Our Carnival: Playing the Past, Playing the Present, Previewing the Future

Various interviews with Entertainment Agents, Promoters, Carnival Organizers, Calypsonians to support this theme.

Credit: Modern Day Gillian

Image Credit: Modern Day Gillian

We are starting out the interview series with Mr. Angus Steele, Entertainment Agent and Owner/Manager of Spice Concoction

http://www.spiceconcoction.com/

 

BIGDRUMNATION: What brought you to this often- maligned business of calypso, soca, and carnival?

Angus:  think it’s more about my love for music since I was growing up (learned to play drums with the Pitt brothers – Richard “Sabina” and Selwyn “Kung Fu”, looking on keenly at the years with Rodney “Doc” Rapier and Eddie Bullen and loving the Classical Guitar around the same time to today, played Steelpan early in GBSS, tried the piano and didn’t like it much, contracted artist under LIME in recent years in St. Vincent and thereafter in Grenada, setup my own Entertainment/Artist Management business in April 2014, worked on putting together formally The Carenage Rhythm Section – “Frontline Rhythm Section” early 2015), that saw me end up in my current situation and specifically those Genres since it’s the most common of skills locally. I may add that one of my Artist is into Urban Reggae music so I’m also diving deeper into that Genre as well despite little local talent as our “culture” mainly spins such music around Jamaicans.

Complete Interview attached: Download/ view full interview.

At this link are many of his artists’ releases for 2016 Spice Mass – Spice Concoction You Tube Channel

 


 

Interview with KennyC – Reggae/ soca recording artiste

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KennyC Hails from Paradise St. Andrew, Grenada W.I. He is proud and happy to call Toronto, Ontario, Canada home but will always have a special place in his heart for his birth land Grenada.

This love of country has inspired him to compose SWEET GRENADA – the first single from his first album: Longtime Coming

BIGDRUMNATION: The music critics are showering you with high praises. Why do you think that they are so enamored of your performances?

KC: I’m grateful for the interest. I’ve been loving /singing and listening to music for most of my life but when I started singing professionally and seriously in the last several years, I wanted to bring to the people good lyrics that tell a story mixed with interesting beats and arrangements. I’m always asking my producers to give me something new and different, something people can feel. Sometime I would hum my rendition of where I would like to go with the tune to them. I also write all my songs – when I perform them the audience is getting and feeling a real piece of KennyC. I think its that mixture of melody, music, honesty and reality that’s connecting me to my fan base and music critics.

Complete Interview attached: Download/ view full interview.

 


Vincy Mas in USA Launches with Big Win for New Artiste

New Soca Artiste Wins big During Launch of Vincy Mas in USA

By Maxwell Haywood

Michelle ‘Hibiscus’ Hillocks created history by spectacularly winning both the New Song Competition, and the first ever New Break-out Artiste prize during the tenth staging of the launch of Vincy Mas in the USA. All this sensation took place on Saturday, May 7, 2016, at Bamboo Gardens in Brooklyn, New York, and was organized by Level Vibes, ably led by Ainsley Primus and Caiphas “Super Eyes” Cuffy.

New Song Competition, and the first ever New Break-out Artiste winner Michelle 'Hibiscus' Hillocks (right) receiving trophy from Atiba Williams (left) Vice Chairman of the Cultural Association of Vincentians in the USA

New Song Competition, and the first ever New Break-out Artiste winner Michelle ‘Hibiscus’ Hillocks (right) receiving trophy from Atiba Williams (left) Vice Chairman of the Cultural Association of Vincentians in the USA

After the singing of the national anthem of both the United States and St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and remarks by SVG Consul General Selmon Walters and Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture Cecil Mckie, 10 artistes competed in the New Song Competition for the Soca Devil Trophy. They included: Shadique ‘Shaddi’ Paul with his song “Soca all year”; Francis ‘Striker’ Brown with “Gimme Piece Ah Dat”; Maxwell ‘Zeagay’ Samuel with “Stop Smoke de Cocaine”; Michelle-Ann ‘Hibiscus’ Hillocks with “Riddim”; Mervyn ‘Bobb MC’ Bobb with “Get off ah me”; Prim Adonna Bascombe with “Kamasutra”; Dennis ‘De Original Honey Boy Bells’ Jackson with “Fire Power”; Kenroy ‘Jakie’ Jack with “We jamming”; and John Dougan” with “Let’s do again”.

