Carnival Calendars

If you are coming to Trinidad for Carnival bookmark this post because it has the dates of all the must-see, never-been-to-but-want-to, and regional Carnival events for Carnival 2017.

This first is from the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts.culture-carnival-calendar-2017

The Second is from the National Carnival Commission. This one is the one to bookmark for stickfighting and parades of the bands.

ncc-calendar-of-events-2017

Fetes are an important part of the festivities. Bishop’s was last Saturday and I had a ball. So keep following your Trini friends on Facebook and check the fete calendar here . See you at Army Fete

 

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COCO Dance is Launched

The launch took place Thursday evening. Watching the performance live was interesting, because he walks through the audience and it had a very immersive feel to it. which is insufficiently captured on camera. It also helped having him explain it to you, but I’m reminded of my previous discussion with co-founder of COCO, Sonja Dumas who cautioned against needing to understand the performance. She suggests that audiences are better served just going with their feelings.

COCO Dance Festival starts this weekend, and continues next weekend, check it out.

We Can Help Haiti

We’d mentioned this before, that the Prime Minister had asked local commercial banks to create accounts for people to donate to the Haitian Relief effort. Now the Bankers Association of T&T has advised that each of its eight member banks has opened an account and it invites the public to make financial donations to assist Haiti in its recovery process.

List of created Bank Accounts                                                                Bank Account Number
Scotiabank Trinidad and Tobago Limited                                                 74815 /1209309
First Citizens Bank Limited                                                                         2366947
Bank of Baroda                                                                                               95610200000740
RBC Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago                                                   11-000-000-335-9145
Republic Bank Limited                                                                                 180 801 049 001
JMMB Bank                                                                                                      557769-0201
First Caribbean International Bank (Trinidad and Tobago)                  180002851
Citibank (Trinidad and Tobago) Limited                                                   5109882021

The campaign hashtag is #WeCanHelpHaiti and people are being encouraged to donate $6, at least, to the relief effort.

New T&T Tourism Site

The Tourism Development Company Limited has a new destination website: www.gotrinidadandtobago.com.

It’s meant to be attractive to vacation planners and has information about events, food and shopping.

Most interestingly, you can book trips from the website.

This follows the launch of a German-language site which is targeted to travellers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland: www.gotrinidadtobago.de  That site went live in July

COCO Dance Festival

The Contemporary Choreographers’ Collective or COCO is hosting their annual Dance Festival.

I’m really excited to see them add a video element. Founding member of COCO Sonia Dumas, has become quite the filmmaker of late. Fresh off her win at #TTFF16 for a film development prize, this addition of film to COCO Dance Fest is a lovely surprise. Dumas has already produced a film on local dances pioneers called Julia and Joyce.

coco-video-flyer

The COCO Video Festival will offer screenings and workshops at The Little Carib Theatre. See the flyer above for details.

coco-mainstage-flyer

First, that’s my friend Elisha Bartels in the above image. She’s a bess dancer, and frighteningly brilliant, so conversations with her are always edifying.

I’m most excited to see the dance productions at COCO fest. I have pleasant memories of Dave Williams, another founding member of COCO, and his inventive shows at the Carib.

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40 Years Since Cubana 455 Was Bombed

Today at 11am at the Atrium of the Piarco International Airport a plaque will be unveiled to memorialise the bombing of Cubana flight 455. An exhibition explaining the circumstances surrounding the bombing will also be launched.

Minister of National Security Edmund Dillon and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dennis Moses will join  Cuban Ambassador Vazquez Moreno  and Venezuelan Ambassador Coromoto Godoy in welcoming a Cuban delegation to Trinidad and Tobago. The Cuban Delegation includes Fernando González – one of the five Cubans who was imprisoned in the United States, and who was released when the U-S and Cuba re-established diplomatic relations; Camilo Rojo – who is a relative of one of the Cubans killed in the Cubana bombing; and Tania Parra , an official of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP).

