funactivities to stimulate children’s interest in reading, and will alsohold a book exchange. People are invited to bring books for childrenand adults to exchange or donate to the organization, for itswork with prison inmates and seniors.At 2 p.m., Marta Castro, artistic director of the dance groupOlaba, and Claudio Taylor, a professor at the National DanceWorkshop, will present a Caribbean dance workshop. Members ofProyecto Caribe will facilitate a “rap session” for young peopleabout Afro-Caribbean issues and children’s rights.ON Fri., March 11, Esteban Ramírez’s award-winning film“Caribe,” set in Puerto Viejo, will be shown at Playa ChiquitaLodge at 7 p.m. Aconcert by Shanty y Su Calypso, a popular groupfrom Limón, will follow at 9 p.m.It’s reggae night, Sat., March 12, with Mekatelyu, a group thattakes its name from the patois phrase, “make I tell you.” In otherwords, they want us to listen up to their message of peace, love andharmony, presented in a musical style that marries roots reggaewith calypso, soca, cumbia, rock and ska. The group came togetherin 1998 and has since moved from one success to another. It hasopened for the Wailers, Alpha Blondy and many other groups, andwas featured at the 2002 Youth Festival in Panama City.The Mekatelyu concert will be preceded by a Caribbean danceperformance by Limón’s Dancestral group.