At the end of the show, the MCs Hailes Castello and Bennett Straker announced the decision of the judges, in which first place went to Michelle-Ann ‘Hisbiscus’ Hillocks; second place to Kenroy ‘Jakie’ Jack; and third place to Dennis Bowman.

Winners received cash prizes from Level Vibes, and also trophies and a plaque sponsored by newly created Cultural Association of Vincentians in the USA (CAVUSA). Junior “Soca Jones” Jones, Joanne Legair, and Elmo “Magic” Christian served as judges.

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‘Hibiscus’ dethroned last year’s winner Chang- I, who did not appear to defend his title. Performing for the first time at this level of competition, she displayed full confidence in her ability to deliver. From the time Hibiscus hit the stage, it was clear that she was in command and had all intentions of creating a big impact on the judges and audience, which she did in fine style. She made it easy for the judges to select her as the winner.

With a pulsating pace fit for Back Street on Carnival Monday, Hibiscus let the world know the vital function of soca music to Caribbean people. In her song “Riddim”, she highlighted the African foundation of soca, hence it’s rise and role in Caribbean societies. She spotlighted and expressed pride in the wining dance style as a significant part of Caribbean culture. She singled out the power of the soca rhythm as responsible for the wining done by Caribbean people during carnival and in parties.

Hibiscus receives 'New Breakout Artist' plaque from singer/songwriter Cauldric Forbes.

Hibiscus receives ‘New Breakout Artist’ plaque from singer/songwriter Cauldric Forbes.

Born in Arnos Vale, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Hibiscus now resides in Philadelphia. She expressed great delight in her accomplishment of winning the New Song Competition and the New Break-out Artiste prize. “I am totally mesmerized and truly happy. This is the first time I am performing in such a big competition”, she gleefully said.

Hibiscus expressed her deep love for music and explained that her singing talent was discovered at a young age in school and church, and members of her family have been involved in music. Referring to those who have assisted her in her rise as a soca artiste, Hibiscus credited her teachers at Sion Hill Primary School and St Joseph’s Convent School in SVG, Cauldric Forbes as a song writer, and Ainsley Primus.

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She now looks forward to performing her other song on June 4, 2016, during the Dynamite Calypso Tent preliminary judging of SVG National Calypso Monarch Competition for Vincy Mas 2016, to be held at Café Omar in Brooklyn, New York. Lots of attention is now on this upcoming show when the calypsonians in the Vincentian diaspora in North America will deliver their calypso offerings for Vincy Mas 2016.

Vincent ‘Groovy D’ Kennedy, Carlos ‘Rejector’ Providence, and Phill ‘Phill Patch’ Baptiste of the Dynamite Calypso Tent also made guest appearances. They were joined by representatives of the 20th Century Steel Orchestra, DJ Eyes and DJ Lagga.

Maxwell Haywood is a writer and community activist. He is chairperson of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Diaspora Committee of New York Inc.

 


Within Rum and Coca Cola “Gypsy in the Moonlight” book review

Within Rum and Coca Cola

By Duff Mitchell

J.L.F. WaldronL. F.  Waldron’s Gypsy in the Moonlight, with its appeal to thoughts and feelings, is a fine piece of literary work. The author presents a sequence of events in a gently gripping tide of narrative that makes the reader anxious to find out what’s next. The story unfolds around the conflict between a mother and daughter as well as between American sailors and the community exemplified in an ex-policeman.