Brief information about the Bombing of Cubana #455

On October 6, 1976 Cubana flight 455 was blown up off the coast of Barbados. All 73 persons on board died the flight were killed. They included 57 Cubans (of whom 24 were members of the Cuban national fencing team that had just won all the gold medals at the just completed CAC games); 11 were Guyanese (5 of whom were students on their way to Havana to study medicine, plus the wife of a Guyanese diplomat); 5 were North Koreans.

Two men – Freddy Lugo and Herman Ricardo Lozarno – arrived in Trinidad on October 5, then left on the Cubana flight for Barbados. They got off in Barbados and returned to Trinidad. However, the two bombs in their luggage remained on board the Cubana flight and blew up 10 minutes after take-off.

They were arrested in Trinidad, and confessed to the crime implicating two Cuban-Americans who were in Venezuela at the time. Those men, Luis Posada Carrlies and Orlando Bosch, were then arrested in Caracas on October 14.

Following a senior government meeting between officials from T&T, Barbados, Cuba, Guyana and Venezuela in Trinidad on October 20th, a decision was taken to try Lugo and Lozarno in Venezuela. They were then deported from Trinidad to Venezuela.

Where’s Culture in Trinidad’s Budget?

The conversation on my Facebook feed after the budget was read out, is that this Government, like it’s predecessors (regardless of party) doesn’t understand or value the creative sector.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert spoke of spending $25 million to re-install a state of the art audio system in the National Academy of the Performing Arts (NAPA). He also spoke of building 8 community centres this year, and their plans to build, or renovate, others in 2017. These community centres will hold music and arts classes because Government sees their value. The Government says it will engage stakeholders to develop ways to better integrate culture in our tourism thrust,  and Sandals is expected to spend a $100 million on services, quite  a bit of that would be for culture and entertainment.

But Trinidad and Tobago is supposed to be thinking serious about diversifying it’s economy,  and moving away from it’s dependence on oil and gas. The rumblings on my Facebook feed suggests that people aren’t seeing where in the budget that Government has put anything in place to support the development, or creation of, a creative sector, that many believe has the power to support our economy.

But my answer to those people is, what did you expect? You have a Government that isn’t accustomed to thinking about culture as something other than entertainment, or something to pacify the masses. They don’t “know” that it has real monetary value. So what is required now is civil action, to craft and then encourage the type of policy this country needs when it comes to culture.

The first step is creating a National Cultural Policy, and enforcing it. The NCP will guide how we treat with cultural things, ensure that it is included in the national education sylabuslabus, it will provide protection for cultural spaces etc. Then you create a Cultural Development Policy which will deal with the development of the sector including supporting its industrial development. But what is required now is the action of people in the creative sector to tell Government what it wants and direct how they are to get it.

 

Alice Yard: Year X

Alice Yard turns 10 this month. The yard used to be Sean Leonard’s great-grandmother’s home. Her name is Alice Gittens and she purchased the property in 1953, and instituted the open door policy that is a feature of the space today.

Sean is one of the directors of the Alice Yard. The others include Christopher Cozier and  Nicholas Laughlin. He says the first 10 years of the project has been fun, and it will be interesting to see how long it can be sustained.

To celebrate Year X they’ve set up a series of installations across Woodbrook, Port-of-Spain and Belmont, including the Out of Place project with UK artist Blue Curry. Visit the Facebook page for details, the installations are in some unique spaces.

A Caribbean Culture Reader

Meagan Sylvester shared this on her page last September 2nd. It popped up in my Facebook reminder and I thought, that this is the best place to post it, because it’s such a great list of papers and essays on our music and Carnival customs etc. So without further adieu:

Mason, Peter. 1998. Bacchanal? The Carnival Culture of Trinidad. London; Philadelphia: Latin American Bureau; Temple University Press.

Liverpool, Hollis Urban. 1998. Origins of rituals and customs in the Trinidad Carnival: African or European?. TDR/The Drama Review 42, no. 3: 24-37.