Gypsy accounts for the American occupation of Trinidad and Tobago, beginning in 1942 with sailors stationed in Trinidad during World War II, as part of America’s mission to prevent Germany from establishing a beachhead in Panama. The novel gets its title as it outlines the dramatic disturbance of colonials going through hard times then having to angrily settle for the cancellation of Carnival, while struggling with the debate on adult suffrage along with the upheaval over the right to collective bargaining of oil and sugar workers.

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Tubal Uriah Butler and Dr Eric Williams

The central character is a fearless and well-rounded ex-policeman, Bonham Mars, who served time on Nelson Island for transgressions in the name of Uriah Butler. Mars is “salt fish”: the kind-a-guy whom Trini would recognize as ‘a man about town‘.  He is ‘Trini to the bone’.  He knows Tom, Dick and Harry… not to mention Peter, James and John … as well as Jean, Dinah, Rosita and Clementina. Yet, whenever the need arises he can employ important tactics copied from stick fighters. He lives in East Dry River on the doorsteps of the womb of the embryonic tamboo bamboo and the birth place of the steel pan, as well as, overlooking the St Ann’s River where Park and Picadilly streets meet at the eastern gateway to the centre of the city of Port of Spain. He revels in calypso. He engages in triumphant conflict with and over the best and the worst of what those days of the American presence offered to all walks of life of the people of Trinidad and Tobago. Moreover, Mars provides Waldron with the opportunity to employ his baton of delectable dialogue to conduct a pleasurable treat in a symphony of verbal and physical dramatics while describing Mars’ encounters with four special women in the plot.

I find it mind blowing that Waldron, a relatively young man, could immerse himself in history in the making–as I witnessed it while growing up in Belmont, Duke Street and in Laventille–and craft his fiction with almost flawless accuracy and consummate intuition. Indeed, Waldron’s panoramic encapsulation of the drama of life experience in a colonial Caribbean territory during the nineteen forties exposes him as the proverbial ‘man in the moon.  

British and American servicemen in Port-of-Spain during World War II.

British and American servicemen in Port-of-Spain during World War II.

Gypsy beams light upon the dark days of the condescending presence of the Americans in particular and brightens the path from  Atilla’s outcry against ”blue eyed babies to mind “ along with Lord Invader’sRum and Coca Cola” lament over the degrading socio-economic power of the Yankee Dollar  and Lord Kitchiner’s “You can’t support me on calypso” leading through Mighty Terror’sBrown skin gurl/ stay home and mind baby” to the exhaling leap, almost two decades later, that ushers The Mighty Sparrow’s front and center pronouncement over the plight of “Jean and Dinah”. In other words, Gypsy in the Moonlight invites our attention to a keenness of the mind’s eye gaining fodder for the calypsonian’s expression of derision even for Hitler’s mustache and disdain for Mussolini’s tyrannically wild aggression. In addition, in an extendedly lighter linguistic sense, this book pregnant as it is with our idioms and lingo, footnotes the Mighty Conqueror’s ditty contending that, “Webster shoulda come to Trinidad to complete he dictionary.”  To state it simply: I have no doubt that Gypsy in the Moonlight ensures calypso its rightful place in world literature.

Waldron succeeds in sustaining our interest as he uncovers a gloomy period of our mid-twentieth century history by tapping into our sensory experiences with his employment of images of things heard, things smelled, things seen, things touched and things tasted.

'March in the rain' to demand the return of Chaguaramas to the people of Trinidad and Tobago [1960].

March in the rain to demand the return of Chaguaramas to the people of Trinidad and Tobago [1960].

Mars undertakes, pro bono, to find out for his deceptively prim and proper church going neighbor, Ms Marcella Fournier, the whereabouts of her brilliant and decent convent-girl granddaughter Bethany. Marcella complains that her daughter Henrietta – a notorious prostitute – ushers Bethany into prostitution as well.

Mars sets out to find Bethany by getting a heads up from both Ms. Milly, boss of the clip joint named The Fig Leaf, and from Sgt. Mac Shain at police Head Quarters. Mars wends his way to seek out the voluptuous prostitute “Tess” at the Scarlet Ibis Club located in Yankee territory down Point Cumana. Incidentally, it is here he gets a surprising glimpse of the Ivy Nevins girl whose fate depicts itself on the cover of this book.

When Mars, now in darkness with an oily smelling bag over his bumpy head catches himself, he is prisoner discerning three distinct voices of the sailors getting the better of him in the roadside melee.  He consequently determines to catch corbeau alive: “I must play dead in order to keep the hooligan sailors in the dark instead”.  With almost unbelievable heroism Mars eventually returns home and gets rather much  more than private attention in the ensuing days from (of all persons) his “Angel of Mercy”(an old firestick) Staff Nurse Dawn. As soon as he’s well enough, “after touching base wid de boys by de rum shop, Mars is secretly back on the extremely significant trail that leads to the mountain side of the north coastal Maracas Valley.map

At every turn of events in the plot, Waldron vividly stages the scene in which the action takes place with careful positioning of the characters in relation to the inanimate objects and often against the background of the prevailing weather conditions. His barking dogs are a symbol of trouble in the making while the tamboo bamboo drums excite the warm intensity of the development of the plot itself. Waldron skillfully takes us through the brew of complications surrounding relationships–real or imagined – whereas the narrative tapers off into the soliloquy of Mars’ voicing the surprising resolution of what appears to be a distillation of the idea that, according to James Breedie in his classical religious fiction titled Tobias and the Angel: “the fancies of a woman are bound by no law”.

unnamedDuff Mitchell is a retired graduate teacher, writer and self-taught literary critic.


I Was Once Afraid of Black Stalin – Richard Grant

Stalin first came to my attention when I was a high school student in Jamaica. My friends and I marveled at his ability to command the attention of an entire nation.  We understood that everyone listened to him very carefully, and reacted immediately to his words. So, when we heard about the Black Stalin, we were terrified because there was no doubt that a Black Trinidadian dictator would definitely be crueler than his European counterpart. Although I was still young, I was fully aware of the rivalry, and was confident Jamaica could not be outdone, because soon we would have our own Black Stalin, by necessity ‘badder’ than that of Trinidad’s. What was to become of us? I so much resented our love for, and adoption of, foreign things.

Cry of the Caribbean

What a relief it was to hear these words, “Ah living in a yes man society/Where all the no man becomes de enemy”, because it was clear then, that we would not experience another lie of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. The Black Stalin would never betray the people’s interest: a commanding leader, for life.  And that was good. He has ruled benevolently since, with a band of steel.

One of the slogans of the Stalinist era in the Soviet Union regarding the creative Jazz musician was: “Today, he is playing jazz; tomorrow, he will betray the country!” It was the freedom implicit in jazz improvisation that so much irked the Soviets. It is the same freedom of expression and creativity that is demanded by Black Stalin and is employed in the lyrics to “bun dem”: nothing less than fire and brimstone as punishment for local and foreign politicians who as hypocritical parasites leech the economic and cultural blood of Trinidad and Jamaica alike. He condemned the cruel and disingenuous policy of Constructive Engagement, by the USA and Britain that supported the Apartheid regime of South Africa. His benevolence was never extended to them.

His relationship with John public is opposite to that of his European namesake. He constantly has demanded a “New Portrait of Trinidad”, almost as ruthlessly as Stalin promised a new society in the Soviet Union…

“When a man say we not what we used to be

Doh care how much it hurt, but we must agree

From ’65 to now we are no more great

Our country has vastly deteriorate.”

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The Village

I stayed in the “village” of San Fernando when I attended Carnival in 1989. I didn’t see Stalin in performance. I didn’t see him in the street. It is fitting though, that the first that I saw him was at the famous, now defunct Village Gate night club in NYC, located in the heart of the Village section of Manhattan: a community of the hip and the avant-garde, the cosmopolitan and the urbane. At the Gate I heard: Hugh Masakela trumpeting the destruction of the walls of Apartheid; Ruben Blades lyrically denouncing Latin American dictatorships; Stanley Turrentine’s straight-ahead tenor sax blues sound lamenting the African American experience in picking Jim Crow’s cotton as well as celebrating Jim’s eventual lynching; and Dizzy Gillespie, bebop innovator.