Liverpool, Hollis. 2001. Rituals of Power and Rebellion: The Carnival Tradition in Trinidad and Tobago, 1763 – 1962. Chicago, Trinidad and Tobago: Research Associates School Times; Frontline Distribution.

Stolzoff, Norman C. 2000. Wake the Town and Tell the People; DanceHall Culture in Jamaica. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Rouse, Marilyn A. 2000. Jamaican Folk Music: A Synthesis of Many Cultures. Studies in the History and Interpretation of Music. Vol. 66. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press.

Regis, Louis. 1999. The Political Calypso: True Opposition in Trinidad and Tobago, 1962 – 1987. Barbados; Gainesville: Press University of the West Indies; University Press of Florida

Besson, Gerard, and Angostura Bitters Limited. 2001. The Angostura Historical Digest of Trinidad and Tobago. Cascade, Trinidad and Tobago: Paria Pub.: Angostura.

Cowley, John. 1996. Carnival and Calypso: Traditions in the Making. Cambridge; New York, NY: Cambidge University Press.

Dudley, Shannon. 2008.Music from Behind the Bridge: Steelband Spirit and Politics in Trinidad and Tobago. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.

Dudley, Shannon. 2004. Carnival Music in Trinidad: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture. Global Music Series. New York: Oxford University Press.

Elder, J.D. 1972. From Congo Drum to Steelband: A Socio-Historical Account of the Emergence and Evolution of the Trinidad Steel Orchestra. St. Augustine, Trinidad: The University of the West Indies.

Feld, Steven. 1984. Sound Structure as Social structure. Ethnomusicology 28 (3): 383-409.

Frith, Simon. 1996. Performing Rites: On the value of popular music. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Gibbons, Rawle. 1994. No Surrender: A biography of the Growling Tiger. Tunapuna, Pantheon Books.

Guilbault, Jocelyne. 2007. Governing Sound: the cultural politics of Trinidad’s carnival musics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Hill, Donald R. 1993. Calypso Callaloo : Early carnival music in Trinidad. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.

Lipsitz, George. 2007. Footsteps in the Dark: The Hidden Histories of Popular Music. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Liverpool, Hollis. 1990. Kaiso and Society. Diego Martin, Trinidad, W.I.: Juba Publications.

Nettleford, Rex M. 1995; 2002. Calypso monograph. Caribbean Quarterly Monograph. Mona, Jamaica: Caribbean Quarterly.

Rausert,Wilifried. 2000. Negotiating Temporal Differences: blues, jazz and Narrativity in African American Culture. Heidelberg, Germany: Heidelberg.

Rohlehr, Gordon. 1990. Calypso & Society in Pre-Independence Trinidad. Port-of-Spain, Trinidad: G. Rohlehr.

Ryan, Selwyn D., Gloria Gordon. 1988. Trinidad and Tobago: The Independence Experience, 1962-1987. The University of the West Indies. Institute of Social and Economic Research St. Augustine, Trinidad: Institute of Social and Economic Research, The University of the West Indies.

Stone, Ruth M., Verlon L. Stone. 1981. Event, Feedback and Analysis: Research Media in the Study of Music Events. Ethnomusicology. Vol 25 (2): 215-225.

Williams, Eric Eustace. 1984. From Columbus to Castro: The History of the Caribbean, 1492-1969. 1st Vintage Books ed. New York: Vintage Books.

Williams, Eric Eustace. 1964. History of the people of Trinidad and Tobago. New York: Praeger.

Alleyne, Mike. 2009. Globalisation and Commercialisation of Caribbean Music. World Music Roots and Routes. Collegium. Tuulikki Pietila. (ed). Studies across Disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences 6. Helsinki: Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. 76–101.

Hope, Donna. 2006. Inna De DanceHall: Popular Culture and the Politics of Identity. Kingston: Jamaica. The University of the West Indies Press.

Howard, Dennis. 2012. Rantin from Inside the Dancehall. Jamaica: Jahmento Publishers