Dr Leroy Caliste

I can’t think of a more appropriately named club for me to have witnessed Black Stalin in performance for the first time . The Village Gate becomes the metaphor for communities throughout the Caribbean where the Calypsonians and storytellers inform and pass on our tradition. They also create new critical portraits of our societies’ potential and remind everyone about the politician: the higher the monkey climbs, the more is exposed. It is where the Calypsonian still resides; where the field worker brings home a small harvest of bananas and sugar cane: where the only honest politician on the island returns home at dusk to the house of his birth, to the wisdom of his aging father who remembers when Ciprani statue was placed in the heart of town, and why. Black Stalin was born in San Fernando and still resides there. He does not own a Dacha on the Black Sea.

The man that I thought that I would have reason to fear, when I was a school boy, was as extraordinary as he performed The Caribbean Man. It was really the Black Stalin. My boyhood concerns raced back to mind: the realization of who he was, and who he wasn’t. I carefully examined the surroundings to confirm that it was neither a Potemkin village nor a Caribbean village, in spite of the presence of friends.

The Gate

In my village, liming by a friend’s gate into the wee hours of the morning, debating and analyzing domestic politics, politicians’ domestic affairs, as well as international events, all often colored by the perspective of the Calypsonian, was a rite of passage. The yard’s gate became a portal of knowledge about politics, history, romance and cricket. Stalin and CLR James took us beyond our boundaries of provincialism. “What do they know of cricket who only cricket know?”

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It is ironic that as a proud heir of the  rivalry between Jamaica and Trinidad that resulted in a failed attempt at A West Indian Federation, that Black Stalin’s contribution to my formative political years is so significant. The reality of the five times calypso monarch’s transforming influence on my nationalistic Jamaican pride is authentication of the universality of his appeal. In effect he helped to create a federation of like-minded critics of Caribbean society.

The Black Stalin: he came, he saw, he conquered.

©Richard Grant

Richard Grant is a freelance writer.


​RIP Phife Dawg “Trini Gladiator”

A Tribe Called Quest [ATCQ] is known for their optimistic, socially conscious brand of rap. Like with many other dynamic bands, we sometimes miss the tall standing trees amidst a group’s overall vibrant ecosystem. So when the news reached my family of the death of Malik Boyce Taylor, aka Phife Dawg, I reflected on Phife the person, his family, and what ATCQ would have been absent of this Trini yute from Queens.

Phife Dawg

The son of highly acclaimed Trinidadian American poet Cheryl Boyce Taylor, Malik Isaac Boyce Taylor was born in New York City on November 20, 1970. Phife, like so many playas in the early history of hip-hop – Dougie Fresh, Kool Herc, Slick Rick, KRS-One, Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, among countless – is from a Caribbean immigrant family.  Phife consciously infused Caribbean aesthetics in his music. On the track “Oh My God”, Phife chimes in “Trini gladiator, anti-hesitater/Shaheed push the fader from here to Grenada…”
A known skeptic of the music industry, Phife gives credits to where he knows it’s due. On “Jazz (We’ve Got)”, his first album as a member of ATCQ [Low End Theory (1991)] he quipped: “To Jah I give thanks, collect my banks, listen to Shabba Ranks.” And on the track “Ham and Eggs”, the funky diabetic brags about his undying love of good Caribbean cuisine “I get the roti and the soursop/Sit back, relax, listen to some hip hop.” Pfife has had life-long struggles with diabetes the complications of which he succumbed to on March 22.
In a facebook message to friends and family, Cheryl Taylor announced the sad news: “Family, my heart is shattered at the loss of my beautiful son. Thank you for your love and good wishes. Malik made me so proud, and he was a good and humble son. What holds me is that he brought joy through his music and sports, and that he lived a magical life. He is with his beloved grandmother and his twin brother Mikal today. God bless you Malik Boyce Taylor. Please send prayers to my daughter-in-law Deisha.”
Attesting to the invaluable contributions of ATCQ, there is a petition currently circulating to rename a section of Linden Boulevard (Queens, New York) Tribe Called Quest Boulevard. Linden Boulevard was one of Pfife’s ‘blocks’ and a setting on Tribe’s track “Steve Biko (Stir It Up)” from Midnight Marauders (1993).
RIP Pfife Dawg Malik Isaac Taylor (November 20, 1970 – March 22, 2016). Peace… Keep rippin’ de mike.

©Martin Felix


R.I.P. King Rhino

Grenada has lost a cultural icon.  Former Carriacou and Petit Martinique calypso and soca Monarch Kenly Joseph (better known by the sobriquet Rhino) died from gunshot wounds in Brooklyn, New York on December 4, 2015.  Fans and friends remember Rhino for his joyful disposition, sharp social commentaries, wit, and his exploits as a distinguished parandero. Many are moaning Rhino, especially as the holiday season is upon us, clearly one of the seasons he lived for. For more on the tragedy please visit the story from the Grenada Chronicle.  Big Drum Nation consulted cultural and community activist Nic Cox for his reflection on King Rhino’s contribution and legacy.

Big Drum Nation: Who was calypsonian King Rhino? 

Nic Cox: In my opinion, Rhino was a very talented calypsonian. He was blessed with a rich and powerful voice which he controlled very well. He had a great command of the stage and used his body language well to convey his messages. I particularly remember viewing him, via the internet, as he performed at a  competition in Carriacou. It was a social commentary/political commentary, partly referencing the issue of garbage disposal in Carriacou and Petit Martinique. His imagery and antics play back in my mind to this day.

Big Drum Nation: It is noted that Rhino won the Carriacou calypso crown in consecutive tournaments: How good was he (how do you rate him)?

NIc Cox: I was not able to particularly follow or document Rhino’s competitive achievements, yet I was aware of him being Carriacou and Petit Martinique’s calypso monarch on multiple occasions.  I rate him second only to the Mighty Hypocrite, who dominated the Carriacou and Petit Martinique calypso arena in the early to mid 1970s.  In my judgment, Hypocrite edges out Rhino in crafty lyrics.

Big Drum Nation: Did he record? If yes, are his records available?

Nic Cox: Unfortunately, I do not own any recordings by Rhino.  I am not sure if the calypsos that he did in Carriacou were commercially recorded.  When Rhino moved to the USA I did encourage him to collaborate with me to record his past work and do new recording projects.  He declined the offer saying that he was done with the business.  He later did produce some recordings which included “Come Back Home for the Carnival”.  The lyrics suggested an answer to the fans who longed to hear and see him.  I was never able to figure out how to own a copy of this recording.

Big Drum Nation: He was calypsonian and parandero: Did he dominate the Carriacou parang?

Nic Cox: Even though I was not present in Carriacou for the parang competitions, I did follow the happenings to some extent and was always impressed by the groups from the Brunswick/Six Roads area of Carriacou.  Their parang groups held true to the history of Brunswick/Six Roads/Mt. Desire being leaders in creative paranging.  Rhino may have participated in the Parang Festivals as part of a parang group and not as an individual.

Big Drum Nation: When did he come to the U.S.? How will you remember him?

Nic Cox: Sometimes we live with history, and then have to reflect and research before recording it.  I cannot at this moment remember even approximately when Rhino moved to the USA.  I do remember him as a very charming fellow.  He seemed to carry an eternal smile and was ready to “burst a laugh” at any given moment.

Big Drum Nation: How will Rhino be remembered in Carriacou?

Nic Cox: I am aware of the legacy that Rhino built in Carriacou in the world of calypso.  The fans would remember him as one of the greatest.  There will be wishes that he was still here to give some more of that great talent bestowed on him.

Big Drum Nation: Thank you.


Come Celebrate 10th Anniversary of NYC Transit Strike this Saturday at MEC

twu-feature[1]This coming weekend marks a decade since the City of New York was brought to a standstill as a result of the first Citywide Transit Strike in 25 years. The strike started on Dec 20th, 2005 and lasted for 3 days.41L+NSgdboL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_[1]

A program marking the 10th Anniversary of the Dec 2005 NYC Transit Strike is being held on Sat. Dec 19th from 2pm to 6pm.

The program is free to the public and will be held in the ‘Founders Auditorium’ at Medgar Evers College, CUNY, located at 1650 Bedford Ave in Brooklyn (Between Crown St and Montgomery St).

The program is supported by the Medgar Evers College Department of Public Administration and is sponsored by a working committee of Transit workers, Community organizations, Activists, and experts from the Legal and Academic communities.

45CC4697-5056-A174-19672572D9664B7F_mid[1]The program features displays, videos, slides about this historic 2005 strike. It includes a keynote address by Roger Toussaint, who led Transit workers during their strike and presentations from Journalists, Commentators, Legal and Academic experts as well as Social Justice Organizers from the Black Lives Matter and Domestic Workers Movements.

Take the IRT #2,3,4 or 5 train to Franklin Ave. The Bldg is two blocks from Empire Blvd.

Parking is also available in the rear of 1650 Bedford Ave.


“One of the best novels set in the Caribbean in the last 50 years” Launches in Brooklyn

Book launch of ‘Gypsy in the Moonlight’

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“Gypsy in the Moonlight,” a novel set in Trinidad and Tobago during World War II, written by Lawrence Waldron, will be formally launched Tuesday evening December 15 at the Brooklyn Public Library branch at 22 Linden Blvd, Brooklyn. The launch, scheduled for 6:00-7:45 PM,  will be hosted by the Caribbean Awareness Committee and the Trinidad and Tobago Folk Arts Institute, in collaboration with the Caribbean Literary and Cultural Center.

The book is, as described by the  author, “a historical novel that combines the wry wit, urban commentary and gender anxieties of the uniquely modern and surprisingly compatible mediums of calypso and noir.”

A New York resident and émigré from Trinidad and Tobago, author Lawrence Waldron teaches Caribbean Art at City College of CUNY. “Gypsy in the Moonlight” provided Waldron with an opportunity to lean heavily on abundant research and extensive writing and lecturing he has done on Trinidadian cultural traditions, including calypso.

Dubbed “a calypso mystery,” the novel uses the presence of American servicemen stationed at the naval base in Chaguaramas, Trinidad from 1942 and the resulting so-called “social invasion” that impacted Trinidadian society, to weave its tale of mischief and eventually, murder. Reflecting the tenor of the times, the calypso art form, as an important forum for topical commentary, boldly addressed the dramatic change in social mores occasioned by the American military presence, no individual composition doing so  more famously than Lord Invader’s classic “Rum and Coca Cola.”

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J.L.F. Waldron

Positive advance comments about “Gypsy in the Moonlight” include the following: “a fine, powerfully evocative literary work that confronts the dark shadows of the Yankee presence in Trinidad during the 1940s” (Roger Toussaint, former president of the Transport Workers Union Local 100); “it beams light on the often condescending presence of American military personnel stationed in Trinidad” (Duff Mitchell, Trinidad and Tobago Folk Arta Institute); “It is easily one of the best novels set in the Caribbean in the last 50 years” (W.R. Holder, educator).

The December 15 book launch event is free and open to the public. For information contact: Caribbean Awareness Committee at 718-532-6347 or T&T Folk Arts Institute at 718-252-6161. 

“Gypsy in the Moonlight” can be purchased through the author’s blog.

 


Honey, dat is a Sweet Victory

pure-honey

The loss of bee-loved forage habitats and the reckless use of new generations of “pesticides”UK Honey Award have combined to bring havoc to bee populations all around the world. Grenada is at the head of the fight to save the world’s bees. In fact, Grenadians Dr. Valma Jessamy and Mr. Jerry Edwin, have won the 2015 Medal of Ukraine, a world-recognized distinction of excellence in the business.

Read more: http://www.jessamine-eden.com/newsevents.html